blogged bulbs in the web-void
  
Version 00.11, August 2005
Searching among Internet Blogs for Information
by Fravia+

first published at searchlores in July 2004

Part of the searching essays & of the evaluating results sections.



Introduction

Difference between RSS and ATOM

Blog search engines, the big list

The music blogs phenomenon

So, what is a blog?



Searching the 'Blogosphere' for Information 

"I have yet to find a really "good" blog and agree that most are just ramblings of morons speaking on subjects they know little to nothing about. Its like a second generation of those GeoCities sites which had "my vacation photos" or a diary of the birth of someone's baby or endless rantings and ravings about this politician or that actor."


The term "weblog" is used since 1997/1998 to describe personal websites that offer frequently updated observations, news, headlines, commentary, recommended links and/or diary entries, generally organized chronologically.

While there are many websites that are frequently updated, e.g. this one, what makes a Weblog a Weblog is that it's organized chronologically and it is designed for short, frequent updates.

Most blogs have a dozen or so readers, but a handful have built up audiences in their thousands. There are news blogs, comment blogs, war blogs, diet blogs, disease blogs, cat blogs, dog blogs, blogs about blogs.

The use of blogs accelerated as the process of blogging became simpler with the advent of idiot-proof software for setting up your own weblog, such as Blogger, Pita, Groksoup, Diaryland, Live Journal and others.

Filter style blogs
In fact many blogs are just "micro-portals", they are filters, linking to sites and/or articles that the author finds worthwhile for his readers. These filters are often enough linking to the same sites (the "unbearable incestuousness of blogging").

Free style blogs
The so called "free style" blogs are focused less on the outside world and more on the internal world of the blog author, and range in style from traditional diaries to daily observations of the world.

Blogging is a form of dilettante journalism that presents many challenges but also several strengths: it offers for instance a creative freedom that may not be available in other media: a cosmic freedom in being able to represent yourself precisely as you want to, however sloppily, irrationally or erratically.
Other strengths of the medium include the possibility of immediate publication, a great interactivity, and the lack of any marketing constraints.

Some of these strength are at the same time great weaknesses: the lack of editors and of other people's feedback BEFORE the publishing, for instance, means that personal prejudices can often unbalance the bloggers' view of the facts.

While the previous restraints of space (with print media), and time (with broadcast media) are not applicable online, the new constraint is that of the reader's attention span.
Blogs can survive only on some conditions:

1) They must be constantly updated
2) A decent amount of quality must be kept
3) They must generate NEW CONTENT

Since very few humans are capable of respecting these constraints on the long (and even on the medium) term, blogs are, with due exceptions, a very "ephemerical" phenomenon, that contributes a great deal to the "quicksand" (or if you prefer: "littered with rotten carcasses") nature of the Web.

In fact what -alas- happens, is that people aélways follow 'trends', so they read somewhere that blogs areb 'in' and want to "try it out"... hence every idiot and his cat is starting another "random thoughts" collection, a blog, that will basically suck, and last maybe a couple of weeks.
Never underestimate how boring people can be! Should you underestimate it, blogs will quickly bring you back to reason.
The absolute majority of blogs, 99% of them, do not receive any comment whatsoever (who should comment apart automated spammers' scripts? Noone is reading such drivel) and this ensures that the wannabies bloggers will suffer a psychic depression, keep less and less their own blog "uptodate" and turn to the next trendy thing of the web.

This said, in a world where most media are simple vectors of puerile propaganda, blogs "can" ("can", he) represent a very effective alternative journalism, that allows people from very different cultures to interact with each other, thanks to the universal nature of the web, and -let's not forget it, of the pidgin english used on the Internet, and discuss issues that at the best are ignored and often enough are demonized by the main medias, which are nothing but propaganda trumpets of their owners. But this has always been true of messageboards and usenet as well. Actually chances are that if you vent your "random thoughts" on the old usenet you'll get (and quickly) many more commentsa nd answers (and attacks) than you'll ever get with a blog.

Yes: once again, by allowing anyone to get his hands on the means of information production - to write, produce and publish his own content without needing an editor or publisher, all Internet forms of publishing (and hence also blogs) may threaten the traditional media's hold over the spread of information and ideas.

Unfortunately enough, many bloggers are just bitchy individuals with some axes to grind, unable of rising above their immediate concerns and personal prejudices and not capable of weighing up the facts. Moreover, alas, there are many more bigot right-oriented bloggers as one would deem possible in a medium, like the Internet where even idiots can find real (and professional) information pretty easily.
Well, they can find it only if they learn how to search, duh :-)


Difference between RSS and ATOM 

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is just a dialect of XML.
RSS feeds may be exploited by readers that "subscribe" to them in order to be notified. In order to subscribe to RSS feeds you must have a tool that can read these RSS feeds, an "aggregator".

These tools are called "News Aggregators", "RSS Readers" or "News Readers". There are many out there. The most common are NewsGator (http://www.newsgator.com), that -alas- works inside the very dangerous and crash-prone bloated spyware called "MS Outlook".
Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com) is a web-based, very popular aggregator.

Basically the point is that you, instead of actively browsing the web and teh sites you like by yourself whenever you feel like it, will be notified by your aggregator when a blog has changed, kinda like being spooned TV-ads if you ask me :-)
This is of course necessary because most blog sites don't change that much, after a initial blurre of activity, and there would be no point in visiting them at all :-)

Still I guess that such aggregators and RSS feedsb may be useful in order to substitute some niche email-newsletters. Apple is for isntance using them.

Blogs may offer TWO different kinds of feeds: Atom and/or RSS.
Readers may wonder... "What’s the difference?" "Why have both?" "What are they for anyway?"

Basically, they do the same thing. They allow Internet users subscribe to a "feed" from a web site. By subscribing to a feed, a user can be notified when a website has been updated.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) came first, it worked, but was deemed imperfect by many, who decided to start an alternative project, especially when Dave Winer declared RSS 2.0 to be "the last version of RSS".
However, the RSS concept was so good that it brought together a wide variety of developers to develop a new syndication format. This new format is called Atom and is de facto a competitor to RSS. The idea behind Atom is ONE FORMAT (Atom) and ONE PROTOCOL (HTTP).


So, there are now two basic formats for syndicating a web site. RSS is older with many different versions, Atom is newer, more standard, and only beginning to be adopted. Atom was constructed to work across a wide variety of platforms and devices.

Atom and RSS are both tools designed to do the same basic job: advertise and distribute website content by creating machine-readable XML newsfeeds.
Chances are, your choice of format will be influenced largely by your choice of Content Management System. Yahoo, for instance, is behind RSS, while Google uses the new Atom (open and not proprietary) format.

Blogs search engines 
(The original draft was based on a list from Ari Paparo)

First of all some VERY GOOD BLOG SEARCH ENGINES:

One of the best for discovering interesting blogs: EUREKSTER (blogs)
 
private:



Another very good one (1.800.000 indexed feeds as ronin pointed out)

Name: Feedster
URL: http://www.feedster.com/
Description: Blog search engine using RSS feeds



For instance: http://www.feedster.com//search.php?q=fravia&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&sort=date

                                    
                                                 Sort by

 


Then some RSS directories (thanks, ronin)

Retronimo : http://www.retronimo.com (FR - 748 feeds)

RSS reporter : http://www.rssreporter.net/html (FR - 246 feeds)


Then the other search engines, in alphabetic order:

Name: 2RSS
URL: http://www.2rss.com/
Description: RSS Feed Directory
Add your blog here: On front page
Note: Requires RSS Feed

Name: Bligz
URL: http://www.blizg.com/
Description: Focus on "Metadata"
Add your blog here: On front page
Note: Two step-process where you have to "Ping" site once listed

Name: Blabble
URL: http://www.blabble.com/
Description: You have to sign in, so it is still crap
Could be useful if they open it up

Name: Blogarama
URL: http://www.blogarama.com/
Description:Small search engine
Add your blog here: http://www.blogarama.com/index.php?show=add

Name: Blogdex
URL: http://www.blogdex.net/
Description: Hot topics listing and search engine
Add your blog here: http://blogdex.net/add.asp
Note: Requires email confirmation

Name: Blogdigger
URL: http://www.blogdigger.com/
Description: Small search engine
Add your blog here: http://www.blogdigger.com/addFeedForm.jsp
Note: Need RSS feed

Name: Bloghop
URL: http://www.bloghop.com/search.htm
Description: Small search engine
Add your blog here: http://www.bloghop.com/addblog.htm

Name: Bloglines
URL: http://www.bloglines.com/
Description: Search and aggregate RSS feeds
Add your blog here: No submission process, users add feeds they wish to track

Name: Blogmatrix
URL: http://www.blogmatrix.com/
Description: Blog tool provider, offers search as well
Add your blog here: http://www.blogmatrix.com/join

Name: Blogrunner
URL: http://www.blogrunner.com/
Description: Hot topics listing and search engine
Add your blog here: http://www.blogrunner.com/docs/partners-register.html
Note: Some sore of revenue share program going on

Name: Blogsearchengine
URL: http://www.blogsearchengine.com/
Description: Blog search engine
Add your blog here: http://www.blogsearchengine.com/add_link.html

Name: Blogstreet
URL: http://www.blogstreet.com/search.html
Description: Metasearch
Add your blog here: http://www.blogstreet.com/bin/add.cgi

Name: Blogvision
URL: http://www.blogvision.com/
Description: Small search engine
Add your blog here: Doesn't appear to be any way to add a site

Name: Blogwise
URL: http://www.blogwise.com/
Description: Categorized Blog search
Add your blog here: http://www.blogwise.com/submit

Name: Bloogz
URL: http://www.bloogz.com/
Description: Blog search engine
Add your blog here: http://www.bloogz.com/man_en/add_your_url.php

Name: Boogieplay
URL: http://www.boogieplay.com/
Description: Blog search engine in "Newspaper" format.
Add your blog here: Doesn't appear to be any way to add a blog.

Name: Daypop
URL: http://www.daypop.com/
Description: News oriented search
Add your blog here: http://www.daypop.com/info/submit.htm
Note: Requires your site to be "frequently updated"

DAYPOP    

Easy RSS : http://www.easyrss.com (130 000 indexed feeds)

Feedsfarm : http://www.feedsfarm.com (6 000 indexed feeds)

Topix : http://www.topix.net (150 000 indexed feeds)




Name: Eatonweb
URL: http://portal.eatonweb.com/
Description: Blog search engine
Add your blog here: http://portal.eatonweb.com/add.php

Name: Fastbuzz
URL: http://www.fastbuzz.com/
Description: Search and aggregate RSS feeds
Add your blog here: http://www.fastbuzz.com/channels/insert_public.jsp

Name: Get Linked
URL: http://fried-spaghetti.com/links/
Description: Small search engine
Add your blog here: http://fried-spaghetti.com/cgi-bin/links/add.cgi

Name: Globeofblogs
URL: http://www.globeofblogs.com/
Description: Blog search engine
Add your blog here: Click "Register" in upper-right corner of front page
Note: Strange site, requires extensive classification of blogs

Name: Icerocket
URL: http://www.icerocket.com/
Description: Search engine with blogs à coté

Name: LocalFeeds.com/GeoURL
URL: http://www.localfeeds.com/ , http://www.geourl.org/
Description: Blogs and headlines by geographic region. GeoURL is by lat/longitude while LocalFeeds is by ZIP or country.
Add your blog here: http://www.geourl.org/add.html (for both)
Note: Complex instructions, you must edit your blog's meta tags prior to submission.

Name: Memigo
URL: http://www.memigo.com/
Description: Customized news portal
Add your blog here: http://www.memigo.com/feed

Name: NewsIsFree
URL: http://www.newsisfree.com/
Description: Search for RSS feeds
Add your blog here: http://www.newsisfree.com/contact.php

Name: Pepys
URL: http://pepys.akacooties.com/
Description: Geographically categorized blogs
Add your blog here: http://pepys.akacooties.com/cgi-bin/links2/add.cgi

Name: Popdex
URL: http://www.popdex.com/
Description: Hot topics listing and search engine
Add your blog here: http://www.popdex.com/addsite.php
Note: "Fast Track" if you link to Popdex

Name: RDF Ticker
URL: http://www.anse.de/rdfticker/findchannels.php
Description: Search and aggregate RSS feeds
Add your blog here: http://www.anse.de/rdfticker/addchannel.php

Name: Rootblog
URL: http://www.rootblog.com/
Description: RSS Aggregator
Add your blog here: http://http://www.rootblog.com/Ping/
Note: Can also be pinged automatically with every post.

Name: Search4Blogs
URL: http://www.search4blogs.com/
Description: Blog Directory
Add your blog here: WIthin each category
Note: A lot of adult blogs.

Name: Sindic8
URL: http://www.syndic8.com/
Description: Search and aggregate RSS feeds
Add your blog here: http://www.syndic8.com/suggest.php?Mode=data
Note: Need RSS feed

Name: Technorati
URL: http://www.technorati.com/
Description: Index of links between millions of blogs
Add your blog here: http://www.technorati.com/ping.html

Note: Programmatic interface available as well.

Name: Waypath
URL: http://www.waypath.com/
Description: Keyword searches and "find similar" searches
Add your blog here: Automatically adds blogs through a spidering process.

Name: Zopto
URL: http://www.zopto.com/
Description: Index of links between millions of blogs
Add your blog here: No submission process, Zopto indexes all pings to blo.gs into a search engine.





So what is a blog? 


A blog is...

The most over-rated nonsense on the internet. It's essentially someone's rambling, online diary, that links to real sites in order to pretend that there is actual content, (other than the self-absorbed, indulgent crap that makes up most of it).

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(c) 3rd Millennium: [fravia+], all rights reserved, reversed, revealed and reviled