Collaborative Information and Databases

One of the oldest forms of information dissemination is word-of-mouth, and the Internet is no different. With the popularity of bookmarking and other collaborative sites, obscure blogs and websites can gain plenty of attention. Follow these sites to see what others are reading.

  • As readers find interesting articles or blog posts, they can tag, save, and share them so that others can enjoy the content as well.
  • Digg. As people read blogs or websites, they can “digg” the ones they like, thus creating a network of user-selected sites on the Internet.
  • Technorati. Not only is this site a blog search engine, but it is also a place for members to vote and share, thus increasing the visibility for blogs.
  • StumbleUpon. As you read information on the Internet, you can Stumble it and give it a thumbs up or down. The more you Stumble, the more closely aligned to your taste will the content become.
  • Reddit. Working similarly to StumbleUpon, Reddit asks you to vote on articles, then customizes content based on your preferences.
  • Twine. With Twine you can search for information as well as share with others and get recommendations from Twine.
  • This collaborative site offers shared knowledge from its members through forums, blogs, and shared websites.
Coolhunt #1: April 16, 2007
Coolhunt Log
Monday, April 16, 2007

On Stage:
Peter Gloor, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of Coolhunting
Scott Cooper, MIT research affiliate with the Sloan School of Management, co-author of Coolhunting
Steve O'Keefe, moderator

Leading the Coolhunt today is Peter Gloor.

PETER: I start my day with the New York Times online to sniff the latest trends.


PETER: On the right side of the home page, scroll down until you see a box entitled “Most Popular.” Today’s most emailed article is “The Power of Green” by Thomas L. Friedman.

[Note: You must register at the New York Times Online to access some articles. Registration is free and fairly simple. Recent articles can often be viewed without registration–as was the case with the Friedman article on our coolhunt.“

PETER: The article is about a cool trend: green technology.

Quote from Article: ”… projecting America in a green way can be the basis of a new unifying political movement for the 21st century.“

PETER: We know this is a cool subject because so many people are interested in it. The New York Times has a large pool of readers. The box on the home page gives us a variety of information about what this swarm of readers considers important. "MOST E-MAILED” shows how people vote with their feet–the stories that were most important to them. “Most blogged about” tracks a more activist response to stories–people who cared enough to comment on the story. “Most searched” shows what people are looking for most at the New York Times.

SCOTT: And “sex” is at the top of the list. That’s not surprising.

PETER: But “global warming” is at number five, so sex is not all they’re interested in.

SCOTT: The power of tracking these trends cannot be overestimated. Online “chatter”–what the bloggers are saying, what people are searching for–is a very strong indicator of future trends. For example, the chatter online suggested that Barack Obama would be a major factor in the U.S. presidential campaign before the big name pundits caught on to it.

PETER: Exactly. We were approached by Fox Searchlight Pictures to do an analysis of what the chatter had to say about the Oscar-winning chances of two of their films, “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” They thought “The Devil Wears Prada” would have stronger buzz but, in fact, “Little Miss Sunshine” was getting more chatter online.

MODERATOR: Why doesn’t the front page of The New York Times Online reformat automatically to give the most prominent space to the top stories?

PETER: Good question. Let’s apply for a patent.

SCOTT: Media companies are still confused by the new technology and are running for cover. Their business is changing radically. News gathering is becoming the work of swarms: Wikinews, independent media, bloggers. Online journalists often have a stake in the stories they cover–they’re not trying to be objective and they can be more passionate than the mainstream media.

SCOTT: In oldschool coolhunting, librarians used to report on the most asked questions or popular searches in The Reader’s Guide to Periodicals. That’s how we knew what people were interested in. Now, The New York Times emails a list of readers’ top picks to me on a weekly basis. It’s probably only a matter of time until the front page you see is the front page you want to see.

MODERATOR: I’m making a note to email someone at The New York Times and let them know we coolhunted them today and what we said about the popularity box.

PETER: I want to talk about popularity rankings like this and which works better: human-generated lists or machine-generated lists.

SCOTT: Technorati is the entryway to the blogosphere and reflects a huge volume of searches. Media outlets are now watching how the public reacts to the news, then modifying their coverage accordingly. It’s an instant feedback loop that never existed before.


PETER: On the right side of the screen, you see top searches, and the list is similar to the New York Times list. In the center of the page, you may look at the most popular items in six categories: Videos, Music, Movies, Games, DVDs, and News. If you click on the News tab, you will see “The Power of Green” article is in the top 10 of most popular, with 68 links to the article. That’s how Technorati determines the popularity of news stories–by the number of sites linking to the story. That’s the same way Google News does it.

MODERATOR: Technorati top 10 was obviously updated within the last few hours, the New York Times top 10 was from yesterday. Speed is important in registering rank. Peter suggested that ranking algorithms most likely give weight to current stories over older ones. For example, coolhunters might be more interested in knowing what film topped the box office last week rather than what is the highest grossing film of all time or the highest grossing film in the last 45 minutes–either of which could be “most popular.”

PETER: On the left side of the screen, you see something called “Top Tags.” People tag content online with keywords, and Technorati searches for these tags to determine the subjects that come up most often. You can tag your own blog entries, or you can tag other content you come across, such as news stories.

PETER: The words under the heading “Top Tags” are called a “tag cloud.” The relative size of the words indicates the popularity of the terms. Relative size also weights how current the posts are. Misspellings can result in tag errors, such as spelling “Barack Obama” without the “c.”

SCOTT: Tagging is still in its primitive stages. Someone will soon come up with pattern recognition software that will make tagging look primitive.

PETER: We conducted a study to find out which was a more accurate method for determining the popularity of terms: human-generated or machine-generated. We compared the results at Slashdot, which relies on human tagging, and Digg, which uses machine analysis. The human-generated search worked better. Humans are still better filters than machines and the wisdom of crowds is still the best predictor of cool.

SCOTT: The machine can’t tell if you’re searching for Virginia Tech because of a shooting there or because you want the latest sports scores.

PETER: But the stories people link to get around that. One of the problems with machine search is synonyms and misspellings. Google uses synonym dictionaries to correct for misspellings and other problems.

SCOTT: People who don’t search well could be missing things that people who don’t post well put up. For example, if you’re looking for the best peanut butter sandwich, you might miss a great post by someone who waxes poetic about Jif and Skippy but never uses the phrase “peanut butter” in his or her post.

PETER: It is a problem at times. The wisdom of crowds is superior to algorithms. People looking for financial advice have something in common besides the need for financial advice. You can build communities around commonalities in search.

MODERATOR: At this point, we used Google Blogsearch> to find blogs talking about Thomas Friedman’s article, “The Power of Green.” The top match was to a blog called “Treehugger,”> where the Friedman story topped the “Business + Politics” tab.

PETER: You see the typical blog process at work here, with long quotes from the article interspersed with remarks by the blogger [Lloyd Alter of Toronto]. Six comments follow.

SCOTT: Look what’s happening here. Let’s say you have an article about global warming. And someone comments that “we should do something about this.” And someone sees that and responds, “I think we should do such and such.” And someone else come on and says, “Here’s how to do that.” And then someone else comes on and says, “Hey, I’m already doing that, and here’s how I did it.” It’s a way for people from all over the world to find each other and find solutions to common problems.

PETER: The wisdom of crowds.

SCOTT: Swarm creativity.

MODERATOR: We are out of time. Thank you very much. Listeners, please post your comments to the blog–whether they’re about any connection problems you’re experiencing or commentary on the subject of today’s coolhunt.

MODERATOR: Join us Tuesday for the next installment of our live, online coolhunt with Peter Gloor and Scott Cooper.

Thank you.

Copyright Notice: Please feel free to duplicate or distribute this log as long as the contents are not altered and this notice is intact.
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Technorati State of the Blogosphere survey

Every year, you help us make State of the Blogosphere the most comprehensive resource for bloggers, and about bloggers. The 2011 survey is live, and your input is critical.

We’d love for you to share some information about blogging as your passion or your profession, that we can then share back with you, the bloggers, and everyone who is interested in you. It should take just 15 minutes of your time.

The more responses we get the better the data we can deliver to you, so please share this link with other bloggers.

Look for the full study on on Monday, November 7.

On Friday November 4, Technorati Media CEO Shani Higgins will unveil the findings live, exclusively at BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Los Angeles. We hope to see you there!

Was sind Business Blogs?

Das sind laut Technorati die Top 5 Blogs im Bereich Business.

Zwei Tech Blogs stehen an der Spitze. Da stellen sich mir vier Fragen:

  1. Was zeichnet ein Business Blog aus?
  2. Sind Mashable und Techcrunch keine Tech Blogs mehr?
  3. Seit wann ist das so?
  4. Ist Technorati wirklich so irrelevant geworden? Ich meine, Mashable, come on!
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Education-Class Snobbery Replaces Racial-Ethnic Snobbery Among Global Elite?

One of the reasons I decided to start this blog was my growing concern about the societal and cultural implications of the growing divide between people, organizations and cultures who participate in the global economy, and those who do not.

To be clear, I grew up in the latter group, and now reside professionally in the former but geographically in the latter group.  I may be the only venture capitalist in the United States, and certainly the only one who serves on the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association, who takes his own trash to the dump. (We don’t have waste removal service where my family and I live in rural New Mexico. Also, our cell reception is spotty at best, our water is from a well, our gas is from a propane tank, and we cheered recently when the county recently removed the asphalt from our country road and restored it to gravel).  

One of the biggest concerns I have is that the so-called “global elites” - including those who populate Silicon Valley and its extended global ecosystem, known as the “technorati” - often demonstrate a dangerous mix of entitlement and authority in situations and domains that lie well beyond their actual area of competence and expertise.

Along came this video over the past weekend of a customer on a Metro North train in New York.  In it, a young woman has been asked by the female train conductor to stop talking and swearing loudly on her cell phone. The young woman responds with the same kind of tirade we’ve all witnessed (and in a moment of candor, I will admit to having delivered) a thousand times in airports, restaurants, etc.  The tirade itself isn’t all that unusual or worthy of remark.  What makes this tirade of interest is the argument the young woman uses to defend herself against the conductor:  that she is better educated. (As it turns out she has an undergraduate and some graduate work at NYU - not particularly overwhelming for a commuter on Metro North, but still easily placing her well within the very top few percent of the global population).

The global educated elite would rarely dare, even in private homogeneous company, to make an offending racial or ethnic comment.  At the same time, as I’ve experienced all too often, they (we?) casually and easily make equally devastating remarks about education and class.   Seems like a back-handed form of progress, at best.

(Hat tip to “Class War on Metro North,” a post by James Fellows of TheAtlantic for the links).

Setting up Tumblr

Still setting things up here on Tumblr.

I now have Disqus setup for comments. It’s pretty easy to do, and appears to be the front-runner for comment engines of the entire www. It works on wordpress, blogger, tumblr, typepad and movable type. So of course, I also put it up on my blogger site.

I also have feedburner burning the rss. They were purchased by Google some time ago and handle recording statistics on your site usage. It’s also useful when you move your blog site - your feed stays the same.

This post was initially created just to claim this blog for technorati through the feedburner feed. I just now removed the link they wanted posted, since it was just for the technorati spider to confirm that I indeed own (or at least have rights to post to) this site.

Next I would like to get the HTML/CSS looking decent. I have started with the {CustomCSS} theme, and the clear CSS. This theme allows you to modify the look through CSS which is how all sites should be written. So now I can just modify the CSS to adjust the looks to suit my tastes.

La blogosfera

En la sesión del diez de marzo se habló, entre otras cosas, del concepto de blogosfera, referido no sólo a su concepción como el conjunto de los blogs existentes en un determinado lugar o a nivel mundial, sino haciendo hincapié en la forma que estos tienen de conectarse, así como las corrientes que existen entre ellos. Hay que tener en cuenta, al valorar las cifras que contabilizan la blogosfera que la mayor parte de los blogs que existen son abandonados. Si bien, según el motor de búsqueda y servicio de medición para blogs, Technorati, se explicó que existen aproximadamente 130 millones de blogs en el mundo, un 66% se abandonan (el 33% de ellos caso al principio).

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Social Bookmarking Sites Truly Drive Qualified Traffic To Your Web Site For Business Growth

Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, share, classify, and search Internet bookmarks. It is the practice of saving bookmarks to a Web site and tagging them with keywords. Bookmarking, on the other hand, is the practice of saving the address of a Web site you like to visit in the future on your personal computer. These days social bookmarking sites are taking the internet by storm because these sites involve a high level of social interaction which helps to spread the business messages or notices among large no of audiences. Adding bookmark sites link on your web site helps not only to increase site traffic but also boost conversion values.In social bookmarking, people create their own topics and lists for places on the Internet. Visitors to these sites can search for resources by keyword, person, or popularity and see the public bookmarks and tags. It is provided by services such as, Digg, and Technorati are fastest growing bookmark sites on internet today. It is particularly useful when collecting a set of resources that are to be shared with public. To set up a collection of bookmarks, firstly register with a social bookmark site which lets you create your own bookmarks as public or private. On the web site side, be sure to include the code snippets provided by social bookmarking sites that are allowing users to tag site easily.