Following up on this post, I installed the Attention Recorder extension for Firefox from Attention Trust. I'd held off using it initially because I'm leery of having my attention data streamed somewhere. And, as I'm writing this, I discover that there's an option to download an extension which doesn't stream the data somewhere. Still, I wanted to see what the deal is. So far...I'm not seeing much value (this is after a whopping two days of use). I'm using Root Vaults. Mind you, I see value in recording attention data and doing something with it (hey, I wonder if the NSA has gotten into the attention data thing yet?); but I'm staring at the root.net screen trying to figure out what I can do with my data, and the answer so far (conceding two days' use) is not much.
For example, Root Vaults has an option called Root Worm.
Now, I'm old enough to have been online when Robert Morris' worm was unleashed upon the net, so worm doesn't have the best connotation for me.
So, I'm digging around the Root.net page and...there's no further information about what a root worm.
I put it on my page (which page? My homepage? My blog? this page?) and
pieces of your Root Vault that [will] wriggle all across the 'net!.
So, I assume that means not that it's an agent on my behalf, but that it displays what I'm paying attention to.
And I'm not so sure I want to do that (since I can't control who's looking at my page and it's unclear whether the controls at root.net permit me to control who's looking at what).
My existing way of tracking where I've paid attention has been to review my bookmarks on a weekly basis (both in Firefox as well as del.icio.us) and pick out the memorable ones, either blogging them here (or my personal site) or retagging them for retrieval later.
My interest this week didn't result in much bookmarking. I've been following rocketboom and Ze Frank's The Show for the past month or so and have been quite taken with the concept and success of these 3-5 minute video segments.
The cost to produce high-quality video has been dropping for years, and now the cost to distribute video has dropped significantly enough for individuals to create and distribute content.
3-5 minute segments are easily digestible, I don't have to commit 30-60 minutes to watch them, there isn't the constant tease that you see in newshows to get you to watch until the end (though with Tivo the tease is less problematic).
I don't have any major insights here other that to say this: I've watched more "entertainment" (if you can call it that) this week online in the form of Rocketboom and The Show than I watched on TV. Now, it's the (northern) summer so TV is in re-runs, but still I wonder what that portends. In the hype about the 500-channel digital future, the hypesters assumed that traditional content creators and distributors would be the beneficiaries.
I wonder what Nielsen, Arbitron, et al are doing to collect attention data in the online world. mmmm, paper diaries..
I've been stewing on the bloglines × technorati mashup, if only because I still need it myself, and it seemed to interest a couple of people.
One of the problems I am considering is that Technorati and Bloglines don't really support network effects, which is what I'd want to utilize. Bloglines allows you to see who else has subscribed to a given feed (if the subscriber has made that public). Technorati...doesn't seem to have a friends list or other people who link to this also linked to that sort of thing.
So, Bloglines can give me the reading list. For now I won't dig into the network effects. Technorati will tell me who linked to what (so that who might be a network effect sort of thing I can build upon, we'll stick that up on the shelf to contemplate later). del.icio.us and other such sites can tell me what got bookmarked, possibly by whom.
Is that enough to build a reasonable filter?
I'm not sure. While I'm willing to accept some, for lack of a better phrase, signal loss, accepting that by using such a filtering scheme I'm bound to miss something that I actually would want to pay attention to, I'm not sure that most people understand that.
My friend Alex has been writing about the concept of obliteration phenomenon where truly groundbreaking information fails to get cited after the information has been accepted into the common world-view (the canonical example being Einstein's paper on the theory of relativity).
I wonder about the potential for obliteration phenomena when looking at filtering my feed reading lists. On the one hand, I absolutely need to add some sort of filter, I cannot be reasonably productive and scan (let alone actually read) every last item that comes across the wire. On the other hand, I think it's important to know, have visible, that some items fell off the screen, under the threshhold. Slashdot will tell you how many comments are under your threshhold, so perhaps something is needed along those lines.
The question then is: how to determine rank or value of a given item in a feed? Is it who subscribes to it? Who has linked to it? Who has bookmarked it? What other aspects are there about information online, served via feeds (regardless of whether it' a blog post or an AP article) are there which one can use to assess value?
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