Social Media Buzz Tracking – Web Buzz Explorer

From humble beginnings to hyperlinked hubs – the blogger’s path is long and winding. On the second birthday of DISS I thought it fitting to share some words of encouragement with today’s new blog babies beginning the ever evolving journey into the realms of cyber-punk-publishing. May all your blogs burn brightly in the blogosphere constellation of Sagittarius.
 
Alternatively you can jump straight to the section below headed Web Buzz Explorer for a window on the buzzscape surrounding social media.
 
Blog Births (and deaths)
Everyday thousands of blogs and spaces are created, many quickly find their way into the blog graveyard but others grow into vibrant hubs of activity. Whether your blog withers and dies or blossoms and flies is ultimately up to you. With blogging, what you put into it is directly related to what you get out of it – more or less? – it’s a shared journey that gradually tells your story.
 
 
Fear of Blogging
When you’re new to blogging the linear time structure of blogs and the pressure to post frequently can be intimidating. Although it helps to be disciplined, setting artificial performance targets will make you a slave to your blog. It’s better to aim for quality rather than quantity in your posts and let the process of growth come naturally. Unless you’re already used to writing, gaining the confidence to express your thoughts and write clearly takes time. There are many stumbling blocks along the way from bloggers-block to information overload-paralysis, so it’s good to know even the most experienced bloggers battle with feelings of guilt over lack of productivity. Don’t despair, you’ll get there.
 
However if you’re unsure of the commitment involved you can always gather your ideas by creating a Hubpage or Squidoo lens first. These services let you create webpages in a non-linear format where you can add details bit by bit to build up a content rich webpage. They’re a good way of focusing your ideas and some people prefer to create lots and lots of these pages rather than individual blog posts. I tend to use whatever tool or service I think works best to get the job done.
 
Wings of Desire
When starting a blog the first few steps and weeks can be tricky as you begin to find your blogging feet. Once up and running, your feet leave the ground and you begin to fly. If your desires and passions are strong enough you’ll find your wings.
 
DISS came into existence early December 2004 and the first post to the "soundblog" was on 6 December. Since that first step into the blogosphere I have made hundreds more posts with thousands of links and received hundreds of thousands of page views in return. One step is the first of many.
 
Celebrity gossip blog PerezHilton.com claims to have up to 3 million unique visitors a day! (note to self : Britney Spears🙂
 
Evolutionary Leap
Blogging is the most important driving force in social media and there are hundreds of thousands of blog posts daily. These posts contain the ideas, views and opinions of their authors and increasingly, other media such as audio and video. Finding and contributing to these "conversations" is part of the fun and there are now lots of tools to help bloggers with the business of digging for interesting stuff and tracking the buzz on social networks. Knowing how and where to find these resources is one of the biggest evolutionary leaps a new blogger can take. Now jump!
 
Web Buzz Explorer 
Web Buzz Explorer is a Hubpage with a list of tools and services for tracking social media. The hub sources allow you to scour online news, track personal projects, watch trends, discover new media and build your own social applications. Whether it’s the best blog stories, music mashups or viral videos, these sites will help you find the most recent and most popular emergent data on social networks.
 
The hub is an extension of the Web Zeitgeist list on DISS that people have found useful for tracking news and web developments. Having a dedicated Hubpage means the new list can support more resources that are better annotated and grouped into categories for easier browsing. The list is available under a Creative Commons license for anyone to share and build upon so if you want to grab all or part of it go ahead. People can also share similar buzz sites and tools in the comments area of the hub.
 
There are currently almost 200 resources being sorting into topic areas and due to their nature there is obviously considerable overlap. The emphasis is on buzztracking tools and media aggregators that help you find cool and interesting stuff, quicker. The contents has been developing along these lines:
  1. Hub Definitions
  2. Apple Mac
  3. Blogs & Blogging Tools
  4. Bookmarks & Popular Media
  5. Crowds & Memetracking
  6. Digg Buzz Recent
  7. Digg Views
  8. Feed Singlegators Various
  9. Gaming
  10. Ideas & Intelligence
  11. Librarian
  12. Music
  13. News Aggregation
  14. Open Media
  15. Podcasting
  16. RSS & OPML 
  17. Search Trends & Markets
  18. Software
  19. Video
  20. Web 2.0
  21. Web Traffic
  22. Zeitgeist Toolbox
The hub is a good place to start a surfing session when you need a bit of inspiration or want to dig deeper for data. It’s also useful for researching online Internet phenomena and social media applications generally. If you’re interested in building your own Hubpages, don’t be put off by the minimal look, there’s a design upgrade in the pipeworks which aims to make the pages look more attractive.
 
Most bloggers have their regular watering holes but sometimes it helps to break out of the usual patterns and travel elsewhere. The resources listed in the hub provide a quick way to switch crowds and get to what stories are most interesting to the masses.*
    
Creating Your Own Buzz Portal with FeedRaider
Once you’ve discovered lots of blogs and new sources of information, you need to organize these into manageable ways of reading them. You can use popular online feed readers like Bloglines or Google Reader and you can also use web-based applications to build your own news aggregators as mentioned in the "Zeitgeist Toolbox" at the Buzz Hub.
 
FeedRaider is a relatively new web application that allows you to create and edit your own RSS feed portal similar to Popurls. These single page aggregators are also known as "singlegators".
 
FeedRaider lets you organize and display your choice of news, audio and video feeds in flexible ways. Multiple pages can be created that display RSS feeds in a choice of Deck or River views. It’s a fast and powerful way to aggregate the feeds you’re most interested in. You simply paste the feeds or import OPML into your "singlegators" and arrange the overall display of each page as desired.
 
There are display control options for every feed you add including: text only, text plus audio/video buttons, thumbnails only, thumbnails plus title, video/audio player.
 
Any page of aggregated feeds can be linked to externally so you can build portals to fit your other online projects.
 
Here’s one I’m building now so you can see what it looks like unfinished! Dave’s FeedRaider – CC Music. Choose from the menu along the top to view the various feed topics, I’ve added more feeds to some topics than others but once I have everything in place I’ll post a link at the top of DISS homepage.
 
Your singlegators can be exported as OPML or embedded in a webpage using JavaScript. You can also override the default CSS to style FeedRaider with your own graphics, colors and layout. Cool.
 
FeedRaider was created by Jussi Vaihia, Blog.
 

Check Out
Well that’s about it for the anniversary post, here’s some new stuff to check out along the lines of media discovery and aggregation. 

Friends of ccMixter – Now bloggers focusing on Creative Commons music can get their news feed/fix on ccMixter thanks to Victor. A great idea and another reason to visit the premier CC music community on the planet.

REPROMAN – A new pet project with a reprogrammable philosophy and a remix, reuse, recycle mantra (preloaded Grazr browsing). 

What’s New at the Internet Archive – The Collection Team’s Blog – another relatively new blog that highlights new collections and interesting items from the Movies, Audio and Education collections.
 
* Finally on the subject of crowdsourcing and social media aggregation, as Seth Godin says in his Unforgivable Manifesto: "Mass taste is rarely good taste".
 
 
Analysis and Stats
 
 
Blog Beginnings
 
Previously on DISS
 
Tag Exploration

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