Shared Knowledge

As an avid RSS user, despite RSS usage still being reported as around 11% of “online adults,” I follow about 80 blogs according to Google Reader statistics. One of the main features that I enjoy with Reader is the ability to share posts with friends who are using Reader and also view their shared items, like another blog that you follow. Even with only a few friends using this feature, it has allowed me to view a much wider range of posts, as well as get a deeper look into my what my friends are reading, and to get a condensed version of what they read; generally only the good stuff. Also, with the ability to add notes to posts when you share them, you add a personal touch and can bring context to an individual post that might have trouble standing on its own.

So my main goal with all of this would be to harness the power of my friends to improve my knowledge base. I’ve been introduced to some good blogs and gotten my friends to start reading some new stuff that I feel would help them. The problem comes when blogs start to overlap and you start sharing the same posts that someone has already read. Fine-grain control would limit this, through sharing only with a specific friend or a group of friends, but placing those additional constraints on sharing might harm it more than help it, making a more difficult barrier of entry.

One solution would be to bring structure to the system, through grouping blogs into interests or viewing blog compatability with another friend; how many blogs that you and this person follow overlap. Venn-diagrams of tags or blogs seem like a good representation of the overlap. The idea in my mind is something like a stock trading group or book club. As an individual, you can persue and study an specific interest, but when you share your condensed knowledge with the group, everyone benefits. I read X, Y, Z blog, you read A, B, C blog, and we share your results, in effect getting the best of both blogs.  Bringing this kind of an organizational system to Google Reader would be awesome, maybe it already exists, but I will start searching. Blogs are informational sources are immensly powerful and bringing your friends together improves that power.

This entry was posted in Life. Bookmark the permalink.