Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Permalinked memes: the next News 2.0 feature

Steve Rubel tried yesterday to prove via some rather convoluted logic that TailRank is better than Memeorandum, which brought out the Memetracker Allstars in the comments: Gabe Rivera bobbed up to defend himself, Kevin Burton tried not to sound smug, ex-Pleecher Nik Cubrilovic went the squirrel, and Matthew Chen of Megite even made an appearance. I suppose we should forgive Steve since he's in public relations which, as all journalists know, means that he's got a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock.

Steve's efforts, while misguided, may lead to something worthwhile. Part of his complaint is that Memeorandum doesn't track stories beyond 24 hours. Many of its users (me included) see this as a good thing, as it keeps the page fresh. However, one of the qualities of many Web 2.0 products is the concept of the permalink, blogs being the most obvious one. Permalinks allow for safe linking for external sites, and help with search engine ranking by creating a page that won't disappear after the spider bots have come and gone.

Gabe's approach to permalinking is to generate an archived copy of each 5-minute snapshot of the front page. He used to provide a search box on Memeorandum to Google Blog Search's index of the site but he has since withdrawn that - for good reason IMO, because I could never get reliable results out of it, or any at all in most cases. However, as Steve hints at, some readers may want to drill down not just to a snapshot of the entire meme landscape, but to see a permalinked page listing all of the parent and children links of a single meme. Steve's motives are mostly for ego searching purposes, which should not be discounted as a driver, but I could think of other valid reasons for a user wanting the feature. It would allow for more detailed views of historical records on a memetracker site that are also permalinked - and possibly also given their own fulltext Boolean search indexes.

I'll add it to the list of features planned for the launch of Tinfinger, and I expect to see it emerge on other sites in time. Thanks Steve!


Anonymous Pete Cashmore said...

I thought Memeorandum already permalinked conversations - there's a blue paper icon next to the top link that acts as a permalink for that discussion. I use it a lot on my blog, and I find it mildly irritating when bloggers just link to the front page (since the story in question might not be there when the feed is updated).

7:11 am, February 21, 2006  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

That Memeo permalink only points to the cluster as it appears in a particular snapshot. It isn't a full record of all of the meme's history. What Steve wants, and obviously you want too, is a permalink to a page which lists any and all links which have appeared as children to that parent meme link, before and after the time that the link is made.

7:19 am, February 21, 2006  

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