Saturday, May 5

Embracing Change: Technorati

With all the buzz about social networks, I'm not surprised Technorati is embracing change. Not all the changes taking place warrant a news release like its partnership with PR Newswire (prompting public relations practitioners to take a harder look at social media). Some happen silently, seamlessly, and seemingly overnight.

One of the quieter changes taking place over at Technorati is how they organize "Favorites." Considering Technorati is the recognized authority on what's happening on the World "Live" Web by tracking 79.2 million blogs, I've always felt its Favorites List was grossly underutilized. That's likely to change in the days and weeks ahead now that Technorati has added "favored by" user icons to every blog overview page. There is also a "Favorites" widget that shows the last three posts from your favorite blogs on your blog, along with a search box limited to blogs you like.

I first noticed these changes a day or two ago when I was reorganizing my own "Favorites" list. The format was different, prompting me to notice a new "fan." So I clicked on over to our blog overview page and, well sure enough, there was an icon of "some guy" who seemed vaguely familiar to me.

Of course he looked familiar; he isn't just "some guy." He is none other than Geoff Livingston who writes the very poignant blog called The Buzz Bin. I had just added him to my Favorites the day before, shortly after learning more about his blog. But that's the way online networking works: linking to blogs you like because they have relevant content.

Technorati's improved approach to Favorites will certainly help do this too, provided bloggers avoid the temptation to participate in too many "Favorite" exchanges and link swap experiments. No, there is nothing wrong with such trades. However, if every blog becomes your Favorite, then you risk diluting the list's relevance in much the same way traffic generators damage analytics.

For example, it doesn't make sense for us to employ a traffic generator like AutoHits on this blog. Random traffic has virtually no meaning to our objectives. (We are testing AutoHits on another project, however.)

The same can be said for Favorite lists anywhere: if you add everyone just because you're hoping for higher rankings, then it really isn't a Favorite list at all. Heck, you might damage any chance of capturing measurable results beyond click-throughs. However, used wisely, you can create a great list of resources for you and your readers.


Geoff_Livingston on 5/5/07, 4:13 PM said...

It's really an exciting time in social networking. I am actually engaging in a book deal with another gentleman who I met via Technorati while I was sourcing material for my blog. It's fun!

I think we're really at the beginning of something, at the base of the bell curve. It'll be great to see where it lands. And keep up the great blogging, Rich. I look forward to featuring your blog in next week's great Blogs of Fire write up.

Rich on 5/5/07, 4:46 PM said...

Thanks Geoff,

I couldn't agree more. I'm glad you visited the other day and I caught your blog (again, because I remember Diary too! Your army post was spot on.

Congrats on your book deal. Now that's something to look forward too. I've been amazed by some of the people I've meet and where it leads.

All my best,

Rich on 5/5/07, 5:25 PM said...

More words:

BusinessWeek's Heather Green asked some tough questions about Technorati just a few days ago and suggested the blog boom might be slowing down, especially as people opt in for other social media outlets: video, podcasts, and social networks.

Her article is here 15.5 Million Active Blogs (title summed) presents an interesting picture of the World Live Web.

Hmmm... I'm just not sure. I'll see where this might go next week, but it does hint a bit more toward the motivation of the recent changes.

Rich on 5/23/07, 6:04 PM said...

Famous Last Words:

"First, we've eliminated search silos on Technorati. In the past, you had to know the difference between keyword search, tag search and blog directory search in order to make use of the full power of our site. No more. Starting today, we now provide you a simplified experience. Simply indicate what's of interest to you and we'll assemble the freshest, hottest, most current social media from across the Live Web - Blogs, posts, photos, videos, podcasts, events, and more." — Dave Sifry, Technorati

Yikes! Eliminated search silos? That's too bad, David. That's how I found most of my favorite blogs to begin with... ho hum. Change. Take the good with the bad.


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