When I first wrote about the Waxy Links Via Metaaggregator (AKA waxyvia) it hard to describe what I was trying to accomplish. Last week I argued the value of weblogs with a friend and some of my thoughts apply to waxyvia. I’m going to try to explain myself again with a new post instead of adding lots of paragraphs of <ins> text to my original post.
The weblog world, some sort of sphere I’m told, is what you make of it. Weblogs link to weblogs but that doesn’t mean the links are evenly distributed, just ask Clay Shirky. Those links form networks which information travels along. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that weblogs form one big network, when in fact it’s lots of little ones.
If I see a link about the INDUCE Act on Slashdot, BoingBoing and MetaFilter I assume that pretty much anyone who reads weblogs caught it already. Those three sites have so much traffic that most sites linked from them frequently die. I’m further convinced that this is well known because I see references and reflections on the link in other weblogs. I’m wrong.
Conservative political bloggers might replace Slashdot, BoingBoing and MetaFilter with Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan and BoiFromTroy. For web designers it might be K10k, Zeldman and mezzoblue. For a LiveJournaler, well, it would be the popular kid in school, except I doubt that the popular kids use LiveJournal even now that computers are socially acceptable.
A link from Slashdot is a matter of pride for a lot of geek bloggers (hence the self-link above) but a recipe blogger might not have heard of the site and wouldn’t care (of course there are exceptions). The networks that weblogs form are multifaceted, and can look extremely different depending on where they are viewed from. A-list bloggers are only A-list in their corner of the network.
Waxyvia is actively tracking what Andy Baio is reading, it is reverse engineering his view of the, uh, network of weblogs… oh what the hell, the blogosphere. Everything he posts indicates his unique view of the blogosphere, sort of a weblog version of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
There are other tools that deal with the faceted nature of the blogosphere. Blogrolling has been around forever to allow bloggers to advertise their influencers. Technorati has a link cosmos tool that shows who a blogger influences instead of who they are influenced by. Share Your OPML lets you put your RSS subscriptions on display for the world. Bloglines has a public feature that goes further and shows your RSS aggregator, your view of the blogosphere right now.
I want to see how bloggers are influenced and get an idea of how someone else views the blogosphere. I don’t think I’ve fully justified waxyvia, although I’ve now spent more time writing about it than I did writing it so I’m going to stop.