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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Important Things are Interesting, and Vice Versa 

The US Airforce is going to spend $450,000 for "a three year study of blogs". Go to FP Passport; and Transformation (US DoD). (From a comment at Eschaton).

I think you can pretty much learn everything there is to know about blogs in a few hours if you have time on your hands. Maybe you could spend a week or two cataloguing them and studying blogger profiles. If you really wanted to develop some theory you could go through the archives and show how certain types of blogs have evolved, parallel with events, but I think that would be of limited value. So perhaps first you conduct a survey of the mess, then construct a taxonomy (must look that word up later), and then come up with seven or eight case studies. Would that do? Then hire a graduate student in anthropology or folklore to do it at $20.00 an hour over the summer.

That would be an instructive experiment, because eventually you could compare your graduate student's report with the Air Force's to see which was better. And you could cheat by hiring someone competent.

This analysis, Kokar said, is based on what Versatile Information Systems calls the RSTC approach to blog analysis – relevance, specificity, timeliness, and credibility. RSTC helps information analysts filter the most important information to study.

Bla bla bla. Actually, a much more useful tool is KHTR—knowing how to read. But let "Senior scientist" Dr Brian E. Ulicny speak! "'It can be challenging for information analysts to tell what’s important in blogs unless you analyze patterns,' Ulicny said." I guess it can be challenging for senior scientists to say what they mean at the best of times, but I presume the sense is: Information analysts must analyze patterns to tell what's important in blogs. Is that a fair clarification? If so, it means: Patterns tell us what's important in blogs. What patterns can there be? Only a topic's being discussed, mentioned, and linked, the last being perhaps the most revealing.

It is therefore safe to say that anything that turns up on a blog a lot is important on that blog. I wonder if this principle could find some wider application?


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Watching TV is a good way to tear yourself away from the computer.