I got a chance to take a look at the new Technorati during lunch today and I was pretty surprised. It seems like these guys are constantly reinventing themselves, still struggling to define the currency of the blogosphere. Is it the blog, the keyword, the tag, or the post itself? The post seems to get the vote in this latest redesign, which has top blog posts broken down by category in a manner very similar to the latest Digg. These days, Digg must be feeling very flattered.
Truth be told though, Technorati may be the more ideal social bookmarking platform than Digg. Digg is a supposedly an open platform, but you have to be a member to submit or “digg” content and these days you may even have to sign in to view it. This and the fact that “digg”-ing a story takes extra effort is the reason why only a subset of Digg’s readers actually contribute. Technorati, on the other hand, uses links as its article sorting method. It profits off the links people are already putting in their blog posts. So it in theory is a more accurate reflection of what is hot on the Internet.
But does the wisdom of the masses produce a better set of articles? I would argue no. The front page of Digg still seems much more compelling content-wise than the front page of Technorati. It’s the same reason I like the most-emailed stories more than the most-read or most-linked on the New York Times. Making the “cost” higher means that people focus on more interesting stories, rather than ones that are already popular. So while the new Technorati is interesting, its Digg-likeness is only skin deep.
With most of the other Penn State interns in State College for ArtsFest, I didn’t have a whole lot to do this weekend. So I took a trip out to the mall and a trip to Walmart. In the process I expanded my music collection.
Lately I’ve felt like I’ve caught up with all the new music I need, so have been going back and picking up some of the classics. I also feel the need to buy more music on CD these days, in order to get better sound quality and no DRM. My rule of thumb has also been to “upgrade” a previously “acquired” album for every new one I purchase.
I never understood why people shop at overpriced mall music stores, but now I realize now the selection is much better. I have been struggling to find any of these classic albums in a Walmart, or even a Best Buy, but this store had a bunch. I picked up The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and Parsely, Sage, Rosemarry, and Thyne. Both are fantastic, but I have been really into The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan right now. In general, the themes of 60s and 70s music seem just as relevant today.
Then in Walmart on Sunday I saw they had a couple Led Zeppelin on sale. Since I had some money burning in my pocket (and there was hardly anything else worthwhile there) I bought Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin IV. I bought Led Zeppelin II sight unseen (actually unheard) and I really like it. Now I have a bunch of other albums I want to buy, but I think I’ll have to wait a little bit until I drop more money into the hands of the RIAA.
So today is my 2nd birthday on the Facebook and its amazing the difference a year makes. The Facebook, a social networking site for college kids and beyond, has a feature where they show you if any friends’ birthdays are coming up. It’s a clever feature and last year it landed me a random birthday greeting from one of my “friends”. This year, I have recieved 10 birthday greetings so far. So how did I suddenly get more popular? I didn’t. I believe the difference is that more and more people have made the Facebook part of their daily routine (even on Sunday morning). I knew that I log on about once a day and I figured others did as well, but this is pretty overwhelming proof. Social networking, creepiness aside, is a pretty big deal. I’m 21 today, by the way, though I haven’t had anything to drink – yet.
I am not an avid reader. I find it tedious and I struggle to sit in front of a book without falling asleep. Perhaps its because I’m a cinephile. That’s not to say I’m iliterate either: I read more newspapers and magazines than most of the “readers” I know. Still, I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder intellectually because I am a part-time reader. I am also a bit skeptical also that someone who reads a dozen chick-lit novels a year is more “well-read than me.
Perhaps the other reason I don’t read much is that there isn’t much motivation. The handful of books I read for school or pleasure a year is surpsingly enough to make me “well read”. Last fall I stopped in a trendy bookstore in Washington DC (it was trendy because they were playing AC/DC and had a bar in the back) and I had read half the books on their featured table. I guess there’s only a handful of books every year that are important enough and I am hitting them all.
Summer is the exception to the rule. I read a lot during the summer since I used to have a job that paid me to sit around and read. These days I am not paid to read, but I have so little to do outside of work that I decided to pick up the habit again. So far I am almost done Indecision after 36 hours of having it. I also bought Assassination Vacation and The Lexus and the Olive Tree, which I thought would be plenty for the summer. At the rate I am going, however, they might not last more than a week or two. It’s hard to argue with reading a book when faced with the umpteenth showing of Jurassic Park on TV.
Update: I just finished Indecision and it ended badly. Its a tad annoying getting preached to at the end of a story, but its even worse when the sermon has nothing to do with the 200 or so pages you read before.