How would a human differentiate between the original source for a piece of content on the web, and a syndicated or splogged copy?
One of the most important factors would almost certainly be the comments.
What is one of the primary reasons people click through from an RSS feed to actually visit a blog?
Almost certainly it is either to read comments others have made, or to make one of their own. It is not to view advertising… at least for most.
How would a machine, such as Google differentiate between original source and whether a piece of content is valuable to include in its search index?
Factors could include:-
- The content within comments – keywords, language structure, length etc
- The number of comments
- Update frequency of the page (gaining additional comments over time)
Sure there are other factors, such as links
People link to comments on blogs, typically using a #fragment – the link is going to the blog permalink page
How many times have you found the answer to a question by reading a blog comment?
For me it is actually quite frequently – comments quite often provide alternatives to the original content that offer improvements.
A large part of blogging is engaging your audience in conversation
Business blogging is about engaging your customers
It hasn’t happened yet, but soon a blog might become no more than an RSS feed that is read on another domain, and discussed in small communities of friends, sometimes private, sometimes public, but still fragmented conversation.
Sharing In Google Reader
I have probably been the most vocal in my dislike of Google Reader sharing.
Google reader is one of the most effective tools for creating splogs
RSS Readers should provide publishers with a choice as to whether their content can be easily shared further than the original subscriber.
Bloglines have discussed and implemented access control, and Facebook even uses it
I totally understand Paul from Friendfeed in his analogy with films, that he wants to discuss a film with his friends, and that YouTube isn’t exactly the epitomy of stimulating conversation.
But the intent of a movie or YouTube isn’t to stimulate dialogue at the venue, otherwise they would improve the venues. In fact YouTube was purposely designed with viral intention, for the content to be syndicated and for conversations to happen elsewhere. With the YouTube API, Google wants to hand off being the publisher (and their legal problems) in return for advertising $.
Many bloggers on the other hand blog to stimulate conversation on their own blogs, to generate page views, and maybe make a little money from advertising or services.
As a content producer itâ€™s really nice to see discussions happening around the content Iâ€™ve created.
But at least I know how people are reactingâ€¦ with the explosion of social media / social networking I have no idea what people are saying unless Iâ€™m actively a member of those communities.
As a content consumer itâ€™s much more convenient to respond to content on the community where I found it from.
The fragmentation of discussion might be bad for the content producer, but it makes things so much easier for the content consumer. I know which way this trend is headingâ€¦
(A smart person would build a social network scraper to reimport the comments from there into their blogging engine software â€” if you know of any plugins like that then leave a comment)
Thanks for that information. I got everything running now.
I hope it gets me some fresh content in form of comments to my blog posts.
A very simple wish, but the chances of it happening are remote, especially for a foreign language blog unless FriendFeed becomes popular in Germany.
Warning Signals From September
Whilst Google have since implemented the sharing of items with your gmail contacts automatically in Google Reader, nothing has appeared regarding activity streams and commenting.
Isn’t that odd?
The thing is, if Google implement this, there would be public outcry – it is not just bloggers publishing RSS feeds, but also major news corporations.
How convenient that Friendfeed was launched a few weeks later by a bunch of former Googlers
I don’t think there was any kind of conspiracy, as an example Paul Buchheit had been outside Google for over a year, and other founders were also working outside Google on new projects.
Previous relationships would however potentially make Friendfeed a very comfortable acquisition target after it had matured and the public opinion was appeased.
Add Comments to RSS or RSS to Comments?
First off, I expect someone to come out with some kind of Greasemonkey script very soon to work in Friendfeed, so that you can pull in items from the original site without leaving Friendfeed. I am amazed it hasn’t happened already, as there are already scripts for use with Google Reader.
wish FriendFeed added some AJAX, hover-over lightbox Flickr photo popu action
You could probably do that in Greasemonkey for the early adopters, but eventually add it to the main Friendfeed interface, and people would never have to visit Flickr to see full content pictures.
Alternatively it would also be easy to integrate Friendfeed comments into Google Reader
FriendFeed are not the only possible solution in town – recently funded Disqus (and a number of others) for instance would make a great replacement for the ailing comment system on Blogger. Blogger commenting stinks.
RSS content could also be pulled into Disqus at a later date, it would enhance conversation to have it all tied together on one site… like it used to be, even if it is only as an iframe pulled from Google Reader (why show annoying advertising)
Smart Business… Maybe
Fred Wilson actually wrote a little about Friendfeed as well, I do agree with him on this specific statement
So now, in addition to this blog, my tumblog, and twitter, I have to pay attention to whats’ going on in FriendFeed. So it’s gone from being an aggregator of attention to a demander of attention. Good for them. That’s the way to play the game on the web.
Grabbing attention and content is smart business, but what happens when you have to monitor conversation on 20 or 30 different comment aggregating services, not all of which have an open API (of that I am confident at least some will provide)
Traffic, SEO and Accessibility
In general, comment systems are fairly prehistoric, and could actually bring in more traffic. Rather than being extra content to an original article, they could each be treated like a twitter tweet, and then served on a page with its own title, that is also used as anchor text linking to the comment on a permalink page. That would turn a blog post with 50 comments into 51 pages of unique content – some would be a little weak on content, but others would be substantial.
This isn’t new, it would be just like old threaded forum scripts.
If data was stored with timestamps in XML, then it would be easy to integrate it and possibly cross-pollinate the conversation, but would commenters always want an author to know about their conversation?
Thus you would need various privacy settings and discussion groups.
The Race To Kill Blogging
I don’t think in this scenario blogging would really exist – you would have original content producers, but there wouldn’t really be a need for the blog platform. A blog post would purely be the starting point in a distributed conversation thread which would contain other blog posts, or just simple comments – it is just another node in the conversation.
Back to CompuServe, Prodigy, Usenet, FidoNet, CIX and AOL
Fragmented discussions are nothing new – once the fragments are joined back together, it is a bit like a timewarp or things going full circle 20 years.
Actually 20 years ago was so much easier. I was on CIX – you could use an offline reader and “blink” to download your threaded discussion messages – a much more efficient workflow and very little if any advertising or spam.
Sure you would present the data differently – in those days my Commodore Amiga with 4MB of memory was a beast, these days that could be taken up by a single webpage.
Do you really want to go “Back To The Future”?