How many feeds are you currently subscribed to on your RSS reader of choice?
50, 100, 150……. Do you have more than Scoble?
What was your breaking point?
That moment when Greader alerts you that you currently have 1000+ unread articles, and you click “mark all as read,” all the while cringing as you know you are missing out on some diamond in the ruff that could have altered your perception on some esoteric theory you are mulling over.
I don’t know about you folks, but it has been happening to me ever more frequently.
I recently started a new job and my reader has been overflowing, not to mention my mind, as I haven’t vented my ideas in a while (I’m relaunching my blog today, link is at the bottom if your interested). Thus, in an effort to maximize feed consumption I subscribed to TechMeme, instead of reading 58 technology related feeds. It was a dark day for someone like myself who considers themselves a power-reader; akin to the day I had to shelve my PS2 to devote more time to the “important” things in life (That one still hurts).
Why am I so distressed about having to use a news aggregation site?
Because the Wisdom of Crowds is a flawed model for long tail information aggregation. It works for data predictions and guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar, but the ‘Crowd’ is nontransparent, it is sterile, and most importantly, it doesn’t know who I am.
In addition, Digg is controlled by the select elite, and TechMeme favors large sites like TechCrunch and non-blog content like The Register, because they have more traffic (equaling more overall links) and it lets the gems fall through the cracks.
The Crowd will never understand my eclectic tastes, the nuances of my passions, and the tonality that puts a smirk on my face.
So who or what does know all these aspects of Seni Thomas?
My friends and my communities, of course……. MY CROWDS.
The most relevant information in my content channels (I have currently channels for Tech, Marketing, Friends, Design, Trends, General News, New York, Venture News/Entrepreneurship, and Fun Stuff) comes from people sharing articles through Greader, del.icio.us feeds, or archaically emailing articles to me. However, I get many duplicated articles, and it is hard to judge how many “votes” my friends are giving to content around the web.
As a quick solution I have threaded together a number of existing tools to attempt to harness the power of MY CROWD. It is not terribly elegant, but I mean this article to be a conversational catalyst as this community has always impressed me with your ingenuity.
The Components of a Crowd Aggregation System (Needs a better name):
1. Content Input System – RSS output-able information
2. Voting system
3. Contextual Conversation – Friend’s comments, meme threading to group various related articles, tagging, etc.
4. Aggregator – Like an RSS reader
5. Archive – A searchable personalized database
My not so elegant first pass:
1. People add content by sharing on Google reader, del.icio.us bookmarking, Google shared items, or anything that exports data through RSS. By using Google shared items you can see how many people you know have shared/bookmarked each piece of content, which in a way works as a basic voting system.
2. A conversation feed can also be added by RSS exporting out from google group forums. Still needs to be attached to content and travel with the content
3. Yahoo pipes is used to filter data into whatever channels you want
4. It is all fed into Greader which catalogues all the info and acts as a depository that can be searched
Now since Google already launched the mini-social network within Greader it’s only one step away (Contextual Conversation) from having an all-inclusive platform. There you have it. In addition, community feeds can also be developed in this manner such as a MarketingProfs feed that all of you contribute to, or a LikeMind community feed.
I’m sure there are a number of you that could devise a more effective system, so lets work all work together to explore this topic. For some inspiration check out Fav.or.it.
The Ad-Vocate is relaunching today if you want to check it out. Apologies for the shameless plug.