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IDEA #41- Digg based on Your Friends and Network

Digg is relevant to a lot of people, but is primarily tech/geek focused — the filtering that occurs to create the ‘top 10’ lists that continuously update (“the digg homepage”), are typically what geeks find very interesting. Yes there are other categories on the site, but I don’t believe they’ve taken off as well as the tech/geek focus.

Anyhow, social search is the future of ‘search’ — basically personalized or “social” search is the 2.0 of search engines. Lijit is a funded company that is working on this — using Google’s Co-Op service, as well as their own service to create networks. Thus, Lijit allows you to add friends, or people you admire, to your network, and then do a search on anything, which searches through these contacts of yours — it’ll then show results from their bookmarks, their blog postings, etc.

What about a Digg-similar service that allows me to see the top blog posts that my friends (and those I admire) have read? MyBlogLog kind of does this — if I’m apart of various communities, it’ll tell me the top links in those communities, but that’s just click-throughs, not necessarily that the users liked. Also, what I’m really saying here is — I don’t care about the readers of the communities, I care about my network. kind of does this — in terms of all websites that my network is looking at. StumbleUpon? Reddit?

But I want to see what my contacts really have liked, news-related, most recently.

I’m writing this off the cuff — someone will likely say, “Duh, you’re talking about ______.” If I am, thanks :) Otherwise, what ideas are you getting from this idea that I’m giving?

  • Robert Dewey

    My thoughts are similar… I’m trying to startup a project that will map out a user’s real social network. The input will be simple and the barrier will be low, making it easy to do on-the-fly. Eventually, I think it will be possible to mine data and figure out relationships between users.

    A pure database of (real) user relationships would be really important… They can add trust to seemingly anonymous people (would you trust an isolated node with no friends?), and they can pull people together for information and data distribution (as in your example).

    There are plenty of other things a relationship database could do… It could be used to build third-party applications (for example, easily import contacts into MyPunchBowl), allow you to identify sellers on eBay or Craigslist, etc.

  • Heisenberg

    It is funny that I was thinking of a very similar concept this weekend, but limited to blog posts. I also came to the conclusion that this must exist. The “Duh, what you are thinking of is…” I will be curious to see what services are similar. Maybe Rojo’s Mojo does this? or something similar? I have not tried a lot of readers, so don’t know all the fancy funcionality out there.

    My problem: information overload. i subscribe to a lot of blogs (as does everyone else on here), and use Google Reader to read them. I work in healthcare, am obsessed with tech, and have found others i just like reading… sometimes. So my blog list is all over the place in terms of number, topic and quality. Each day about 100+ new posts come in to Reader. Usually, i can look at the title and read on or move on.

    This last week I got crazy busy at work. I was not able to log in to Reader for the week. So this weekend, I had well over 500+ unread posts. I hate leaving unread posts in Reader. i will tell you i felt like i had a big mountain to climb when i finally logged in.

    There are some blogs where i like most posts. So i hit these first. There are other blogs where I like 1 of 5 or 1 or 10 posts, so these are daunting to go through 300 posts on the title alone. I guess i could unsubscribe, but the 1 in 10 posts i like, i really like.

    I really wanted a Google Reader plug-in (or new RSS reader altogether) that helped me prioritize my unread posts. Maybe i give a thumbs up/down to posts as i read them all (when i have time), then, over time, the plug in can ‘prioritize’ unread posts for me based on other users’ preferrences. I want to know which posts readers liked who 1) read the same blogs that i do and 2) like/dislike the same individual posts that i do. Then i can read from the top (based on priority) and at some point when i get bored/run out of time, i can set all posts below a certain priority to ‘read’ and be done with them. At least there is some basis to elimiate posts.

    The next step would be to limit the people who can influence my ‘prioritization’ to friends or 2nd degree network (friends-of-friends), 3rd degree, etc.

    Here is where you tell me of another RSS reader that does exactly this and that I will love 😉

  • Stan James

    Hey Steve,

    Lijit actually did this exact feature in an earlier incarnation. It was called the LijitList and based on the idea that for each person’s list, “votes” from others would be weighted by how far away they were from the person. (Degrees of separation.)

    In the end we just didn’t have the resources to pursue both this AND search, so we had to focus on the search side. But I firmly believe that social networks (and small world theory in general) are the future of rating systems too.

    They avoid all the problems of gaming, and give the personal bias that you *want* in personal recommendations.


  • Robin Wauters

    Check, I think it’s somewhere along the lines of what you described above.

  • Robert Dewey

    I like your idea, Heisenberg. It would probably work out really well using a bookmarklet or a blog widget. I briefly checked out the Autoroll site listed by Robin, but I didn’t get the “ease-of-use” feel that I like.

  • Steve Poland
  • Robert Dewey


    There it is — “Duh!”

    Nice name for the site, too… Corank!

  • Michael Young

    That’s really funny, I was thinking of this exact same concept as well, except with a few twists. I figured that people would be really like to know what some of the more well-known members of the community are reading.

    You might say that the concept is just like a blog. You could do it on a blog, true, but blogs are more for voicing one’s opinion or providing a relatively large amount of detail about something.

    My idea is more like the Facebook Share feature where a user can just click a bookmarklet and have the content of the page they’re on shared with their friends.
    The problem with Facebook Sharing is that no one really cares because the site isn’t used for news, plus you can’t choose to selectively share content (i.e. just with family, just with friends, just with friends that live with you, etc.)

    My idea revolved around trust in individuals rather than the wisdom of the crowds. So say Mike Arrington had his own “Read Feed” and he shared anything he read that was interesting on it. I bet a lot of people would subscribe to that feed. It would be a lot easier for him in terms of time, he would be able to share a lot more information with readers and he would even be able to make money doing it. I would have the site share revenue with the people who are “influencers” (i.e.Arrington, Scoble, Don Dodge, etc.) so that they have an incentive to keep posting links that are interesting. Anyone can become an influencer.

    This can easily be expanded and tweaked so that you can see various network effects too, such as most popular articles amongst all users.

    It’s very similar to, Google Reader, etc. but different enough to be useful methinks.

  • Stan James

    Corank was new to me, but looks great. I’m signing up now.

    But… I think they are limited in that your “sources” and “fans” must be other corank users. The better solution is to allow any RSS feed to be one of your sources: a delicious user’s feed, a New York Times feed, etc…

  • Phil Freo

    I’d say that Facebook is attempting to do this to a huge (mostly college) market by introducing “Shares” where your friends can view websites/blog posts/videos that you like.

  • RBA

    Stan, wouldn’t that be a “collection of feeds”? I’m not saying that’s a bad idea, and perhaps there’s room in coRank for something like that, but I think that’s different from “gathering what your sources (people) consider interesting, and give you a feed of either all of those items, or those that are found to be most relevant according to all your sources.

    BTW, thanks for the comments about coRank. It is still a very young site (it launched on March 8th, 2007), it is still learning how to walk, and things are still a bit flat, but I think it’s moving in the right direction.

  • Tommy

    Each Facebook user can modify how much s/he wants Posted Items (that other friends “share” on their profiles) to show up on their News Feed, which is the home page when logging in. You can select up to 40 people you want to track, and an equalizer allows you to select more/less of the Posted Items, Photo posts, status updates, etc. A dedicated channel within that homepage that only showed posts of my top poster-friends would be a great feature to get the result we’re talking about.

  • Tommy

    Oops, an oversight: Facebook’s new layout (as of yesterday) has “Posted items” listed on the hot buttons on the left frame that links to all recently posted items by your Friends. Also lets you subscribe to an RSS feed of your friends’ posts. Better yet if it let me rate my friends’ posts (their usefulness to me) and learned from it, or inferred it a la News Feeds learning.

  • Hishomita

    CoReap is pretty to close to it:

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  • Piyush Singh

    dude ur a genius, this is yahoo’s news article app fb! only u thought of it 4 years ago