Webometric Thoughts

February 27, 2009

February 22, 2009

Palin v. Biden: Who is the US vice president?

Filed under: Biden,Insights for Search,Palin — admin @ 6:51 pm

Over three months since the US presidential elections and it is surprising to see that Sarah Palin is still firmly in the public eye. Whilst Joe Biden is only a heartbeat away from being the most powerful man on earth, it is actually Sarah Palin that has people more interested:

Surely if Palin continues at this level of public interest, there is no doubt she will be going for the Republican nomination next time around. You would almost want her to win, just to see what she would do.

February 21, 2009

It’s Paddington Bear not Paddington Bare!

Filed under: Feedjit,Google Analytics,Insights for Search — admin @ 3:17 pm

Looking at your Google analytics or Feedjit can occassionally provide insights into some very strange minds. Earlier today Google directed someone to my site looking for paddington bear porn:

Once I had gotten over the shock, and taken Paddington to see a local counsellor, I had one question that I knew Google Insights for Search could answer. Who is the fictional bear of choice in the world of porn?

Whilst neither paddington bear porn or rupert the bear porn have enough search volume to produce Google Insights for Search graphs, both winnie the pooh porn and care bear porn do (at this point my knowledge of fictional bears ran out).

Whilst Winnie the Pooh is, without a doubt, the bear of choice in the world of porn, it is pleasing to note that it is seemingly an industry on the decline.

February 20, 2009

A Philosophy of Linking: Does The Pirate Bay need a webometrician?

Filed under: Bill Thompson,Pirate Bay,Theory of Linking,webometrics — admin @ 9:34 am

As members of The Pirate Bay stand trial Bill Thompson points out the need for a philosophy of linking:

The Pirate Bay case hinges on what counts as infringement, and whether simply linking to a site is enough to make someone liable, treating a hypertext link to a third-party URL as an endorsement, as something that makes a connection between two web pages or information sources that has real legal significance and weight.

Yet it is nothing of the sort. Ever since Tim Berners-Lee defined the Hypertext Markup Language and its Uniform Resource Locators one fundamental thing has applied – a link is just a link….

Perhaps we need a ‘philosophy of linkage’ to explore what the use of a link can signify, before the lawyers decide it for us and limit the creative potential of the web through their lack of imagination and understanding.

The theory of linking often comes up as a topic of conversation in webometrics, in much the same way as a theory of citation is discussed in bibliometrics. Unfortunately it often takes a back seat to those webometric areas with more obvious real-world applications, e.g., the creation of web indicators.

Only a couple of months ago a colleague and I started working on a ‘Theory of Linking’, but other work got in the way and the paper remains unfinished. Who knows, maybe if we had written the paper we could have been the first webometricians to be expert witnesses!

February 19, 2009

Berlin QR Code: Help required

Filed under: Berlin,Nokia 5800,QR Code — admin @ 7:51 pm

Whilst on a short break to Berlin my girlfriend spotted a QR code:

Unfortunately her 5800 doesn’t come with a QR code reader, and she hadn’t got around to downloading one. Try as I might, I have been unable to scan the above photo; presumably too much detail in the QR code.

So, anyone know what this particular QR Code says??

[update 20/02/09]
Solved by @staecker in Zurich (http://twitpic.com/1l4dy):
@RobertAyala here we go:  on TwitPic

February 15, 2009

Twitter, Politics, and Looking for Meaningful Metrics

Filed under: Twitter,metrics,politics,twitometrics,webometrics — admin @ 11:57 am

As Twitter seems to be the latest shiny web site that has everyone interested, and with a general election on its way (well, June 2010 at the latest), I decided to see how the political parties have taken to Twitter.

The most simple comparison is between the raw numbers of the parties:
Obviously these numbers don’t look good for the Labour Party, not listening and not many followers. They don’t even have a single account, but rather two different streams with the same information.

Whilst such comparisons will be made with increasing regularity as the election approaches, for example:
…, we quickly realise we need to take into consideration a far wider variety of Twitter accounts and take into consideration other metrics.

@DowningStreet, the official Twitter channel for the office of the Prime Minister, provides a total different perspective on the Labour Party’s fortunes.
If @DowningStreet’s Twitter friends were an indication of support, Gordon could expect a landslide victory at the next general election. Unfortunately things are not that simple. As one comment to @DowningStreet shows, people follow for many different reasons:

any chance next week i can have a pic taken outside No.10? im visiting for a few days? i know its cheeky but i had to ask!

Obviously @DowningStree is not the only other UK political Twitterer, many individuals, groups and departments have accounts. All contributing to the complex picture of the UK political landscape.

Twitter potentially offers a lot of useful information about both the attitude of the parties to the electorate, and the electorate to the parties. Unfortunately, as with all webometric studies, for meaningful answers to be arrived at there needs to be distinct methodical steps rather than just a grabbing of raw data:
1) Select appropriate Twitter accounts to answer the research question.
2) Investigate Twitter interactions:
Not only ‘do they follow and have followers’, but are they ReTweeting comments and Responding to questions directed at them.
3) Investigate the nature of the interactions:
Unfortunately the simplest way of finding out the nature of many of the connection is to analyse the comments, a very long and tedious process.

As with so many things on the web, it would be interesting to investigate, if only one had the time.

February 13, 2009

Reflections on BrumTwestival!

Filed under: BrumTwestival,Twitter — admin @ 12:02 pm

Last night I went to the BrumTwestival, both a good cause and an opportunity to find out people’s opinions on Twitter. Obviously, like all good bloggers I had my trusty camera phone to photograph the event:

Whilst some would say that I should have probably attempted photography before heading to the bar, I place all blame on the Xda Serra’s camera…I never had this trouble with an N95.

As I continue throwing myself head first into an investigation of Twitter, I am still no nearer finding out whether it is has a use not found elsewhere, but the list of uses does continue to grow:
-News service
-Seach engine
-Question answering service
Whilst I’m sure there are lots of people who use Twitter in a work setting, I didn’t manage to find any last night; it was mostly just personal use.

nb. Unfortunately the university have informed me that drinking copious amounts of beer and chatting to people in a bar does not conform to their more traditional ideas of research. They will not be refunding my expenses.

@simonluckylloyd: Why Twitter needs a ‘Follow but Hate’ option

Filed under: Conservative Party,Twitter — admin @ 10:43 am

I have long been saying (well I think I Twittered it a couple of days ago), that what Twitter really needs is an option to Follow someone, but at the same time highlight the fact that you dislike them. This was pushed home to me this morning when I discovered I was being followed by a complete idiot, @simonluckylloyd, whom I can only presume is following me as he thinks I am a fellow Conservative fan.

In politics it is necessary to listen to the opposition so you can point out that they are talking crap, the last thing you want is to have your listening to them seen as an endorsement. There are a host of reasons I don’t support the Conservatives, and @simonluckylloyd personifies many of them.

Conservatives love to knock modern Britain, after all, wasn’t it all better years ago:

Conservatives hate immigration despite the fact it has contributed to this country for thousands of years, and at the same time Conservatives demand the right to live where they want:

But mostly because Conservatives just aren’t nice people:

It is bad enough being thought of as a Conservative, but there are worse feeds I could be following: The Daily Mail, the British National Party (although I don’t think they have an account yet). Whilst I am interested in what they are saying, the cost of being associated with them is just too high, unless Twitter allow us to show our dislike.

February 12, 2009

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