I’ve been doing a lot of posting on the MyBlogLog blog lately because the boys have been busy shipping a number of enhancements to the service that have really changed the nature of the product. What started out as a lightweight stats package and later a social network that connected people to sites and bloggers that shared their interests is now beginning to look like a site where you can not only go to learn more about someone but also a place where you can manage your profile and interests and discover new content around those interests.
Todd called me out for going quiet on this blog with my personal take on some of the work we’re doing so this post will be a whirlwind summary of what’s new in MyBlogLog land over the past few weeks and why I think they are significant.
New with Me – MBL’s version of lifestreaming. Our approach is different because we designed around driving the conversation back to the source. We do not capture comments and force people to mybloglog.com to view any comments about updates streaming across our servers. Our focus is on (a) letting you know what other services your contacts on MyBlogLog have so you can connect with them there and, (b) harvesting meta-data on lifestream events which we use to slice the content in interesting ways. We also do not collect any private data so no anti-pattern asking for your password is required.
New with My Neighborhood – an additional tab on the New with Me view shows you the collective lifestream of your contacts on MyBlogLog. Because we collect only public data, anyone can look as someone else’s Neighborhood feed. Interested in what a prominent VC is following? Check out Fred Wilson’s Neighborhood feed. Use people you trust as a proxy and filter for your news.
New with Me widgets – we’re a widget platform so it makes sense that we would put New with Me into a widget. The one twist is that one version of our widget is designed to take up the entire body of a page. As you add content to places like delicious, flickr, and twitter, the New with Me widget automatically updates your normally static About Me page with your latest activity. While people are talking about the nirvana of data portability where decentralized services keep your chosen hub up-to-date, we’re doing it.
Topics – with all the great content flowing across our New with Me servers, it was time to organize it in a way that is useful outside of the context of the MyBlogLog social network. Because we harvest the tags and other meta-data associated with the New with Me updates, we organize these updates into dynamic topic pages that feature the latest news on any tag. If Wikipedia is a relatively stable set of authoritative links around a certain topic, we aim to be the dynamic equivalent – featuring the latest updates from our members around those topics.
Check out the topic page for College Basketball as well as the Related Topics tag cloud in the upper-right to get a sense of how this works.
New in My World – just as New in My Neighborhood is a mixed feed of updates from your MyBlogLog contacts, New in My World is a mixed feed of updates from topic pages that you follow. There is a direct correlation between tags that you’ve applied to your profile and the tags on the updates you see in this area so we’ve bolded those tags for you so you can understand why you are seeing them. As you follow new topics, those tags are automatically added to your profile. In the past, tags were a way to signal to the world your interests. Through careful tuning of your New in My World feed, the accuracy and relevance of this collection of tags will become even more accurate.
Here’s a link to my New with My World page which I visit on a regular basis. It’s a collaborative filter using the MyBlogLog community which is selecting and tagging the content and serving it up for me, cross-referenced against my stated interest.
We’ll continue to noodle on this concept further and have a number of ideas about how this data can be used. The vision is that what you share with MyBlogLog will not only improve the Topics pages for people browsing around, but also that the act of sharing will improve your interest profile and drive further customizations both on MyBlogLog and partner sites that access your interest profile via the MyBlogLog API. Just as the MyBlogLog Recent Reader widget in the sidebar of this blog operates passively, leaving your avatar behind as a recent visitor of sites such as these, the New with Me feature also operates passively, in the background, as you add activity to your various social services across the web updating not only your activity profile but also your collective interests.