There’s some good stuff in there, not least the discussion of TailRank, which is the first attention-ranked content engine I’ve seen. But in light of Alex’s comments regarding OPML and attention, I thought I should clarify my thoughts as laid out in my previous post.
Alex brings up a really good point in the podcast about our OPML subscription lists being the most granular attention meta-data we really need to mine. I’d agree with him on some of his points; OPML offers a much better attention metric than what’s seems to be generally available now. I’d also agree that OPML is (almost) the only attention data that we have access to right now. In fact there are so few tools out there that can make use of your OPML to focus your attention that it’s tempting to see OPML as all we’ll ever need since when the tools catch up to the information to be mined in our OPML we’ll be so much further along than we are now.
I consider that to be a red herring. While being able to focus our individual lenses based on our OPML data will offer us so much more than we have now, with the explosive growth of new content available and soon to be available, I would argue that that granularity of attention will fairly swiftly prove to be inadequate. Almost every publisher’s content that I read contains a fair amount of information that I don’t care about, and I care deeply about content that’s not in my current reading list, and OPML as it stands now fails to capture those distinctions. For example, I subscribe to way too many feeds to keep up with right now, and it remains to be seen if I’ll subscribe to Alex’s or Kevin’s, or whether I can keep up with them if I do. But I probably will see things that they write that interest me and will probably click on them, which is where a utility like the AttentionRecorder will come in handy. Sure we can’t filter on that level of data yet, but I’m confident that it or something like it will become available to us in the future.
Even setting that aside, my comments were more towards the inadequacy of OPML as a format for the attention data that I think we’ll want, not towards the current content of OPML as it stands, because I agree wholeheartedly with Alex – there’s plenty to be mined there for now, and I want tools that use it. I am glad to see, however, that the folks at AttentionTrust agree that there’s more that can be done with the format, because IMHO their format is the closest to right, right now.
Bouns link: Matt Gertner sees attention.xml as the solution. Good points about the dubious value of jamming extra stuff into either RSS or OPML, but I still think that attention.xml is a bit crufty as it stands.