If you’ve been reading this site for a while you may recall my earlier post on MusicPlasma, a cool site that uses Amazon’s web services to build a visual search engine for music based on collaborative filtering data. It shows bands as “orbs” or planets, each with their own “solar system” of related bands. (Play with it, it’s pretty cool.)
Recently a colleague contacted me and asked if I had anything interesting to say about blogs and how they might shape the media world in the next year or so. My initial thought was “Why of course I do!” – but the fact is, it’s not easy to have something interesting to say about blogs that doesn’t require a hell of a lot of throat clearing, groundwork laying, and general hand waving. Try to explain to an intelligent layperson the power of blogs – it’s not easy. The perfect piece has yet to be written on the true power and impact of blogs; at least, I haven’t seen it.
Sure, the examples are there – from the tsunami coverage to Trent Lott. But my colleague was looking for a visual high order bit – a way to see what the big deal was, after all. I thought about Dave Sifry’s slides from Web 2.0, but that was still too inside-the-blogway.
The I thought of MusicPlasma. The thing I like about it is how intuitive it is – put in the name of a band you like, and you find more that you might like but had never heard of.
Hey, I thought, what if we did that with blogs, and instead of Amazon data, we used Technorati cosmos data, or Feedster data, or Findory, or Bloglines, or some combination of all of that plus more? “Folks who read this blog also read that one,” for example. Or “Blogs who link to this blog also link to that one.” If we put a sophisticated interface with some dials and levers, it could really be a neat tool for exploring relationships in the blogosphere. I could imagine some cool slices that might parse this wildly growing ecosystem in interesting ways. (I’ve always been fascinated by the visualization of data, I was the force behind the Standard’s metrics section, if any of you recall that.)
So I think I’m going to try to do it. But the honest truth is, I have no idea how to. I’ve contact the folks behind the various sites listed above, and they all stand ready to help. I just need a technical lead, and ideally, to talk with the MusicPlasma guys, to see if we might share their skin, so to speak. Anyone know them?
What do you all think? Would this tool be a valuable addition to the conversation?