The Echo Effect in the Blogosphere – I wish there were a Universal Story ID Number (USID) in the blogosphere. Then I wish my RSS Feed Reader could organize my content by the USID so that I could turn off a story and all comments related to that story. [< a href="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/MikeWalsh/" class="extlink">Mike Walsh’s Social Software Stuff]
He brings up an interesting point of how with an increasing amount of content we separate the wheat from the chaff. How do we do that?
A couple of comments on the entry have mentioned Waypath a service which aggregates related posts in the blogosphere. I don’t know if it goes far enough though. While it seems good at listing a series of related topics, it doesn’t really address the question of how do I filter out what I don’t want to see? It seems what is really necessary is some of the tools that people have used in USENET: threads and filtering.
Trackback, Pingback, and other techniques for creating structured links between posts. Why not take this to the next step? Make several categories of trackbacks, to indicate whether the post is a comment, counterpoint, similar point, or simply citing a reference. Then a Google like service which can index the posts and present them in a hierarchal arrangement. Thus we could see threads of topics that are being discussed, responded to and debated.
Once we had established a semantic structure between posts, then what Mike is talking about would be possible. We could flag threads of conversation, filter out conversations, and use other tools to help us handle the information overload. With blogs providing a source of structured content and infrastructure, and trackbacks providing the semantic metadata to relate posts, we could finally begin the development of User Agents like what Tim Berners-Lee has been advocating in his Semantic Web musings.
Edit – Fixed reference to semantic web author Tim Berners-Lee — had listed Tim Bray, wrong Tim.