Fred talked this morning about the kind of blogroll he'd like to see...
"The only blogs I read every day are my wife, daughter, and brother
Everything else is based on links I see on the web
I wish there was a last.fm for blogs"
That's cool, but he's really addressing a much more fundamental shift in the way we're consuming things on the web. A blogroll is just the data exhaust of our reading habits--or should be anyway. More and more, through Twitter, Facebook, Google reader recommendations, del.icio.us, etc. we're being driven to things on the web from other people.
At the same time, the web has a much clearer picture of who are trusted network is--Facebook friends, the people we follow on Twitter, people we link out to, etc.
That leads me to believe that there's a much more efficient and relevant way to consume content than my feedreader, which I filled over time, needs manual curation, and literally contains everything the blogs I read care to post, regardless of quality.
The fix for this should be simple, and here's what the app would do:
- Let me login to Twitter and Facebook. Instead of filling my reader with feeds, I want to fill it with people. Whatever links they tweet, share, etc. become the flow of urls to me. Instead of the firehose of everything from your blog, or *gasp* everything from everywhere like Friendfeed, I want to see the things you want to spend the social capital to share. When you share something, you're investing with your social capital and if you continuously share irrelevant or low quality stuff, you'll lose it and people will stop following you. The filter of knowing that you'll be taking attention from your network improves quality by an order of magnitude.
- Analyze it. Screen for uncommonly appearing words, del.icio.us tags, blog post tags, etc. and pay attention to what topics are trending not only for me, but within my network of what my friends are reading.
- Filter it. I've been pretty impressed with the PostRank widget on my blog and its ability to callout the best posts I've written lately. It's pretty obvious what they're doing--looking at tags, Diggs, comments, etc... but that's the important metadata we should use to figure out if something's worth looking at.
- Mobilize it. Give me either various clients so I can subscribe anywhere (and sync it up) or just a single feed so I can subscribe from anything I'm already using.
- Expose it. Like Fred asked for, I want widgets showing most popular links from my network, best sources, and even aggregated data on most interesting content overall--a TechMeme for every tag.
- Monetize it. Give me the choice for a free version with sponsored links (links that people paid to get into my feed) or a subscription version w/o sponsored links.
This is the way I want to consume content.