Internetrix Managing Director Geoff McQueen has just returned home from another overseas adventure, this time to Germany and the United States. While in Silicon Valley, California's technology haven, Geoff got to experience up-close some technology that will surely have an impact on how news is made and consumed. This month Geoff shares with us his insights into the 'blogosphere' and one particularly special tool for finding your way through the millions of online authors publishing blogs: memeorandum.
Regular readers may remember an article in our December 2005 newsletter that talked about the blogging phenomenon. While a bit slow to take off in Australia, blogging is big news here in the US, and it is being used extensively by traditional publishers, companies and their product managers, and of course increasingly serious amateur journalists.
According to Technorati, a blog search engine, there are more than 32 million blogs containing more than 2 billion posts. That is a lot of content from a lot of writers, and to be sure not all of it is worth reading (thank goodness). You need a way to find the good stuff, but a search engine alone is only useful if you know what you're looking for. Thankfully there's a solution; if you want to get a handle on this blogging craze, just visit memeorandum.
Created by Gabe Rivera, a talented PhD graduate and former Intel engineer, to help him keep track of the increase in blogging activity in 2004 (well showcased in reports about the 2004 US Presidential Election later that year), memeorandum has become an online success with millions of hits.
Memorandum is split into different categories to make it easy to find what is hot, and is totally automated, scouring tens of thousands of news sources to produce a page of the hottest stories (and who's linking to them) every five minutes. You can choose from the original www.memeorandum.com for politics, tech.memeorandum.com for technology, wesmirch.com for celebrity gossip or the recently launched ballbug.com for baseball. More verticals are in the pipeline.
The success of memeorandum is based on its ability to learn and identify patterns from groups of links. Bloggers generally do a very good job of referencing sources, usually other blogs or online newspaper articles. This tendency - similar to the Google breakthrough with PageRank - is the basis behind memeorandum's success, and is technically known as "link analysis". Gabe's engine runs through and indexes - in real time - thousands of blog and news sources, and by focusing only on the most recent, it ranks them according to how widely they're referenced. As a result, it learns what's hot and what's not, creating a valuable snapshot of the day's news that has an almost democratic feel to it, since people are voting with links.
At a technology conference I attended last week, one of the speakers asked who in the room used memeorandum daily. All present-including staff from major players like AOL who hosted the event-put up their hands. Unfortunately memeorandum is not available for all topics on the internet, so if your passion is lama breeding it might not be for you. Gabe says this is for good reason-to have the system accurately identify the top stories, there need to be a lot of sources to choose from- amas just aren't that popular with blog authors. Some areas-politics and technology-have been early adopters of blogs; the new baseball site-and more ball sports to follow-will hopefully demonstrate that the world is embracing consumer generated content more and more widely.
To check out the site, visit one of the links as best suits your taste (I strongly recommend the technology one):
Gossip & Entertainment: www.wesmirch.comSports (Baseball initially): www.ballbug.com