Small Ideas

Finding the next big idea by exploring small ones – by Rishi Khaitan

How real-time is the blogosphere?

with 9 comments

At 4:02PM (Eastern), Google posts their Q4 earning results on the Business Wire. The big, big news (definitely the biggest news out of the valley for today) is that their numbers fell short of consensus estimates. At 5:11PM Reuters posts their summary of this news item and at 5:29PM, AP does the same. At around 5:30PM, this news cluster lands on Google News under the Business section. At 5:45PM, a CNN (via CNNMoney) writer has published an article covering this news.

It’s 6PM (Eastern), a full 2 hours since this news landed, and no sign of it on Memeorandum. This exhibits a limitation of pure algorithm-based aggregators is that in their attempt to maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio, they have a hard time grabbing big stories that are just breaking. However, I know several people that consider Memeorandum to be the best source for real-time Tech-business news. Clearly in this case, it is not.

What’s somewhat amusing about this is that the first news organization to post a follow-up to Google’s own announcement was not even US-based. It was The Financial Times, a London-based publication.

UPDATE: At around 6:15PM (Eastern), the news hits Memeorandum. The head story is the AP article and it has a couple posts from the blogosphere connected to it. I’m guessing what happens is that since there’s tons of news items posted by AP every day, there’s no way to isolate immediately which few are actually big news. Big news publications, in this case like CNN or TheStreet.com, publish fresh copy on the news and do not generally back-link. So, unless you are clustering news by relevance, you’re not going to be able to figure out what’s big until bloggers, for which back-linking is common practice, start posting about it.
Also, one could certainly argue that for 99.9% of people, a 2 hour delay is totally justifiable especially if it means keeping a high signal-to-noise ratio. I know for myself, this would usually be my preference as well.

Written by Rishi

January 31st, 2006 at 3:12 pm

9 Responses to 'How real-time is the blogosphere?'

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  1. It takes awhile for enough of the blogger pool to notice it to get into the next Memeorandum snapshot. The algorithm identifies “importance” by how many of its selected blogs write about it. Makes sense.

    I’ve noticed that, with the recent increase in the size of the blogging pool, that the front pages contain more references to fewer stories, and those fewer stories are mostly about Microsoft and Google now.

    One more thing — I’ve been realizing this week that Memeorandum is great for capturing tech-related news which is easy to have a linkable opinion about, rather than just tech-related news per se. “Opinionable news” (is that a word? ;-) gets more inbound links, and so is more likely to place in Memeorandum.

    (The actual tech news this week is that 50% of the world’s computers have upgraded their web services & “Ajax” abilities in the past three months, and yet most readers of Mememorandum will remain unaware of this significant fact unless they look elsewhere.)

    jd/adobe

    John Dowdell

    1 Feb 06 at 7:46 am

  2. I think John is onto something there. Memeorandum isn’t really designed to be first with the breaking news — Digg is probably better for that. Memeo is designed to be first with the (theoretically) informed opinions on the news, which depending on your perspective is either better or worse than just the news itself :-)

    Mathew Ingram

    1 Feb 06 at 9:06 am

  3. John, Mathew,

    Great comments. I met Gabe Rivera (founder of Memeorandum) a couple weeks ago and, from what I recall, he emphasized to me that an important thing about the site is that it does not differentiate between blog sources and news sources. News is news. A news item could be first reported on a company’s blog (as is typical with startup tech, esp “Web 2.0″, companies) or could be first reported on the news wire.

    Ultimately, a big headline is important no matter what the originating source is. John, you’re totally right, news which does not lead to many back-links is unlikely to show up on Memeorandum. And in mainstream media, back-links just don’t happen in general. So, with the news bit you mentioned, you’re right, if it doesn’t catch on in the blogosphere, it is unlikely to get traction on Memeorandum.

    Mathew, is Digg really that great for real-time news? I have not seen that to be true. News is mixed in with all sorts of different items which are basically just bookmarks. It’s not necessarily time-sensitive.

    Rishi Khaitan

    1 Feb 06 at 1:12 pm

  4. Ever tried Newsvine?

    http://www.newsvine.com/

    If you need an invite let me know!

    Darren Straight

    1 Feb 06 at 1:20 pm

  5. It all depends on which areas you are dependent on for cutting edge info.. The googs results were (imho) first blogged here…

    http://blog.outer-court.com/forum/18357.html
    :) -

    /pd

    1 Feb 06 at 7:06 pm

  6. Oh I forgot to mention its a german based blogger, a -2hr difference in terms of time from the uk based Times !!

    /pd

    1 Feb 06 at 7:08 pm

  7. I posted news on this to Google Blogoscoped at 05:22:19pm EST. I’m in Germany so for me it was deep night ;)

    Philipp Lenssen

    2 Feb 06 at 2:26 am

  8. How real-time is the blogosphere?…

    I just came across this blog post after seeing Robert Scoble post a link to it.
    At 4:02PM (Eastern), Google poststheir Q4 earning results on the Business Wire. The big, big news (definitely the biggest news out of the valley for today) is that their nu…

  9. How real-time is the blogosphere ?…

    At 4:02PM (Eastern), Google posts their Q4 earning results on the Business Wire. The big, big news (definitely the biggest news out of the valley for today) is that their numbers fell short of consensus estimates. At 5:11PM Reuters posts their summary …

    A L E A

    3 Feb 06 at 12:44 pm

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