Saturday, November 20, 2004

Blogshares, The Game

Once in a while I come across something cool. Most of the time it's stuff that only *I* think is cool, but lately I've been on a roll.

A couple weeks ago it was podcasting.

This week it's Blogshares ( Some of you may have noticed the tag on my blogs that I'm now "listed."

Blogshares is an interesting index of blogs that just happens to be a "game." The premise is that blogs are "stocks" and you can buy shares of the blog. The price of the shares goes up and down based on the amount of traffic in the shares. There are ancillary markets in "ideas" (measured by the numbers of "incoming" links in a particular industry. The game is pretty darn cool, but the *interesting* thing is that it serves as an index and that index is created by the players.

At the moment there are about 1200 "industries" listed in the index. Players read the blogs and vote on what industry they believe that the blog belongs to. Some industries (like Diary) are pretty broadly defined. Others (like Art History/Impressionism) are pretty narrowly constrained. The industries serve as concentrators, so that if you want to see blogs about Medieval History, you go to the Medieval History industry, pull up a list of blogs, and start wandering thru the list. The advantage to this is that these categories are assigned by "reviewers" who have, for the most part, actually looked at the blog in question and made a judgement call.

This goes back to a couple of David Wiley's long standing issues -- the scalability of tools, and self organizing systems. With the number of blogs growing on the web, getting a handle on the content and activity is a monsterous undertaking. Keyword searching doesn't help much when you're trying to locate a blog with a specific bent.

Enter Blogshares.

The game rewards the players for playing with the blogs, not as blogs per se, but as commodities to be categorized and sorted. Because very few people use good descriptive names on their blogs, accurate categorization depends on somebody actually observing the blog and making a judgement. The game itself is rather compelling, but the by-product, a searchable index of categorized blogs is an amazing asset.

Drop by and see what I mean.


1 comment:

Linn said...

Nice assessment of the game Nathan. You've described its rather schizoid existence well. It does serve two purposes, one useful and one a lot of fun.