The 2.D’oh! Roundup
A survey of recent insights, insults and intransigence from the world of social media:
Coolest tool of the week
A wordcloud, I should point out, is very different from a tag cloud. This tool just picks up words within a site’s text and visualizes the frequency of their use. Tag clouds [see mine in column at right] show how often you write on certain topics.
From this wordcloud I learn that I yammer frequently about the “news” and use “occasionally” a lot, that I’m “pleased” more than I thought, and that I refer to “bad” “lie[s]” pretty often.
It also exposes some of my annoying tics: the rarely used [by others] “electroland,” “wayleft” to describe people far on the progressive side of things politically, the shamefully retro-poseur “jones” and my tendency to refer to people as “folks.”
You can change all sorts of settings, including the number of words [200, above] and typeface [“sexsmith,” just. . .because.]
Rock star blog comments
This week I celebrate a milestone in my blogging history. No, not my blog’s birthday again. This week I got my first rock star comment on my blog.
By this I do not mean some bigshot in the world of 2.0 like Mark Zuckerberg, or some brilliant loudmouth like Mark Cuban, or a sage web vet like Guy Kawasaki.
I refer to a rock star without quotation marks. As in a famous rock musician.
I refer specifically to this comment on my About page by Paul Westerberg, front man of the post-punk indie band The Replacements and now a solo musician in Minneapolis. And, apparently, a reader of blogs. Including this one. Go figure.
In his comment, he catches a typo.
And invites me to download 49 new minutes of music for a mere 49 cents.
Here I return the favor by sharing the URL, which pending cooperation of the tech gods should be working by Monday.
Let’s all show Paul some support with .49 donations as a way to thank him for participating in the blogosphere with a proofreadr’s eye!
[Not] Alltop News
Every trend contains the seeds of its own countertrend.
And so I call your attention to Alltop, a site consisting of newslinks not upchucked by some algorithm, but [it is said] via user-assisted hand-picking based at least significantly on the founders’ tastes.
The founders [one of whom is the legendary Internet “rock star” Guy Kawasaki] refer to the site as a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet and “aggregation without aggravation.” Say they in a FAQ:
Q. How do you decide which sites and blogs are in a topic?
A. We use a patent-pending, semantic computational algorithm derived from the post-doctoral work of Guy at Stanford. Just kidding. We rely on several sources: results of Google searches, review of the sites’ and blogs’ content, researchers, and our “gut” plus the recommendations of the Twitter community, owners of the sites and blogs, and people who care enough to write to us. Let us declare something: The Twitter community has been the single biggest factor in the quality of Alltop. Without this group of mavens and connectors, Alltop would not be what it is today.
Well, great idea, except that the product is pretty spotty. I found the links maddeningly redundant, often second-rate and a bit. . .aggravating.
Arbitrarily picking an utterly non-tech topic, I checked out the golf page and found at least half a dozen links each to overexposed kid golfer Michelle Wei’s recent tournament disqualification, and at least as many for overexposed superannuated Australian Greg Norman’s improbable lead going into the final round of the British Open.
Under “Twitterati,” presumably the cool Twitter feeds you ought to know about? Nearly 100 to choose from, many of them way-inside the world of Twits.
My assessment: Alltop is essentially a lot of people’s different RSS feeds pulled together in a tough-to-wade-through mess. Aggregation with aggravation.
Remind me: The value is. . .?