Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

16,000 Blogs

It's 1:30 in the morning, I can't sleep because of a backache the pain medication isn't touching, and I'm about as grumpy as a bear awakened two months early from hibernation. There are four other adults in my house right now, so I can't do anything that might wake any of them up - THEY have jobs, they have things to do, and they need their sleep. So I'm spending MY time taking a look at other people's writing. That's triggered this thought.

I spent a few minutes over at Truth Laid Bear, reading about the new ecosystem. What an interesting concept! One person has decided, on his own, to do something that will benefit us all - especially anyone who has any form of advertising on their website, or that wants to earn enough to support their online costs. NZ Bear rates almost 16,000 websites, based on average daily visits, and assigns them to approximately 16 divisions - from Insignificant Microbes to Higher Beings - above Mortal Humans. Among all the other interesting things this will do is encourage better writing, better linking, and more thoughtful content - if for no other reason, to raise one's numbers. After all, who wants to be an Insignificant Microbe or a Lowly Insect forever.

It also provides satisfaction for those whose numbers DO rise - they can watch themselves move up the blogosphere's evolutionary ladder. They can see the things that make their blog more attractive, and also what they do that cause their numbers to dip. A particular blogger's status will be judged by many factors - content, promotion, even how their blog is laid out, and how long it takes to load.

Isn't that basically how the New York Times bestseller list is supposed to work? Isn't that how quality SHOULD be evaluated? Won't that be a good thing for everyone?

There is one problem with all this, however - content overload. There are, even now, more articles being published every day than any human being can read. Many blogs have little original content - others contain little or nothing else. Each day increases the potential that some fairly substantial information is made available, but simply overlooked in the sheer volume of publication. Too many people are writing too many words on too many subjects for it all to be read. Too many cross-links go to the same handful of articles, while equal content is totally ignored.

The next goal then, is for a program to do for content what NZ Bear has done for weblogs. The Web needs a spider that specifically goes through blogs and records what's been written, and where it's located. The program should generate a list of every article published in the blogosphere. That list should contain the article's name, the name of the author, the location (weblog) where it can be found, the time of publication, and the size in characters. List articles by time, break ties by alphabetical listing of article names, and if that's not enough, by author, then by blog name. Then anyone who's interested could peruse the writings from the last 24-36 hours, select what appears interesting, and further add to their blogreading experience.

Now, who's up to that challenge?

Don't look at me, I just HAVE ideas - I don't have the tools to actually IMPLEMENT them!


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