tecznotes

Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Dec 2, 2004 9:57pm

ann on reblog

Ann Poochareon writes:

Enters reBlog, a system in which not only lets you subscribe to and read the feeds as they come in, you are also able to send those feed information, item by item, to your website (if you have one) without having to copy the info by hand. you press a button, it adds to its blog feed list. you press another button, the blog feed gets posted to your website. reBlog allows you to easily be your own newsroom, choose and pick what you like or what you think is interesting and worthy to pass on to more people.

For real. Ann is the current reBlogger, and has been doing a great job hilighting some cool stuff.

A few thoughts that have popped up as Michael and I were writing reBlog 1.0 over the past few months:

  • How important is a proper attribution chain? The "via" link is added automatically by reBlog, and manually by other link lists like Waxy or Daring Fireball, but it can only tell you two links in the attribution chain: the first, and the previous. Does this matter? Is every step along the chain a creative act, or just the first? Is previous link is just a tummy rub tip-of-the-hat to your sources? Design Oberver has the excellent Observed series, which trades rigorous attribution for thematic unity (mostly) between groups of links.
  • This is fun! I don't regularly visit many sites anymore, it's too easy to get my news dropped into my inbox and marked for later. I subscribe to a bunch of tag feeds from del.icio.us, photo feeds from flickr, and more journals, news sites, and other reblogs.
  • This is dangerous! I don't regularly visit many sites anymore. The New York Times and the SF Chronicle have both dropped off my radar, even though I'm subscribed to a few NYT feeds. Eric has pointed out that it's still important for him to go visit the NYT once in a while, just to see what stories get a lot of attention on the front page. Does the fact that I often see a new item hit my aggregator 4 or more times in the space of an hour from different sources imply that I am cocooning myself into media echo chamber?
  • This is weird. I maintain a page of snippets, which started out as a shell script to aggregate the random pieces of text and URL's I come across on a daily basis, and evolved into a public link list. I often find myself second-guessing items of interest I'd normally like to hold onto, because I worry whether I seem like too much of a dork, or obsessed about one topic, or suffer from various other perceived personal failings that can be divined from careful analysis of my URL trail. I can see why blogging makes people extremely self-conscious.
  • Who's going to use this dumb thing? I've been thinking of reBlog as the semantic web equivalent of two turntables and a microphone, and if the late 90's DJ cult is any indication of future trends, there's going to be a lot of people using some combination of reBlog, del.icio.us, and other feed services to entertain and amuse their friends and coworkers with funny or interesting information, minus the burden of actually writing something themselves. On the flip side, my former housemate Ted had this to say about the success of the DJ image in 2002: "Several strange and new ladies write rocker guy. DJ guy, who had a very nice photo that made him look like a bonafide DJ, got zero hits from the ladies, but my male friends who DJ'd all wrote to say how great the pics were." (Friendster, An Addict's Perspective). Does the cultural repackager eventually get exposed as a shill?

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