Archive

Posts Tagged ‘blogger’

How do you take your blog?

October 9, 2009 1 comment

The most significant change to my reading habits since I started reading blogs is that I started reading a lot more blogs. What that I lately realized is that there are growing number of different options for getting blog posts streamed to my browser.

Email subscription

  • Pros: Since I check my email regularly I know that I will not miss it.
  • Cons: I will probably get the post few hours later and if there is something “hot” to share it might get cold by the time that I will see it.
  • Use: This subscription option is only reserved for few blogs that I know will provide information that has value (above and) beyond the day of publication.

Reader subscription (RSS)

  • Pros: Fast to receive and fast to read. Especially, if you are using GoogleReader and invest the time to learn some of its cool shortcuts.
  • feedly
  • Cons: You have to know what to look for. It takes time to build and organize reach blogs list. There is only a little room for serendipity.
  • Use: It is a great way to keep half open eye on lots of blogs. It is also possible to see it like a magazine start page via feedly.

Tag based real-time subscription

  • What is Tag based Real-Time subscription? Using new technology and real-time protocols like RSSCloud and PubSubHubBub, blog service like wordpress, can notify us about new blog posts as soon as they are published.  Let’s leave the buzz word for a minute because in my mind this is only half of the big news.  The second half of the change is that it is tag based.  If you don’t know what tag and tagging is please read Wikipedia explanation here.  Let’s go for a use case to explain the value of this new capability.  Let’s say that I like to read about Social Media. The way that I did it in that past was to Google “Social Media”, or to set a Google Alert looking for web pages with the “Social Media” keyword.  I could also check the Wordpres tags page searching for the Social Media tag.  These option are all either slow or tedious.
    The new real-time RSS protocols are tag based. In human language it means that it is possible to retrieve new blog post by tags.With the adoption of these new real-time protocols and the fact that they are tag based, it is possible to get new blog posts while they are still “hot and fresh” into your browser. Service like LazyFeed let you list several tags to listen to.  You can read more here. Now,  back to our use case. I can add the socialmedia tag (no space is allowed) to my tag list and start reading new fresh blog posts about this subject.lazyfeed
  • Pros: I don’t have to know the blog name, url, or feed url like in the Reader subscription case. I can just listen to certain tag(s). I get new blog posts as soon as they are published. I get a chance to lean about new blogs and blogger that I can later promote to one of the other subscription way. Tags are not hierarchical but they are associated somehow (some times hierarchically) so I can drill down to switch listening using related tags.
  • Cons: Not all blog services adopted this protocols yet. Some time it is just too fast. I would like to see more invested in the usability and scalability on the client side. It would be nice to be able to combine both the Reader and Tag Based Real-time subscription in a single tool.
  • Use: It is a great way to learn about new blogs and bloggers. It is a great way to find new content for sharing on Twitter.

These are only few of the ways to find and read blogs. There are many more, like using Twitter, Twitter tools (like twitturly), Facebook feed, delicious and other social sharing web-sites.

Just remember that blogs reading leads to more blog reading:)

So, how do you take your blog?

backtype provides new ways for serving the blogsphere

September 26, 2008 9 comments

Google Alerts sent me an email today with information about another reference to my blog name, Webnomena. This time it came from a service called Backtype. I had to follow the link! Every now and then I come across a new tool that fills my mind with numerous options and ideas. Twitter and Twitter search were two of those, MeeID is another, and now backtype is causing the same effect. Smart,flexible, simple, and useful.

In short, this is a service that crawl and collect comments from blogs and then organize them for you, using the comment’s URL. If the URL is your blog then all your comments from around the web are now in one place. More than that, you can see other bloggers and their comments too. The key feature is that you can follow other people’s comments (Twitter style).  Brian Solis from PR 2.0 wrote a great post about the true value of backtype in”BackType Unearths Blog Comments to Identify Relevant Conversations”.

There are more features that this service offers. The backtype blog also tell us that Mike Montano and Christopher Golda the founders are hard at work adding more cool stuff.

backtype2

Yet, in this post I want to focus on how backtype suppots the blogsphere.

The tasks that backtype can help us with:

  • Finding what the professional bloggers are reading and caring about – for instance here is where Om Malik hangs out.
  • Improving comments’ quality – maybe we will see less instances of “great post, now please come and visit my blog”
  • Finding implicit connections to complete one’s social graph picture. A comment is one way connection between the reader and the blogger. If the blogger responded or the blogger left comment on the reader’s blog then the connection is now bi-directional. They may not be linked as friends, fans or follower though. Social graph search engines like Delver and Nsyght can use this information for adding more connections (from like minded people) and enriching their search content pool.
  • Complementing the Web-Conversing-Now dashboard – joining Twitter Search Trending Topics telling us what is hot now.
  • Finding smart people – I notice some cases were a comment was better than the target post.
  • PR – Using micro site like backtype for building great web presence to help your business – Danny Brown provide insights on this new trend in his recent Are Micro Sites the Next Wave of Business Promotion? blog post.
  • Listening – having more ears on the web in addtion to Google Alerts, Twitter Search RSS feeds and more.

Brian Solis wrote:

The process of listening isn’t only relegated to the research and analysis of individual reputations. Listening is also instrumental in the creation of new communications and service initiatives as well unearthing the specific conversations that matter to your brand – for gathering data and also discovering opportunities to respond

I wonder if backtype have a plan to open their API for building new services around it!?

How do you plan to use this service for serving your objectives?

The case for blog search engine

August 30, 2008 4 comments

I see more and more people raising the questing about the need for blog search engine, especially when Google is doing such a great job finding good content from blog as well as from web sites. It seems like that Google itslef is not investing too much in their blog search too. So, in this post I will explain what I think should be the duties of a blog search engine and why I still see a need for one.

Blog search engines (should) serve multiple purposes

  • Finding great bloggers, blogs and blog posts
  • Recognizing great bloggers, blogs and blog posts – rank.
  • Categorizing blogs and bloggers in multiple ways not limited to content type. Categorize blogs by their objectives: personal blogging is not the same as corporate blog or professional bloggers, subject expert, politics, go green, artist or others. It is not just about what that the blogger writes about but also about what the blogger is trying to achieve.
  • Monitoring blog and blogger progress – is this blog alive? a shooting star?
  • Web-now – see Twitter Search Trending Topics, Twingly’s Hot right now or Technorati’s what’s percolating in blogs now
  • Alerts – a list of new blogs in a given category that are doing well
  • Community building – increasing cooperation among bloggers (e.g. you should read this blog)

What do we need to know?

  • The top bloggers in a category
  • The top blogs in a category
  • The top blog post in a category

Who needs it?

  • The readers – to know what to read, what is going on in real-time
  • The blogger
    • To present a case to a sponsor
    • To know whom to look up to
    • To see and share about the blogger progress
  • The business
    • To know where to buy ad real-estate or whom to sponsor
    • PR – where to spend my effort effectively

The challenges of blog search engines today.

Using the reaction counting method for ranking, the service needs to distil humans actions from automated (bots) one in order to be accurate. So far this is not working well and adds another questions mark around the validity of blog search engines.

Here are some example for both:

  • Human reactions
    • Blog post reacting to another
    • Update on Twitter or Jaiku
    • Digging on Digg
    • Submitting to social bookmarking site
    • Posting on a social network
    • Bloggers community
  • Bot reactions

The number of sites that offer posting of human blog reactions is growing faster than the crawling capabilities and sometime does not offer access to crawlers.

The service should also remove the “me” links from the count i.e. links from all the social object under the same owner.

A couple of thoughts

Maybe someone could think about another way to rank blogs and bloggers. Measuring traffic is probably a more accurate way (Alexa). The traffic is relative to the category. I assume that a blog about Technology will get more traffic than a blog about biology. The rank should be within a category and not across all (or not just across all blogs).

In my opinion there is a need for blog/blogger search engine but the emphasize of the search capability should be less around finding content (leave that to Google) and more about discovering leading blogs and bloggers. 

It does not need to be a free service at least not for the business. The premium or a sponsor account model could work as well.

Looking at Pijoo – a friendly blogger community

August 12, 2008 3 comments

There are only few real bloggers communities other there but many web sites that only resembled one. MyBlogLog was a great one till Yahoo bough and kept  it on ice (this is maybe changing recently).  StumbleUpon is another successful one yet I can’t find my way over there (please let me change my password – I can’t remember the default one you gave me). I tried using blogcatalog and stopped the registrations process after I was asked to put a widget on my blog for proving it is mine.Too much effort and I’m not sure if that would work if one is using wordpress.com. You can have friends on other content web sites like Digg, reddit, Delicious but these are not really geared for bloggers needs.

I recently discovered Pijoo, a social blog directory, that seems to have the potential for becoming the true blue social network for bloggers. The three people behind it are Calvin Innes CEO,  Brett Innes CTO, and Kali Ogle the best and friendliest technical support person I ever had as a contact. Calvin Innes has his own blog, and as it is written on his blog is an Illustrator, Cartoonist, Artist, Animator & published Author. He is responsible for the great design of the web site. I don’t know how he did it but this is one of the warmest place on the web that I’ve seen. Making the web site feels cozy is a key feature when building an online community. Kali Ogle is also the owner of a fashion design business and blog called Lady Waisted. This is the first time that I see a picture of a real human being on a technical support contact. She is the first person that you “see” after joining the service and the small Messages windows on your profile make the access to support very easy. Having your technical support right where you start is another way to get you on-board smoothly. I’m not sure how much it will scale later but during the time building the core community it makes perfect sense. As the About Us page says Pijoo is managed by Giz Media projects, a Giz Ltd company (UK).

pijoo

Yes, the service has a voting options on the blog, blog posts and the blogger, but it seems to be taken more casually (there is an option to say that it is “not for me” – no big deal) . You have an option to make new connections, submit blog posts and claim a blog. It also allows you to comment right there on a blog post. I’m not sure why it is called a directory because there is no blog categorization options. but there are a search and tag cloud options to find blogs. . Pijoo crawls looking for the latest blog post (what about ping service?), track recent visitors and support RSS feeds (Posts section). You can have up to 2 blogs for free but there is an option to upgrade to a sponsor account with unlimited blogs and other benefits for one-off $30 payment. There are more features and capabilities that this service provides like becoming a fan, telling others what blogs are you reading and different ways for seeing blogs, posts and bloggers.

I can’t say what is the size of the community but it seems like a friendly crowd. I also don’t know in what phase the site development is (alpha, beta) but I don’t think that it matters to the founders – it is open for public. It works and it fulfil its promise. Bloggers can makes connection over there!

What else to expect from a bloggers social networks?

  • Collaboration:  I will be really happy to exchange posts. I.e. be a guest blogger and allow someone else to be one on my blog. Maybe a guest blog wanted bulletin board.
  • Comment rating: I sometime see comments to blog post that are better than the original post. I wish I could rate them and make them visible to others.

What do you like to see in a bloggers social networks?

I just left a message to Kali asking for the origin of the name Pijoo. Stay tune (or guess it using the comment section).

Bottom line Pijoo is a fun place to socialize your blog and content. It is easy to use and has no performance issues. I will be happy to see you there.

How to read a blog?

August 8, 2008 3 comments

It sounds trivial, I know. Yet, I “see” people’s behavior on my blog that seems as if there is enough justification for this post. If you want to understand about blog’ elements I found this useful post Understanding and Reading a Blog (for Newcomers). I, want to focus on the sequence and not the blog parts and layout.

There are multiple ways to land on a blog post, one is following a link from another blog or comment left by the blogger, another way is checking a link from SERP(Search Engine Results Page).  From what that I see, the people that land on my blog using search engine tends to see less of my blog. I don’t know if this is because my blog is that bad,  they did not find what they were looking for, lack of time or because they do not know the difference between blog and web site.  Because people that arrives at my blog from links spread across the web, by me or others, tends to check more blog posts on my blog, I think that there is some true to the later reason. This is encouraging and kind of supporting my assumption that many people don’t understand the blog concept and how to make the best of the blog reading experience.

So how to read a blog?

The most important thing to understand about blogs is that it is not just this current post that you landed on. If you are here to visit, there are few more things that you should consider checking before you leave.

  • Click on the title or the Home tab – this will lead you to the Blog home page where the rest of the posts are.
  • Then if you are not in a rush, check few more blog posts – scroll down. Maybe the one you initially landed on is not the best one.
  • Check the Recent Post, and Top Post lists, mostly located on the sidebar – these will show you  what is fresh and what others liked.
  • Check the Recent Comment section – see who’s on it – read some comments. You can also follow the links by clicking on the commenter name.
  • You can also explore the Blogroll- the selected links out of the blog – this is the blogger’s Favorites.
  • Speaking about the blogger (in some cases bloggers) most blogs has an About page with information about the person that writes it. Take a peek, you may find something in common.
  • Finally, if you really want to know more about the blog, you can search for it on Technorati or Twingly. There you can find other blog post are linked to this one. You can also find its rank in the blogsphere.

If you like the blog that you just read then you can subscribed to its feeds. You’ll be getting new content to your favorite feed reader as soon as they come out (like Google Reader or Netvibe). Just click on the image that looks like this : RSS and copy the link. Some blogs offers email subscriptions too – I’m subscribed to few really good one like ReadWriteWeb. In this way I make sure that I don’t miss anything if I did not open my RSS reader (I do check my email periodically)

If the About page contains contact info there is a high chance that the author will be happy to connect with his readers, so don’t be shy and follow him on Twitter or become a friend on other social network.

The most important thing that I hope you took from this blog post is that a blog is not a single post. It is a collections of information from and about the blogger and if you have a chance to slow down a little the browsing rush, there is a chance to leave a blog with a little more than just information.

So what is your blog reading ritual?

FriendFeed exposes the need for FeedFriend

July 8, 2008 1 comment

FriendFeed  is an application for sharing much of your online activity and for folowing others and their feeds. You can add up to 41 services as of today collecting feeds from each to your feed stream. The value of this is still in question but it is not the subject of this post.

Now, one can assume that if you share something in one place and many of your followers can see it, this should be enough to market your blog, but apparently it is not. One can assume that this could be a great time saver for a blogger marketing his recent blog post by cutting down the leg work going around and posting the blog post link in multiple places (some of the 41 options).

The reality shows the opposite. I still see some of this service’s heavy users going around adding the links everywhere including the same marketing shpiel. How I see this – ironically using FriendFeed. Because I follow them and run Twhirl on my desktop I keep seeing the same light-weight pop-up windows with the notification about those users’ activity and only the source is differnt.

I assume that the reason for that “busy working” activity is the fact that many of the target audience is not yet on FriendFeed and these bloggers can’t rely on the message to go around using FriendFeed service exclusively .

So, I see an option to change the direction of the feed as well – i.e FeedFriend. Having a publishing service that can add the blog post link with a message simultaneously to multiple services (41 is a good number) such as Digg, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Jaiku, reddit and more.

It will be helpful too if FriendFeed or Twhirl will filter duplicate notifications so I will not see the same blogger market the same post per each Social: Network, Bookmarking or Status service.

Your thoughts….

"The Blog Search" – single exit strategy? Thinking outside the search (edit) box.

I see new start-up companies still working on new search engines and search technologies. I can’t seem to see the reason why and the need for it when it comes to searching web sites. I do see a business need for new ways searching blogs, under some conditions.

Google is more than good enough for me. Most time I manage to find what that I need on Google search.

There are many basic things that Google does great beside text search like finding address, directions, maps and telephone numbers. They have built a highly scalable spiders, data center, ad sense technology and many other essential capabilities.

Do you really think that everyone can afford to build it?

The only exit strategy that make sense for these companies is one contingent upon buyout by one of the search giants like Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask.com and Google.

If I’m right in this case I would suggest to these start-ups not to focus on the amount of data indexed by their new search engine because no one will ever use them under their origin brand name. They will not be able to wave with great statistics to convince someone to buy them because the chances for them to reach wide audience are slim.

On the other hand they should focus on building high technology that could be patent protected, alternatively they should find a niche or geography that Google is very weak in.

I can only offer them to walk directly to one of the large search engine companies, knock on the door and offer the new technology for sale and then to spend their effort in another technology front.

                                     ExitStartegy

One place still worth making an effort in search technology is the blogsphere. Google is not so great over there as I wrote in here . Technorati is a fantastic blog search engine but it is mainly focused on English speaking blog readers and bloggers.

One blog search engine with promising future is Twingly. This is an example for a blog search engine that is strongly invested in other languages and have deep roots in European countries. See posts on TechCrunch here and here.

I recently signed up to the private beta and I like what that I see so far. I can’t speak much about the search quality but I can tell about few things that I liked. First is the spam free search engine approach. This is a working progress to find information based on few initial reliable sources and then spreading out using links from those known bloggers building a “white” links list to index. The second is the powerful support for multiple languages other than English. Yes, not all the bloggers are speaking English, there are  more than 140,000 registered Swedish blogs, tons of French bloggers to name a few. So there is a need. Even in the US, the big melting pot, there is a great market for multi-lingual blog search engines(like in Spanish). What that I really liked in this beta is the TechPlan section where people can offer suggestions for product improvements features and then allow others to vote on them. This is a great way to collect feedback. I can’t see why not leaving it out there, even after the beta is done. There are more capabilities like voting on blog posts, prefix a search phrase with tags like link:, site:, blog:, lang:, tag:, and tspan: for qualifying target searches.

So, where should Twingly invest their effort?

I have few ideas:

Be Cultural

Don’t try to be American. Europe has a classic culture that could be embedded in the search results. Alternatively Twingly can create countries’ specific web pages the same way that Technorati created the “what’s percolating in blogs now”. E.g. what’s percolating in [country name here e.g. Norway] blogs now?

Be Social

Find a way to bring bloggers from around the world together. Match bloggers from different places by area of interest and create a place for them to interact. Create events centered in Europe for bloggers to meet. Use the Twitter like follow model for bloggers to find one another.

Be digital – build the best Blogsphere system-of-record

As I wrote in here strive to monitor and collect any available data about blog posts, blogs and bloggers, measures, profile information, area of interest, methods, preferred media, activities, patterns. Make sure to organize the data in a way that it is useful for both the general public and businesses.

Well if Twingly grows on their own or not they still have high chances for getting on Google radar:)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.