Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Technorati musings - part 2

In my previous post, I suggested opening up Technorati, or other search engines, to allow third party data to be aggregated into a mix. Done most efficiently, this would still result in the need to create and manage a massive continous flow of data between services.

One of the points which I apparently didn't make very well, was a new concept of the Active Reading of blogs. If the reader of a blog were allowed to contribute metadata about it, powerful new capabilities fall out like rain.

Imagine a FireFox extension which allowed you to quickly give a blog entry you just read a tag... or set of tags. The reader offers a new perspective, and as an author, your active audience is just who you want to rate you. They will notice that your posting needs a certain tag for you, and could take care of it for you. They will make connections and links you might never have considered.

Active Reading requires some infrastructure to pull it off.... which I don't want to understate.


Active Reading would result in a new flow of records, with the following fields:
  • Permalink
  • Reviewer Identity
  • TimeStamp
  • Metadata
This data is essentially a set of third party assertions about a given piece of Web 2.0 content. To make it valuable, it has to be aggregated, and moderated. You'd want to be able to associate a reputation with each of the viewers, to prevent spamming of the ratings, for example.

Once this data gets gathered, you could then do a search and get far more accurate tagging, and rating to help get the best content to the top.

A new service would be to be able to subscribe to all of the posts a reader found insightful, or related to a given tag. For example, it would be nice to be able to subscribe to everything Doc Searls read, and chose to tag as Web2.0.

Once this data gets massaged, sorted, merged it starts to become useful. The amount of data that can be generated by a popular Web 2.0 application is staggering. According to David Sifry, Technorati tracks 50,000 posts per hour... and it should be easy to match that rate with reader tagging... imagine it!

It would take some bandwidth, but the end results could be spectacular. I believe this could actually help us get rid of blog spam, once and for all. Active participation as a blog reader would be a novelty at first, but could become quite an art form in and of itself.

Long term, this could lead even further to allowing 3rd party markup of content, which would finally get us to the vision that started the web in the first place, a truely read-write web.

It'll take good engineering, but the rewards should be worth it.


Adrian said...

Is this done in part through things like and the like?

I'd be keen to see something like this hapen though, great starting idea!

Steve Shaffer said...

I'd like to hear more about what you're thinking along these lines. I'm working on something that we think will help.
You might also want to look at Stowe Boyd's posts on RSS Readering and see if part or all of what you’re looking to do is there.

Steve Sherlock said...

This is close to how I was proposing to measure the audiance via active, passive or non-involved readers. Clearly the active would be measured by this tagging activity.

More on my audiance view at