I just learned of Forumeter, from the people that do Board Tracker and Klostu. It is a little like a memetracker for the boardscape and a little like BlogPulse. The top story being discussed right now is the Imus story - with 8 discussions.
Ron Kass, CEO of Klostu, has given me a tour of the system and I now have a pretty good ideal of the complete package. The big picture is as follows. There are 300 million message board authors out there. In general, each message board requires an individual identity (author name, profile, password, etc.). In addition, none of these boards exist in a common, well defined infrastructure. Klostu aims to solve these issues.
Klostu offers a single web identity - like a board or blog profile with no associated publication. Your Klostu home page (here's mine) is composed of the now familiar drag-and-drop editable AJAX style page. Note that there is nothing here that prevents the addition of personal content - like a blog - in the future.
Klostu has formed relationships with a number of message boards (and plans to grow this number rapidly in the future). Participating boards install some active elements in their pages so that you can log in with your Klostu identity on that board. This then brings along your profile as well as a number of other standard board elements such as avatars and (in the future) signatures. Consequently I can create a single board identity and use it on multiple boards.
In effect, Klostu aims to position itself as the interface to the largest group of online identities (one might even call it a social network). If things take off, there are many potential benefits that will come to authors via a single identity. Note that there certainly will be cases were individuals want to maintain different handles in different domains.
Naturally, one also has to think through the monetization of this system. One obvious are which Ron discussed with me is that of advertising. With relationships with many message boards on the one hand and landing pages for author identities on the other, they would seem well positioned to funnel some form of advertising network content.
It is early days just now. I'm hoping that Klostu will start releasing some key stats soon (like number of users and number of boards registered).
Klostu - the new service from the company that brought you BoardTracker - has taken of some of its stealth wrapping. What is revealed is somewhat tantalizing. Klostu is a portal into the boardscape, it provides a single surface from which one can access different boards and encounter board authors. It also provides a single identity - a Klostu ID - that can be used (somehow) across all boards. There is more information available on the about page which also mentions:
While Klostu offers all the social networking and ajax desktop
interface features expected today (and more), a key feature which
emphasizes the real power of klostu is its function as a platform
to bring other web services to the boards. Through klostu, a whole
range of 3rd party products can be fully integrated within boards
thereby easily extending their reach to millions of people active on the boardscape.
I'm really excited to see this level of innovation coming from a company that has a clear passion for social media and a vision which encompasses the larger, but less trendy, boardscape. Congrats to Ron and the rest of the Klostu team.
You've seen plenty of graphs on this blog describing the blogosphere. What I'm showing below is an initial application of the system I use to generate those maps applied to some data from a message board. This particular board discusses the Sony Playstation (I'll post more about it later). I actually think that this is a slightly more interesting graph in terms of the social network. (Boardscape is a term coined by Ron Kass of Boardtracker).
Note that the data here is just a sample - I'll look at getting a more comprehensive set sometime soon.
A common approach to displaying quantities on maps is to colour regions according to some colour scheme. There are many ways one can do this. We can take a linear relationship between the scalar value and some portion of the visible spectrum, for example, to show graduated results. However, the distribution of values may be such that the interesting distinctions in the data are not brought out.
In the maps below, I show the distribution of discussion about the world cup using three different functions. Firstly, a linear function, in which the scalar value is mapped to the visible spectrum. Secondly, I show the same data using g(x)=x^2. Thirdly, the same data using h(x)=1-(1-x)^2.
The graph below shows the number of posts (y) for the ranked countries. A post is counted for a country if it mentions that country. These were generated from a small sample of posts about the world cup in English.
Personally, I don't believe that the entire visible spectrum is intuitive when used to map colours like this - where there is no continuum in the data geographically. I suspect that a sub-range of the spectrum works better - more on that later.
Paul Kedrosky mentionsGazerk. which provides search within the (video) game vertical. Although not explicitly so, by serving results in the gaming vertical it effectively becomes the first search engine which provides results from more than one social media corpus (blogs, message boards and reviews).
A search for 'half life' (a very popular PC game) produces 191, 938 results in the games category, 1, 590 in reviews, 1, 636 in reviews, 2, 409 in screenshots, 3, 760 in forums, and 103 in blogs. I'm not yet sure of the precise meaning of all of these categories (especially 'games'), but the aggregation of reviews, blogs and forums is very interesting.
Gazerk is 'powered by Kosmix' which is a portal into a number of different search verticals with a similar look and feel to Gazerk: Health, Video Games, Finance, Travel and US Politics.
Readers of this blog will be accustomed to my updates on the message board space, especially BoardTracker, and my conviction that there is far more data out there on boards than there is on blogs. They will also be aware of my belief that the blogosphere is following main stream media in an ironic development which sees the A-List bloggers getting delayed on their observations, insights and scoops.
I'm really excited to see that Rubel is finally giving some pixels to the message board space:
Finally there's now a way for all of us to search message boards, not just professionals who license the high-end tools. BoardTracker.com is tracking 16 million conversation threads in 26,000+ forums. They aggregate content into tag clouds too.
While these numbers are very small, I still think it's smart for these
guys to be focusing on forums. There's plenty of value here and they're
filling a void in the market. Take health,
for example. Most of the conversation around health takes place in
forums, not blogs - at least right now. I would love to see more
innovation in this area of conversation monitoring. Better yet, they
should find a way to aggregate blog comments too. Wither not the forum.
I'd love to see his data supporting the statement that health issues are more the domain of message boards than blogs (I'm not doubting it, I'd just love to know where this comes from). Steve - what message board analysis tools have you been using to date?
Steve's suggestion that forum content systems should aggregate blog comments is, however, ill-conceived. Blog comments need to be tightly integrated with blog acquisition systems to make sense of the thread of discussion.
It's interesting to see an article on BlogPulse's top news stories for yesterday about Intelliseek/BuzzMetrics (and by implication, BlogPulse). It's also interesting to hear that BuzzMetrics is referred to as a 'giant' in this space:
To capture the chatter, Nielsen BuzzMetrics, a giant in the industry,
uses software that collects hundreds of thousands of comments a day.
The technology can scan for specific companies, products, brands,
people -- anything searchable. It can slice data into a range of
categories to quantify the number of times a subject was discussed
online, the individuals who mentioned it and the communities where it
Hundreds of thousands is probably an underestimate. Also the 'anything searchable' is an undervaluation of our technology. The expectations of search are far weaker than what true text mining, nlp and categorization technology can do. Anyway, nice article.
A post on a BoardTracker forum pointed to the use of tags on Slashdot. In addition, the post highlighted the use of tags on BoardTracker's own forums. Sounds like there will be more tag based features to come:
Tagging is very popular these days, particularly among bloggers, and of
course BoardTracker has brought tagging to forum threads too as you can
see in the 'topic tags' above. For an example of these tags displayed
on boardtracker have a look here..