March 30, 2008

RSSMeme Helps Bloggers Know What Their Readers Like

RSSMeme, now two months old, has carved out an interesting niche in the shared links aggregation market, first forged by Mario Romero's FeedHeads application on Facebook, and later seeing ReadBurner and RSSMeme crowd in for availability on the Internet as a whole.

One of RSSMeme's so-far unique options is for a blog author to drill down and see how frequently each of their own blog posts have been shared on Google Reader link blogs. For those authors who have a variety of topics, RSSMeme can help gain yet another level of insight into what readers are finding most interesting, as well as saying what topics should be avoided in the future. As RSSMeme has the largest easily accessible library of Google Reader shared link blogs, it provides a good sounding board for the many popular tech blogs users are subscribed to.

To be counted among the most popular shared items on RSSMeme, an item would need at least 50 shares to achieve the weekly leaderboard, and nearly 100 shares for the all-time leaderboard. But for small fry like me, I can tell that one of my own items can be considered "popular" when it has as many as a dozen shares, and most popular items occasionally cross the 20 threshold. (See my RSSMeme page here)

Looking at my dedicated RSSMeme page, of the 20 items listed there, I had a total of 232 shares (as of 5 p.m. Sunday), for an average of 11.6 shares per item. Of these 20 items, five had as many as 18 shares or more apiece, including "Our Unborn Kids Will Wear Your Web 2.0 Schwag (18)", "LinkedIn Company Detail Shows Silicon Valley Carousel (20)", "In Blogging and RSS, Headlines Can be Make or Break (19)", "Duncan Riley Misses the Point of FriendFeed (19)" and "ReadBurner to Return With New Ownership (21)". Each of these items had a technology/Web feel to it, as did those items which fell just behind.

On the other side of things, three posts only had one measly share. Of those three, two were stories I wrote about baseball, and one was about having to use my old PowerBook. As Yuvi Panda, the once and future stat king, wrote me not too long ago, "One thing that you seem to like writing about but people don’t really pay too much attention to is sports." Looks like he was right.

This level of disparity becomes even more pronounced with the more popular subscribed blogs.

TechCrunch's last 20 items range from 3 and 4 shares for a pair of stories on Yahoo! to 72 and 81 shares for a pair of stories on FriendFeed. (See: RSSMeme: TechCrunch)

ReadWriteWeb's last 20 items show one item on Microsoft's SilverLight gained only 2 shares, while a review of Toluu racked up 45 and Sarah Perez's comments on good UI design got 70. (See: RSSMeme: Read/Write Web)

And Robert Scoble bottoms out at 2 shares for highlighting a recent video with Mashable, but peaks at 86 for revealing the secret to Twitter. Other hot topics gaining about 40 shares each was a post saying FriendFeed would trump TechMeme or Google Reader, and saying TechCrunch's Michael Arrington had the wrong goals for assembling a "Dream Team". ( See: RSSMeme:

RSSMeme has done more than just tally the most popular shared items on Google Reader, and display publicly available link blogs. You can now visit any shared blog's dedicated page, and get a visual approximation for how frequently the site's readers are hitting share in Google Reader, and what topics those who read RSS feeds like.

If you have a blog with an RSS feed, I encourage you to go to, do a search for your name, and see what your readers like. It'll even tell you who shared what, and isn't that the kind of direct feedback you're looking for?

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