I discovered MyBlogLog today. It’s MySpace for people with standalone blogs — relative digital sophisticates or graduates from “the AOL of blogging.” It immediately clicked. It’s an attention tracker, showing you what the bloggers you follow are doing out there on the internets. You can link up with people, assign value (friend, family, fan) to the relationship, monitor your audience and join communities. Blogs you read which are plugged into the service and users who visit your blog or MyBlogLog page both serve as rapid portals to communities that are likely to be of interest for you, so it’s quick and easy to throw together a group of sites you care about. Another nice feature is outbound links monitoring, which shows you the most popular links to offsite content in your communities, providing another level of crowdsourced info-filtering goodness. This is a great service and maybe but maybe not yet another smart buy from the Purple Monster.
Another network that I see a lot of value in, but that doesn’t provide me with as much of a day-to-day payoff is LinkedIn. Their system is “old-school” social networking, without the “push” features seen in MyBlogLog, you have to spam your contacts with e-mail or rely on their limited metrics (identical employers or schools) to pick up additional connections, and communicating through the network is expensive, I have yet to pay $15 in order to send a single email, though I have been tempted a few times. But these choices are good on balance, for LinkedIn is a professional network, it’s designed to include only the people who want to be connected to you. Your LinkedIn contacts are much more likely to take your calls than in more open networks where users and call-girls alike can spam you endlessly to get linked up. And since the point to LinkedIn is professional networking, they’ve made their protected network into a much higher value proposition for job searching than huge, unmanageable networks such as Monster.com, which have had numerous problems with spammers and scammers (the more general point IMO is that the more your system is driven by algorithms — as opposed to human decisions — the more you will be a target for predators).
So with LinkedIn you have a network of people, most often based on a significant personal relationship, and generally aligned with your career aspirations and the professional circles you operate in. MyBlogLog presents you with another network, people who’s interests are pretty closely aligned with yours, based on niche web-surfing activity.
So how about a mashup? If someone becomes a frequent reader of my blog I would probably like to add them to my LinkedIn network, and likewise request connections with certain folks who read many of the same blogs I read.Â While the contacts acquired in this fashion will rarely be as valuable as first degree LinkedIn contacts (friends), I would argue they are potentially more valuable than existing second degree LinkedIn contacts (friends of friends). It will be interesting to see how MyBlogLog evolves, it seems like a great opportunity to leverage purely social connections into something with additional value.