Feedburner is launching Feedburner Networks in a few months. This service is like a moderated group blog. Or an invite-only stream.
This is nothing that someone couldn't create on their own right now, feedburner already allows you to set up feeds with RSS content from a variety of locations.
But this would be sanctioned by Feedburner, giving the consumer some confidence that the content was of a certain level of quality.
Brad Feld is coordinating the VC blog feed.
There are a variety of concerns that come up with this. And before Feedburner goes all Calacanis on me, I'll remind them that concerns are well meaning thoughts meant to improve a product idea.
The first is that part of the power of the blogosphere is its inherent chaos. As a reader, the wisdom of the crowds effect comes out of a sampling of blogs based on the conversation and not necessarily the writer. As moderators start to select writings from various authors, it is likely that the screening process will screen out the bulk of blog writers. As this happens, the personality will start to dominate the message.
As writers, blog feeds are proxies for actual site visits. As people read aggregated feeds, individual authors will lose their ability to track their audience and, hence, their ability to know if they are making an impact. There is no economic incentive for writers to belong to an aggregated feed. If I'm write here, there's little attention-economy reason. So the only incentive would be social. (Note: Brad has a fair solution to this which I'll discuss below).
The conversation requires the ability to converse. Comments, trackbacks and links are the lifeblood of the conversation. Feedburner has nice tools in an individual blog to get people back to your site to leave comments. They also use Technorati (which sometimes works) to track others who quote that post. But an aggregated feed is a different animal. There should be tools specific to it ... threaded comments that can refer to multiple postings, the ability to reintroduce comments into the feed, in essence, a way to capitalize on the potential dynamic affects of a group feed.
Brad has a fix for the attention problem - simply put it's "Don't donate all your content to the shared stream."
1. While you can subscribe to the network feed, it'll also be easy toYou don't need to be clever, you just put a category in your blog called (in his case) GroupVCBlog and then use the feed for that category as your input for the group feed.
subscribe to individual feeds in the network. In addition - I just
thought of a clever way to do this from the spliced feed page, which
I'll make sure we roll in. So - you can scan the full network feed, but
then still get full feeds (easily) from individual members of the
Feedburner had better have a tag that says "Go to this author's blog" at the bottom of each post - or few will participate.
A site with an excellent conversation engine that can be easily accessed by any blog or blogger would be a great way to solve my last point.
The first point is the harder one to solve. That's the real problem - the social issues that require a bit more finesse.
Feld Thoughts: FeedBurner Networks - The Venture Capital Network
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