Webometric Thoughts

September 10, 2007

Here come the Facebook metrics…

Filed under: SEO,facebook,metrics — admin @ 6:52 pm

Despite search engine optimisation being a topic that generally makes my flesh crawl, Search Engine Guide is one of those sites that I for some reason entered into my RSS aggregator and whilst there is rarely an article I bother to read fully, it has just enough going for it to stop me deleting it. Sometimes, however, there are articles that are so irritating that they make you reassess whether now is the time to finally delete the feed.

At the moment everyone is talking about Facebook, and it is not surprising that the SEOs are on the case with tips about how it can be used to promote an organisation and share news. I’m not sure which part of the article annoys me most, the lack of discussion about whether a Facebook group is necessarily appropriate for a particular organisation’s web presence, the pretty obvious tips, or the awful suggested metrics. It would probably have to be the metrics which focus primarily on quantity rather than quality.

Its time that I either take the RSS feed out of my aggregator, or accept that those involved in web analytics are just inhabiting a different world to those in the academic world of webometrics.

Facebook Freedom

Filed under: facebook — admin @ 8:40 am

Allfacebook.com has pointed out a small religious controversy going on over at Facebook, with people angrily protesting at one particular group called F*** Islam. Whilst the creator goes on to say f*** Christianity and f*** Judaism as well, the title has unsurprisingly caused a bit of a backlash amongst the muslim facebook users. Whilst this is by no means the first controversial facebook group, this is likely to be the one where we find out what Facebook is made of. If Facebook want to become the future of the web, then it must allow controversy and differences of opinion however objectionable; if they want to play it safe and bow to the vocal (not necessarily the majority) opinion, then they offer the opportunity for an alternative social platform to emerge that will offer the competitive advantage of freedom of speech.

This has the potential to be the most exciting Facebook story since they opened up the Facebook platform!

September 8, 2007

A bill of rights for users of the social web

Filed under: bill of rights,social web — admin @ 9:44 am

I have just been pointed in the direction of a proposed bill of rights for users of the social web via Lasica’s Social Media blog.

Whilst in principle I would love to see many of the proposed suggestions in the bill of rights acted upon by the ‘social web’, it is interesting to note how different the reactions are to when it was suggested that there should be a blogger’s code of conduct. Too often on the web I feel that there tends to be a lot of talk about the individual’s rights, and not enough about their responsibilies. Afterall, we all seem to know that we can be trusted, its just everyone else who can’t.

It will be difficult to get any organisation to apply such rights retrospectively without them being forced to, most probably through a competitor seeing the opportunity to gain competitative advantage. But will such advantage come too late? Whilst teenagers may be happy to create new profiles at the drop of the hat, the older generation (who are possibly more likely to place store in a bill of rights) are more reluctant to lose a network that they have spent time and effort establishing.

September 7, 2007

A webometrician’s woes: Ignorance is bliss

Filed under: metrics,technorati — admin @ 5:00 pm

According to Technorati my ‘Webometric Thoughts’ blog has hurtled up the blog rankings, in fact if it was on an old episode of Top of the Pops it would be this week’s fastest climber. Climbing rapidly from position 7,966,799 to position 2,572,229, it can surely only be a matter of moments before the whole of the web is talking about my profound insights into life, the universe and everything!…unfortunately this is not the case, web statistics are rarely that simple, or rather in Technorati’s case are even more simple.

Technorati’s authority is based on the number of blogs linking to a site in the last 180 days…and the one link that I currently have will soon disappear as is was automatically created due to my support of Blog Action Day, so at the moment of my greatest success I must mentally prepare for the day I become the highest faller in the charts…unless of course I get the currently required authority of 31,619 blogs to beat Engadget and become top of the blogs!

Catching up with Google Search

Filed under: API,Google — admin @ 7:45 am

My inability to have successfully found a decent mobile RSS feed reader means that everytime I have even a couple of days off I return to a bloglines account that has thousands of posts waiting to be read…nonetheless, three days later, I am finally on top of them all again.

The good news that I have returned to is that Google Search are opening up more of their data for university researchers, this following quickly on the heels of Microsoft’s new Webmaster Portal. Although the two programs are aimed at different communities, they are both likely to open up a wealth of information to those interested in webometric research.

Whilst access to the search engine data is welcomed, I’m guessing that the more sensitive additional information about how search engines are crawling and indexing web pages will continue to be a secret, and such information is perceived as necessary in the scientific community if much of the research is to be taken seriously.

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