Corante Web Hub is a lovely piece of newsmastering, and I am even more excited as this blog is part of the network.
Basically Corante (the first blog media company) is made up of many blogs covering various topics (some of these are multi-authored blogs).
They have decided to extend their blog media coverage by hooking up with various blogs in the blogosphere, so instead of employing hundreds of people, they instead have a working relationship with people already blogging about similar stuff, and the idea is to make topic streams with content populated from various blogs via RSS re-syndication…there are also many adverstising opportunities.
So far they have created 3 hubs (each with approx 10-15 contributors), and there are more to come, they are Web, Media, Marketing…see the Hub main page.
The inhouse Corante blogs will still be at the main Corante website (so this isn’t changing) but they will also be incorporated into the various hubs…why not?
Before we get into hub specifics, we’ll see why the hubs are an effective information source.
People interested in the content contained in the Corante Web Hub will no doubt consume their information with an RSS reader, the only thing is that what (RSS) was hailed as information efficiency is becoming information overload, ie. we have too many feeds to read on each topic we fancy…and we may only like some of the content from each feed (well, for this you can subscribe to search terms within your own RSS reader, OPML file so to speak).
On top of this we may not know of other feeds out there that are relevant to a topic, so what we can do is read blogs that point to other blogs, or view their blogrolls, or search in blog engines to find great blogs via the blog posts in the results, or even use blog type directories (author defined) to find blogs that blog about certain topics, but this is based on the author taking part in this, so not all blogs may be involved.
Another way is not to subscribe to blogs at all but subscribe to streams of topic content, so we can subscribe to a search feed in a blog engine, but the results aren’t precise enough because they are not always about the search term, we need more aboutness, that’s where blog tag engines come into play, now we can subscribe to blog content that is actually about your favourite topic…problem with this is it depends how the blog author defines a topic, if you subscribe to the “blogs” tag you might be missing out on stuff in the “blogging” tag, so you have to subscribe to heaps of tags to just cover one topic, now we have overload again…and again much of the results may be real bad quality, and who wants to filter all that (quality control should be more of a forethought).
So the next step is to give up and say, well yeah I might have a few blogs in my RSS reader, and subscribe to a few blog engine tags, but are there people who are doing the same thing as I was doing, if there are, I’ll just subscribe to their blog (no use doubling up on the ground work).
It’s just too much to subscribe to too many blog engine search feeds and tag feeds, same goes for social bookmark search feeds and tag feeds.
If someone is already scouting a topic from blog engines and from a blogroll, or is themselves reviewing content from blogs who seek blog engines and massive blogrolls, then we can just subscribe to their blog…this reduces RSS anxiety massively. We may miss out on some content if we are not ourselves monitoring massive blogrolls or blog engines, but the pay off is that we are saving time, saving frustration from scanning irrelevant or duplicate stuff…and if you subscribe to a handful of these review type blogs then you’ll be surprised that you don’t really miss out on much content at all..who cares there is too much good stuff anyway, the web is on fire at the moment!
Anyway, that’s why of late I only read about 25-50 blogs per day, sometimes upto 200 if I have time, this is good considering my RSS reader is nearly at 500 feeds…I rely on these blogs for the coverage I’m interested in, and just close my eyes to the rest (or have your eyes open and spend your time with your family or RSS will consume you!)
So you may have your favourites in a succinct blogroll, but others, such as Corante are presenting similar blogrolls (so to speak) to the world, since they are a very web-savvy, you may come to respect that the choice of blogs in their topic hubs cover the blogosphere quite well.
I guess the most important thing is that you can keep abreast of current qualitative content in your favourite topic, and have reassurance that most of the web is being scanned (well, no-one can be sure of this, but hey!) or at least the stuff that matters to your topic of interest…all this in a massively reduced time scale…all you need is 30 mins a day, well maybe more, but your consumption time is surely reduced, and your attention is being met, and you feel fine.
I’m not saying all this because I’m part of the Corante Network, if you read my blog often, you will know that one of my favourite topics are newsmastering and RSS overload/attention, so I’m always talking about how to find and filter information, and present it for consumption.
All Corante Hub’s are doing is taking the newsmastering process to an official or professional level and offering us what their take on cutting edge content is, which may match our/my interests.
Anyone can make a simpler version of what they are doing by using many of the free Newsmastering tools, see my post on SuprGlu which also lists many other tools…actually SuprGlu has been improved it not only presents a stream of content from many sources and stores the content in an archive, but now it offers a spliced feed, customisation of the style sheet, and a spliced tag cloud, all they need is search and an OPML file.
But the great thing about a Corante Hub is that they have asked before re-syndicating content, web etiquette, and they only re-syndicate excerpts which link back to the native posts, also these excerpts don’t have a permalink, so if people want to link to a post, they have to link to the permalink in the native blog as the re-syndicated post doesn’t have a permalink, this is also good as all comments and trackbacks will still be on the native post…see my post on RSS copyright about people re-syndicating content to the extreme. Bud Gibson’s remix project is another great newsmastering portal, the only difference is that each re-syndicated post has a permalink.
Also next to each excerpt is a link to the feed of the blog that post is coming from, so if you post 10 posts in the space of 30 mins, your feed will be offered many times on the one page. Also each post has an conversation link, and related posts link.
So what happens to the posts when they fall off the front page, well they are archived by date, or you can also browse by the collective tag/category (just like Suprglu now does) but hubs also allow to sort tags A-Z, by recency, and by frequency…although only excerpt posts are shown, the future search feature will search in the full-text version feeds of all re-syndicated posts.
I’d like to see searching just the network, just the editorial blog, within a tag (network or editorial, or a single blog), etc…and also generate a feed, now that’s micro-content!
Another thing would be to browse tags from just the editorial feed, or from just the network feed, it would be good at least for the editorial feed as it is a blog with categories like all other blogs.
Also what if each tag had a feed of it’s own, blog tag engines provide a feed for each tag, this would be similar but not for the whole blogosphere, just for the blogs within the hub.
These hubs are new babies so there is more to come, not sure if you will be able to search just within one feed, or do a blank search to see posts just from one feed, or see a tag with posts just from one feed. Speaking of tags, similar to what I asked Bud, is that what happens when the tag cloud gets massive, if the group is limited to 15 or so blogs that use 10 different categories each, that’s 150 unique tags in addition to the common tags, not too bad, but a great experiment to see how tags can be consolidated when they reach a massive scale…now these tags represent categories in all blogs, not sure if it picks up local tag plugins or tags that point to other sites.
What makes these hubs different to other newsmastering tools is that there is also a blog built in, that’s right the web page is split in two, the bottom half has all re-syndicated posts from the network, and the top half is an actual blog that has editorial posts. These editorial posts highlight content from the network, this is even another level of filtering, although it may also content from elsewhere.
So you can subscribe to the feed of just the editorial posts or just the network posts, there is also an OPML file (also includes the editorial feed)…there is also choice of email subscription for the editorial posts or the network posts.
There isn’t a spliced feed but you can make your own.
NOTE: if you subscribe to the network feed it doesn’t neccessarily mean you will get all posts from each blog, each blog can insert a marker into a post that will tell Corante not to re-syndicate the post, the reason for this is that if you make a personal post that doesn’t seem appropriate for the Hub you can exclude it, great idea!
The Hubs homepage lists some things to come like ratings, reconfigure and republish content, filtering etc…this will be not only a unique newsmastering tool with social features, but there will be personalisation features built in to see only the content you want at the most granular level.
You can link to the Corante Web Hub from the badge on the right of my blog…here’s a list of the contributors.
Happy digesting some quality “web” content…I’d also like to thank Corante for including me on this great initiative
Here are some other posts about the launch of the Corante Web Hub:
Corante 2.0: Hubs In A Network Of Stars
Corante Web Hub launches
Launch of Corante Hubs and the Corante Network
Corante Network Launched
Best of the Web Newsradar Launches: The New Corante Hubs
Corante Network - New Media Model
[ADDED: Imagine making a Memeorandum for just the Corante Web Hub, so this means not posts by date, but most linked to posts chronologically, with incoming links threaded, and related posts underneath also with incoming link threaded…but the incoming links are coming from the whole blogosphere…and then subscribing to an RSS feed of this, so you would have a normal date RSS feed, and a popularity RSS feed.]
[ADDED: What about browsing posts by user tags, users will tag these posts in various social bookmarking services, Corante could scan all these services for bookmarks that included any of URL’s from the network feeds or the editorial feed, and then make a user tag cloud, is this possible?
Or, this is maybe going a bit far, users could log-in and bookmark Corante Web Hub posts in the Hub itself, kind of a folksonomy for the hub, but what if users also want to bookmark stuff from blogs that are not in the hub…see more (actually this is similar to the BBC idea)]
[ADDED: Search the Corante Web Hub via Rollyo, thanks Oliver]