It’s no secret that as the ranks of bloggers has increased, the need for more effective tools to find the truly hidden gems in the blogging community has increased as well.  Those blogs that routinely produce excellent content–see here, here and here, for instance–have solidified their position at the top of the blogging ladder, which allows them to expand their readership exponentially.  As I have argued in the past, the meritocracy that marked the early days of blogging has been superseded by a hierarchy.  The hidden gems of the blogging community face a more difficult time than ever rising to the top.

Part of the problem is volume.  With more and more people blogging, it can seem impossible to cut through the chatter and offer a distinct opinion or a unique voice.  And as someone who is looking for that unique perspective, it is nearly impossible to find it.

Enter PostRank, an RSS feed reader plugin that is trying to solve the problem of chatter by scoring content based upon interaction from readers.  When readers comment, bookmark, share on Digg, Pownce or other social networking tools, it adds to the posts score.  PostRank weighs the types of interaction differently, tallies up the score, and lets you know in Google Reader (or NewsGator) which posts have been interacted with the most.

There are shortcomings, of course.  There is no ability to rank posts, which some people might prefer.  And it doesn’t take into account people’s individual preferences–an interaction from one reader might actually mean more than interaction from another, depending upon their patterns of use.  If it gets smart enough to take both those features into account, it would be a masterful tool.

And while the system is going to be heavily slanted toward those who already have larger audiences, it is a solid step toward helping those who read lots of blogs find the few posts that have elicited heavy interaction.

As such, if you are using Google Reader or NewsGator and are tired the noise, I would highly recommend it.

(Also, check out our top posts based on interaction over on our sidebar).

(HT:  TechCrunch)

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Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

One Comment

  1. Hi Matthew,

    We have high hopes for PostRank, too. :)

    Relationship-based ranking is something we’ve had some requests for, and an area of engagement measurement I find quite fascinating. You mention the two most likely forms — what is essentially audience voting on posts, as well as weighting different people’s input. (I find that one particularly juicy.) We’re not there quite yet, but I have a feeling such things will become increasingly important to the future of engagement measurement.

    With regards to the the system being slanted towards those with large audiences – nope. Cuz let’s face it, if we did things that way, TechCrunch would have all the fun.

    With our Feed-based rankings, a site’s content is ranked based on its own individual past performance. So it doesn’t matter if a site usually only gets 50 pageviews and 2 comments per post or gets 100K pageviews and 500 comments. We work with what each site has/does.

    Now with Thematic PostRank, which we’ve recently introduced, we make ranking on more of an “apples to oranges” scale possible. That ranks each feed in a Google Reader folder compared to the other feeds in that folder (which, typically, each user has gathered together on a specific topic or theme, like “friends’ blogs” or “tech news”, etc.)

    Thanks for the write-up! Hope our stuff keeps making itself useful for you. :)


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