Webometric Thoughts

December 31, 2007

2007 Launches

Filed under: web launches — admin @ 5:49 pm

TechCrunch has listed some of the major launches of the last year. It serves as a reminder of how quickly the web changes; at the end of the year I am already bored of many of the projects that were originally greeted with much fanfare. How many will still be going strong at the end of 2008?

December 29, 2007

Web Castaways

Finally, almost 24hrs after I started, I have caught up with my Bloglines. With the exception of the demise of Netscape Navigator, the web seems a little thin on interesting news. What has been popular over the last few weeks, however, are lists of predictions or desires for 2008, everyone is up to it, even webometricians.

My own personal list comprises of those I would like to see on the Google Jet if it happened to crash into the sea in 2008, and all on board had to live on a very desolate desert island for the rest of their lives:
1) Larry Page and Sergey Brin
2) Mark Zuckerberg
3) Kevin Rose
4) Steve Jobs
5) Jimmy Wales

It’s a harsh list as I don’t know any of them personally, but they all seem to be getting a bit big for their boots and have started to believe their own press.

nb. apologies to the innocent Google Jet pilot.

December 28, 2007

Bloglines after a Christmas break

Filed under: BBC,Bloglines,T-mobile,YouTube — admin @ 4:17 pm

If I don’t look at my Bloglines account every few hours the number of items soon starts getting out of hand. If I don’t look at it for a couple of days I find myself putting off the inevitable confrontation. Returning from Christmas in Norway, after not looking at Bloglines for a week, I find myself dreading the task in hand. Would I really miss out on some important item of note if I ditched the 1,358 items I am told I haven’t looked at? Probably not, but there is always the fear/hope that there will be something really interesting buried amongst the rubbish.

The only web story I came across whilst I was away was the Royal Channel on YouTube (every news channel seemed to discuss it), although I also noticed advertising on the BBC web site for the first time outside the UK (whilst checking the football scores). Both good examples of traditional institutions adapting to the modern world.

Unfortunately not everyone is as up-to-date as the Queen and the BBC, T-mobile’s current data plan could quite easily see many people dragged off to the poorhouse when travelling abroad: £7.50 per Mb of web browsing! Admittedly you have to be pretty foolish to not pay close attention to these things before travelling, but with 3G connections the Mb can quickly add up. My solution was to simply not use the web on my phone whilst away, but really it is time that the phone companies’ caught up, we aren’t looking at WAP anymore!

December 21, 2007

Nothing on the web

Filed under: web — admin @ 1:48 pm

Is it just me, or is their nothing interesting on the web at the moment? Despite looking at hundreds of feeds from all over the world, there is very little that is catching my eye. I guess everyone is just too busy with their christmas shopping to do anything interesting on the web…except, for some inexplicable reason, turn themselves into elves.

If I don’t come across something of interest soon I shall just have to conclude that I really have come to the end of the web. Although, with such a poor ending and little in the way of plot I doubt it will be turned into a film.

December 19, 2007

Web Celebs

Filed under: web celebrities — admin @ 6:41 pm

If bloggers aren’t talking about the great democratic nature of the blogosphere, they are discussing the latest list of the top blogs…or in this case Forbes’s top 25 web celebs. A curious collection of egos, but I doubt many people will be bothered by not making the list.

December 18, 2007

Google retaliates: reported collateral damage

Filed under: Google,webometrics — admin @ 7:29 am

According to Mashable some Google users are reporting receiving a large number of messages claiming their searches are looking like automated requests. If Google continues with a tightened security system there will be repercusions for those webometrician’s who use scrapers rather than the Google API, but more importantly, Google may use it as an opportunity to encourage/force users to log-on: Surely if you log-on, there is less chance of receiving ‘automated request’ accusations.

10 years of blogging

Filed under: blogosphere — admin @ 7:11 am

According to the BBC, yesterday marked the coining of the term ‘weblog’. Although there are lots of claims by the ‘citizen journalist’ lobby about their collective power and importance, its difficult to truly assess how much of a positive effect blogs have had on the news and media landscape over the last ten years. Whilst there are well documented cases of the blogosphere’s success, these are too often overly-trumpeted rather than any real discussion on the potential short-comings of the blogosphere.

December 15, 2007

Mobile Literacy

Filed under: computer illiteracy,mobile illiteracy,s60,smartphones — admin @ 11:04 am

All About Symbian notes a number of YouTube tutorials for beginners with the Nokia’s S60 platform.. Whilst these are without a doubt useful to the Nokia novice, a lot more needs to be done. Smartphones can be a useful addition to both people’s professional and personal lives, but only if they know how to use them.

Unfortunately, every time a new generation of mobile phones emerges they seem to be quickly followed by user surveys telling us that few people use more than 10 or 20 percent of the facilities available. These surveys are taken as an indicator of a lack of need rather than a lack of knowledge. Whilst all phones have some superfluous facilities, the current generation of phones really are offering useful applications if people know how to use them.

The obvious problem with mobile literacy is the numerous models available, and the individual restrictions placed by the different mobile operators. Nonetheless I find it hard to believe that on the web, where we hear so much about the potential of the long tail, that there aren’t decent portals offering all the skills and advice that people of every level would require for a specific model. Whilst there are decent blogs available, these often appeal to the users who are already making good use of their phones (although the blogs are extremely valuable nonetheless).

Maybe if we could start increasing level of mobile literacy, as well as more general computer literacy, organisations wouldn’t under value computer skills so much. If we continue to think of mobile literacy as the ability to make a call and send a text, and computer literacy the ability to send an email and surf the web and maybe use Microsoft office, then businesses and users will continue to fail to use the products to their full potential. Surely mobile illiteracy is costing the economy billions of pounds every year?

December 14, 2007

‘Citizen Journalism’ can be dangerous, irresponsible and just downright rude

Filed under: Mashable,blogosphere,citizen journalism — admin @ 8:45 am

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I last questioned the slipping standards of Mashable, and I find I am doing it once again. Ironically regarding an article defending the so-called citizen journalists. Professional journalists have been calling into question the quality of so-called citizen journalism, the article responds by insulting the traditionalist’s looks and stating she has ‘senile dementia’.

I am constantly amazed by the arrogance of the blogosphere, willing to point out the speck in their enemy’s eye whilst ignoring the plank in their own. Little of what appears in the blogosphere equates to our traditional idea of what journalists do, instead most stories rely on information collected by the mainstream media (Tech sites are often a notable exception). Also editorial standards are extremely low, as exhibited in posts that merely insult individuals on unrelated factors such as looks. Rather than bitching the bloggers should take some of the criticism on board and work out how they can improve.

There are advantages of mainstream media, and advantages of the blogosphere, but we are mistaken if we believe they are in the same game.

Google takes on Wikipedia…or should that be Helium.com?

Filed under: Google,Helium,Knol,Wikipedia — admin @ 8:22 am

Google have annouced that they will be releasing (at some point in the future) Knol, a tool that will enable users to write articles on topics they are hopefully knowledgable about and want to publish:

Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it.

The incentives to participate are the inclusion of your name, rather than the virtual anonymity of wikipedia, and you will be able to place ads on your articles if you wish to make some money.

It not surprising that Knol is already getting a lot of coverage in the Blogosphere, due to it being one of Google’s babies, but it is by no means original. Whilst it looks as though Knol will have a better facilities and provides the users with more rights to their content, in essense it is pretty much the same as Helium.com. Whilst Helium has some good articles, for the most part they are very poor, and I think the same will be true of Knol. Whether Knol is a success will depend on the ranking system and whether enough people get involved.

Personally I don’t think Wikipedia has anything to worry about yet, although Helium will have to up its game.

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