By Alex King
Back in the end of 2007, half a year after Google Reader had launched the sharing feature, I had an idea of a new service that would aggregate all the shared items and sort them according to the number of times one post was shared.

As it usually happens with the new ideas, somebody else had it too, and, most importantly, made it real before I had even started coding (actually, I had, but just a few lines). In a short while, a second similar aggregator appeared and, today, we are fortunate to have ReadBurner and RssMeme.

The two services, both dear to me,  have a lot in common with one notable exception: RssMeme employs a kind of spider to find and aggregate shared items  while ReadBurner is an opt in service.

In due course, other feed readers were added as sources: Bloglines, Netvibes, Newgator etc. and RssMeme went  a bit further querying known services to find out whether an article had been bookmarked in any way.

The idea that what one shares through his feed reader is actually a vote or a recommendation is pretty solid, and, once a big number of sharers is reached, the power of statistics comes to play: the articles that emerge to the top are the ones that people truly feel are important. Isn’t this the essence of social bookmarking? And isn’t it also true that this essence is actually gamed in the digg like sites by a rather small group of people, despite the huge influx of traffic these sites enjoy?

One short  visit to Readburner or RssMeme reveals though, that the articles that rise to the top, have been shared by such a small number of people that, with  equal diggs, they would never see the light of day in digg.

Which leads to the conclusion that either the people who share are not that many, or they have not been included in the two aggregators yet.

Speaking of numbers, how many people really use Google Reader? I tried to google the question but came with no answer. I tried to google also the ‘google reader market share’, but came with no recent data either.

Without an idea of how many people use feed readers and share, it is  pretty hard to make any predictions or recommendations. Yet, if we assume that it is only because it is too early  (less than a year) that the sharing culture hasn’t spread and that it, eventually, will, we can fantasize one implication:

Some clever engineer will think of incorporating the share-votes into digg: a little bit of matching (is the sharer a digg user, and has the shared post been dugg already etc) and there you go.

But would that be a good thing?

Yes, it would. Because it would instill the democratic element of Readburner/RssMeme into digg. And, democracy is a good thing, isn’t it?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Advertisements

10 thoughts on “I have a dream (of social bookmarking)!

  1. I have to give Scoble credit, he predicted Google Reader as a social bookmarking engine in 2006.

    You can now add friends to your friends list, share feed items, bookmark single blog posts from blogs that you read on the web and here’s the kicker, there is now a blog recommendation engine that recommends blogs you do not read by what your friends list is subscribed to in their Google Readers.

    Then, everything you share and bookmark in Google Reader of course comes up on your Google shared items page linked to by your Google profile.

    What really blew me away was the recommendation engine. If you add as many of your email list subscribers as you can to your Google Reader you can get a real good idea of what other blogs your subscribers are reading.

    The links in your shared items are all HTML and fully followed so every time one of your RSS subscribers shares a blog post it is creating incoming links to your site.

    Better yet, it uses the exact blog post title you wrote so now your links use your keyword phrases and bookmarkers can’t change your title tag.

    After talking to my SEO top dog contacts, they were all floored and assured me this is the new SEO tactic that no one knows about.

    http://www.keywebdata.com/?p=136

    It is kind of hard to add friends, the easiest way is to send a chat invite from Gmail and then email your contact you want to friend and have them email you back. It seems Google wants a two way conversation before they will allow you to become mutual friends.

    If you would like to friend me, add chrislang at gmail.com to your Google Gmail chat and send me an email letting me know so I can return an email to you, thereby creating a two way connection in Google.

    Google is quietly rolling this out behind the scenes but it is a full blown social bookmarking application and the blog recommendation engine is the new blog marketing strategy.

    One thing I have not quite figured out is if using FeedBurner now hurts you since the links point at the FeedBurner redirect rather than your site like a WordPress feed does.

  2. @Nikos,

    Wait till you see what else I have up my sleve, you definitley hit it on the head here, Google has all the pieces in place and they are slowly coming together, but there are two more pieces out there, can you find them?

    I have to give you credit though, this post is probably only second to mine and no one else get the big picture yet, not Cnet not TechCrunch and only Scoble has beat us to any of this.

    Nice work Nikos!

  3. How do website readers prefer to share stories they find with friends? According to the company behind the widely used sharing widget ShareThis, after emailing a link, the most popular method of sharing is now Facebook. The numbers are interesting – but there are also some big caveats to keep in mind.
    ————————————————
    reetha

    Facebook the Most Popular Social Bookmarking Service on the Web

    Social Bookmarking

Comments are now closed.