June 07, 2008

RSSMeme is the Authority on Google Reader Sharing Notes

One month after the Google Reader team added the capability to add personal notes to shared items from RSS feeds, it hasn't been entirely clear whether this feature has been a tremendous success, a dud, or somewhere in between. But Benjamin Golub, author of RSSmeme, a shared items tabulator and statistics tracker, has amassed a wealth of data on these notes, which puts RSSmeme to the forefront as far as a resource for measuring their use.

I personally may share a few dozen stories on my Google Reader shared items feed per day. But I have, so far, stayed away from adding notes to the items I share, preferring to let those who may follow my feed get the item, uncluttered by my own graffiti. In fact, I am less willing to reshare an item from another person's link blog whom I am subscribed to for that same reason, not wanting to pass their own notes to my readers.

But while I'm lagging in my early adopter responsibilities, Golub reports that nearly 30,000 shared items in Google Reader that flowed through RSSmeme were tagged with notes in the last month, just over 13% of all stories. (See: More Google Reader Notes Statistics) The average item with notes had 1.44 notes per story, meaning there is a 44% chance that once an item gets a note, it will get a second one also. These 42,000+ notes, Benjamin shows, were created by just over 4,200 users, at 10 notes apiece, or one per individual user every three days.

While I've not yet embraced the notes, I have embraced RSSmeme's showing me when people added a note to my own items. Through use of the product's FeedFlare, I can see not just how many shares an item has, but I can see if it has notes, and click through to see what somebody said about my post. Now, if I see "Shared 15 times with one note", I often click on the alert and am directed to RSSmeme's dedicated item page to see who said what. Rather than subscribe to a boatload of linkblogs, RSSmeme can act as the conduit between the blog author and the person sharing and noting.

Is RSSmeme's cool integration enough for me to start adding my notes to Google Reader shared items? Probably not. As Drew Olanoff of ReadBurner noted on our weekly podcast earlier, I am already pushing a lot of new items in and sharing every day. I don't think I need to add commentary to each one. But for those who like it, and aren't acting as a fountain of noise, RSSmeme's capabilities are very useful.