I recently added this blog to the MyBlogLog service. From my personalised MyBlogLog page I can access manage the information about my blog and subscribe to other blog services. I’ve subscribed to a number of blogs of interest to me (including Mashable and Read/Write Web).

MyBlogLog

Why have I done this? For several reasons:

  • To provide greater exposure to the contents of my blog.
  • To exploring the community aspect of such blog aggregation services.
  • To gain a better understanding of the ways in which blog content can be reused and the implications.

We used to think that information should be held in one location. The information could then be managed by the owner, ensuring, for example, that a consistent and approved look-and-feel was provided.

Many people, no doubt, still subscribe to this view. My preference, though, is that access to my information is maximised by allowing it to be reused in a variety of contexts. Some of these contexts may be very specialised; others, however, may be locations where there are many users who, potentially, may benefit from, serendipitously, finding my blog postings.

The statistics page for my MyWebLog account show that on 8th January, there were 59 views of the blog by 34 readers. This is 34 readers who would probably not have found the blog otherwise, so this has been a useful exercise.

Statistics from MyBlogLog service

MyWebLog does provide access to statistics, although the free version only gives me access to statistics for the last 7 days and the top 10 visited pages.

My main interest in the service, however, was how it could be used to support the development of a distributed blogging community. What I would like would be for a community blog which aggregated content from a variety of related blogs (e.g. blogs from JISC development projects; blogs from members of institutional Web management teams; blogs from museums; etc.) Obviously I could do this within my personal RSS aggregator – but that would (normally) be available just to me. In some RSS aggregators I could share my feeds (e.g. PageFlakes). However I’m not convinced that this provides the sense of community you get from MyBlogLog, which provides a view of people who have read postings recently. (I’m aware, though, that some people may find this intrusive and an invasion of privacy – so it should be possible to view postings anonymously). As an experiment in this community aspect of MyBlogLog I have switched on the MyBlogLog widget in my sidebar.

Is anyone aware of services which will satisfy my requirements? I’ve noticed that the OSS Watch’s planet OSS Watch provides an RSS aggregation service using the Planet open source software, which provides a’ river of news’ feed reader’. But this doesn’t address the community angle. I do need to ask whether this is likely to be a service which people would find useful. Perhaps we’ll only find out through use.