Greg points to new virtual earth features that are a step in the half-lifing the planet direction. It's easier if you just go there and see it: basically a web interface which allows you to drive around Seattle and look out of the windows of your car.
Steve Rubel says that blogging is not about traffic. Having investigated a number of methods for discovering communities, I kind of agree with him - there really are well defined, well connected groups in the blogosphere that seem to be carrying on in their own way. However, I have noticed that it is mostly A-listers who go around saying 'it's about community, not about inlinks.' The irony is that communities generally are of peers, and peers in the blogosphere are list based (as in A, B, Z). This is why Rubel's recent post links to his peers: Jarvis and Scoble.
I think that Rubel really means: Blogging shouldn't be about traffic, because that would indicate that we are all attention seeking whiners.
And another thing - if it is not about traffic, why is it that ProBlogger, a blog dedicated to making money via blogging - is in the top 100 favourited blogs on Technorati? The favourite mechanism (ideally) should be viewed as blogs that are read, not that are linked to (of course, there is a big overlap). So if everyone is reading about generating traffic then, by definition, that is what the blogosphere is about.
BoardTracker, the message board search engine, is now displaying time series of the number of boards and forums that it tracks. I've been monitoring these numbers for a while and it is interesting to compare different views. Here is BoardTrackers graphs of forums and threads over time:
The data I've been accumulating is over a wider time window:
My graph for forums suggests that BoardTracker updates its index of forums on a weekly schedule.
BTW, an additional stat I'd like to see is the number of actual boards that are crawled (not just the number of forums).
There will be plenty of posting today about Edgeio, which crawls social media sites for information it then renders as classified ads. One thing to point out - the listings are not just from blogs. My first experience, browsing the for sale|auto category, was to arrive at listings which originated from message boards.
By using the BlogPulse trending tool, we can have a look at the attention given to links that turn up on memeorandum. The following graph shows the time series (percentages of blog posts containing the URL) for the URL at the top of tech.memeorandum at 12 (noon) on the first of the last 5 months.
Not too surprising, perhaps. We see accute spikes with very low follow on posting.
The next graph shows the same experiment for the politics page on memeorandum.
The key observable difference here is that firstly, the general case shows post volumes approximately 50% of that in the tech page (approx <0.0025 vs 0.005). Secondly, there is a single large story. This last observation is most likely an artifact of trivial sampling used.
We can compare this data with the same for BlogPulse' top links:
A clear difference here is the fact that the peaks in BlogPulse are more diffuse. In other words, there is a leading edge prior to the peaks and two of the sample data show clear long follow on linking.
I believe there are two observations to be made here: Firstly, the algorithm used to promote links/articles to the top of such lists determines their leading age (the trend prior to appearing in a promoted position). Secondly, the type of link/article promoted determines the trailing edge (the trend after the link appears). Both of these features are things that any user would want to control. If we don't get that level of control, we are all going to be reading news in a reactive, knee-jerk, echo chamber. Imagine the value of being shown a post and being told, with a high degree of confidence, that this article is going to have significant staying power. Is that a conversation you'd like to be involved in?
Edmunds has been involved in social media for some time via the forums and other content on their main site. Recently, they launched CarSpace.com, which is a social site for auto enthusiasts. The information they ask of you when you register is going to be a gold mine - gender, age, cars you own, cars you are interested in, etc.
This graph records the decline of links to Edmunds.com from the blogosphere.
However, such a trend is hard to interpret. Alexa, for example, shows that Edmunds.com maintains an extremely high position: currently ranked 626. The Edmunds domain also hosts their Inside Line blog space.
As a non-auto-head, I don't think I'm the right person to evaluate what CarSpace offers. Visually, though, I felt it was somewhat clunky. So far the MySpace cloning is working...
Scott Karp, at Publishing 2.0, has an interesting perspective on CarSpace:
are a great example of this problem. Instead of building the same app
over and over for no one in particular, what they should be doing is
something like CarSpace. The
lesson of MySpace is not to go off and create a direct competitor to
MySpace, but to use that approach to define a value proposition for a
distinct group of people — in this case, people who dig cars.
I think this is a great point. The first movers in many social media spaces prove that the mechanism works. Their value generally increases as the audiences get more specialised. Replicating the same method, for the same audience ignores the fact that there is less competition in diversity.
The blogosphere has made plenty of noise around the idea that it scoops main stream media. Personally, I don't believe this happens as often as some would have us believe, though it certainly does happen and often, as in the case of certain types of events like natural disasters, with clear impact and value.
I do believe, however, that there is steadily increasing delay in ideas getting picked up and amplified by the A-list. Of course, this is the type of claim that needs far more than the single point of anecdotal evidence that I'm going to point to, but the hypothesis suggests that, as the blogosphere matures, how it operates, and the role and influence of the A-listers is going to start mirroring much of main stream media.
On Feb 24th, Steve Rubel posted about What's Up? - a news/geolocation visualization. I had posted about this on Feb 14th after reading about it on the most excellent Infosthetics that same day. Looking back further, using BlogPulse's Conversation Tracker (o how I love thee), we can see that Peter Conolly posted about it on January 27th when it was being digged. It turns out that there are a number of different URLs pointing to the page, and so the earliest post I can find is actually from Jeroen Leijen, who posted on Jan 4th. Looking at the Alexa stats for the author's site:
shows us the digg day (Jan 27th) and possibly a couple of earlier days (late December and early January).
Searching on digg shows us that the site was put there by MilkAndCookies - I'm guessing related to the site which appears to have posted the link on Feb 8th after digging it.
Now, I'm not 100% sure that Rubel's post was the first A-lister to blog this (Technorati doesn't yet have Rubel's post as far as I can tell, and the highest ranking blogger for this link when using Technorati's rank by authority is Infosthetics). However, if we follow the story, it shows that Rubel picked this up a couple of months after it was launched, and about a month after it was digged. This is not really a criticism of the system, more an observation and a heads up about how to use A-listers in your reading habits. What I would criticise is that when something like this does surface, the commentary is not really interesting or insightful. Rubel gives a 'isn't this cool' post and fails to link to or compare with other similar services. The whole notion of citizen journalism surely implies something more than passing links around - don't these people have something to say?
Pete posts about the implications of NBC pulling the plug on the Narnia rap download-fest. To me, a key issues is illustrated by the following graph:
I can see the spiking and bursting indicating the buzz around the initial release and enjoyment of the video - can you see the spike around NBC's plug pulling? Probably not as it is less than 10% of the peak of the original buzz (0.003 versus 0.046 % of blog posts).
NBC's strategy may have been pretty optimal given the short attention span of the blogosphere: let them run with it, then get legal. They went for a 2 month delay - I wonder if we will see other instances of this and what the time spans will be.