An Irish Stew

Sigfrid Lundberg's Stuff 2010-02-14

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An earlier version of this entry had the title: Social media, Google adwords and the curation of digital refuse. However, it would be misleading call this document a version of the text I planned to write.

I just couldn't get the various threads in place and write a single text with a neat take home message. Instead, the result is a relatively shallow annotated URIography, rather than a deep analysis of some current trends in the evolution of the Internet and the western societies. Sorry.

Power Sites

A site which is designed as the primary Web property for a person, place, or thing is a power site, says Tim Bray, if the person, place, or thing has a Wikipedia entry but, in popular search engines, the site ranks above that Wikipedia entry.

Tim Bray's own blog is a power site, my stuff isn't. I have no Wikipedia entry ;-). Power sites are assets these days, if you put adverts on the, that is.

Power Universities and Researchers

Lorcan Dempsey, whose blog is also a Power Site, discusses a number of social technology sites for research information, complete with friends and ranking etc.

I like facebook for scientific papers. Do you like too?.

The Ouseful blog discusses google economics and page ranks, while The Times Higher Education has ranked universities for years. That is a not enough, obviously, since Thomson Reuters and NSF follow suit..

Content farming

During the year 2009 we saw the advent of the content farms. It is fairly easy to rapidly aggregate content by archiving mailing lists, RSS feeds etc. Adding Google Ads you get a business model as well. There's good reason to be worried, in particular for Google. A few other voices: Combat content farms, The rise of fast food content is upon us, and it’s going to get ugly and curating farmers.

Books and parasites

To my knowledge, Jacob Nielsen was the first to describe the parasitic nature of the search engine's business model. The dilemma is that without the search engine, noone would find your pages and with the search engine noone will click on ads on your pages. More recently there has been discussions on how people will be able to survive as journalists and authors on a market where content farms and real news sites generate about as much revenue. See Charles Stross' The monetization paradox (or why Google is not my friend).

Pointless babble

Tim O'Reilly & Sarah Milstein have written The Twitter Book. I haven't read it, but then I have to confess I'm no Twitter Power user. I'm not even a user.

Bill Heil and Mikolaj Piskorski describe recent results from their research on Twitter. They are really interesting and some of them are surprising, such as that the top 10% of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of the tweets. These numbers are very much more aggregated than for social internet sites in general, where the top 10% accounts for about 30% of the activity. The same study shows that men follows men to a very large extent, and also that woman follows men more than other women but that they are more equal in their preferences. (see also twitter hype or,

One study shows that many people still perceive Twitter as just mindless babble of people telling you what they are doing minute-by-minute and that the tweets is written in self-promotion with very few folks actually paying attention (Pointless babble)

There is a single theme

I feel that there is a single theme in all this. There are problems here. There are needs for business models and new methods for monetization. We need that as well, we in the library business. Perhaps a public service model could make a difference?


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My name is Sigfrid Lundberg. The stuff I publish here may, or may not, be of interest for anyone else.

On this site there is material on photography, music, literature and other stuff I enjoy in life. However, most of it is related to my profession as an Internet programmer and software developer within the area of digital libraries. I have been that at the Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen (Denmark) and, before that, Lund university library (Sweden).

The content here does not reflect the views of my employers. They are now all past employers, since I retired 1 May 2023.

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