Simon Willison’s Weblog

Filtering AOL

Burningbird starts a discussion on how much harm the addition of AOL users will cause to the blogging eco-system. She compares this development to the chaos caused when AOL users were first introduced to Usenet. I don’t see that there’s a problem. To my mind, the thing that separates blogging from the many other forms of internet discussion (forums, Usenet, mailing lists etc) is that it comes with its own built in filtering mechanisms. I’ll take myself as an example. While I don’t use an aggregator, I do use my blogroll to keep track of roughly 70 bloggers who have a very high signal to noise ratio. Through them, I am frequently directed to other bloggers of a similar calibre. I’ve seen it claimed that there are over half a million blogs on the ’net, but the social network I maintain through my blogroll means that while I only see a fraction of those, that fraction tracks most of the information of interest to me.

If AOL add another million blogs that don’t carry information of interest to me, that’s fine; I probably won’t even notice. Not until one of them posts something interesting, and one of the 70+ blogs I read points me in their direction.

This is Filtering AOL by Simon Willison, posted on 9th July 2003.

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