Some of the ideas we have been thinking about for making BlogStreet a key resource for bloggers and blog-readers are:
Integrate RSS Aggregator with Blog Neighbourhood
This means that when I go to see a blog’s neighbourhood (and blogroll), I can also see the aggregated RSS entries from the blogs which are part of the blogroll and/or the neighbourhood. We already have an RSS Aggregator which we have written internally a few months ago for our Intranet. Adding this to BlogStreet will leverage the power of the RSS feeds.
The key lies in automating the entire process. When a blogger updates his blogroll, the blog neighbourhood on BlogStreet will also get updated and so will the RSS aggregator.
Why is this important? The Blogroll is, for most bloggers, their “subscription list” – the blogs they visit daily. Assuming that the blogger works as a filter, then the blogroll is very much related to the blogger’s interests. Being able to see what a blogger is reading (and by extension, what his neighbourhood is reading) can give good overviews on specific topics. For example, if I talk on my blog on knowledge management, then my blogroll is likely to have more of KM blogs. Thus, the RSS feeds of these blogs can also be expected to have KM-related posts.
This helps take the blogpost flow to the next level. There are many blogs which I may not want to see every day but maybe once a week, to get a general sense of what is happening in that field. This way, I dont clutter up my own RSS feed – I can access anyone’s RSS feed (derived from their blogroll and neighbourhood) via BlogStreet.
Blog Post Search and Referencing
A blog comprises blog posts. Unlike websites where the entire page is likely to be on a single topic, a blogger covers multiple topics in a single page. This is where Goog;e’s limitations become apparent. They use the blog page as the granularity of their page. It not only becomes hard to find the particular text that I am searching for on a page, but also the page keeps changing every day or even every few hours.
What is needed is a Search Engine for blog posts. We need to treat each blog post as a unit, and enable search on an individual post. Each post can be uniquely referenced via a permalink (unlike a regular webpage where the page URL is the only way of access). In fact, a blog page is meaningless in the current context.
To build a blog post search engine, we want to use the RSS feed since it already does the job of providing each blog post as a separate entity. (There is no need to reverse engineer blog page templates!)
Once we do the blog post bot and build a search on top of it, a few other byproducts can be developed:
– telling bloggers which other bloggers have referenced their items. This is important because as a blogger I want to know who else has quoted me or commented on what I have written. Similarly, I want other bloggers to (automatically) know when I reference them. Trackback requires extra work and hence does not seem to be picking up.
– for readers, it can tell them who has commented on a specific story or blog post. This is somewhat akin to what Blogdex and Daypop are doing today.
One of the problems that I have with Google when it comes to blogs is that there is no easy way to get who has linked to what I have written in the past 24 hours. This is what we need to do in BlogStreet. It will dramatically enhance the flow. As a blogger, this will open me up to different viewpoints and introduce me to new people. All of which should enhance the power and richness of blogging.