A New Blogging Feature: Automated "Social Syndication" Networks

Here’s an idea I’ve had recently that is related to the Meme Propagation experiment (see posts below on this blog for more about that ongoing experiment). The concept is for a new, meme-based, way to syndicate content across blogs. Here’s how it might work:

1. You join a “meme syndication network” by joining at a central site. You get an account where you can profile your blog. You also set your blog’s syndication inputs — a set of other blogs that are also in the network that you are willing to automatically syndicate content from.

2. When you complete this, you are given an automatically generated HTML element containing a script to put in your blog sidebar, or anywhere else in your layout. This script is auto-generated for you from a central site that manages the network. The script automatically displays short excerpts for blog postings (pieces of microcontent) that have been “picked up” by your site from your registered “inputs” in the network. You place this script in your layout.

3. In the area created by the script in your site, you see a listing of blog postings that have been syndicated to your site from your inputs. You can post to your network by going to your account at the central network site and posting (or copying in the URL for anything you want to post) there. Any network-member sites that treat your node in the network as an “input” will then *automatically* pickup your posting and display it on their page.

Using this method, you might for example, post an article and suddenly have it appear syndicated across hundreds of sites that are downstream from you in the network. Your posting would cascade from node to node, via the network of nodes that directly or indirectly treat your node as an input.

Postings to the network would last for a certain number of hours or days and then expire. Furthermore, each member’s posting list would only have room to display perhaps 20 headlines in a list form, and preference would be given to postings that are more recent and from nodes that are closer to them in the network. Perhaps postings that were more popular could somehow last longer too, and get higher preference in listings. In this way the network would act as a natural filter.

Now, let’s just add one more feature. The postings that are syndicated in this manner could be similar to the Meme in the Meme Propagation experiment. Meaning that they could have an unique GUID on them so that you could easily find all places where the meme occurs. Better, yet, they could be actual objects — so the actual posting is syndicated, rather than a copy of it. Thus when people comment on it at different blogs, they are all really commenting on the same underlying data object — so all comments and activity around the posting are part of the original posting (this is in contrast to the way many blogs do citations — where each citation to a posting is really a new posting and comments that are added to it go directly onto it rather than onto the original posting, which causes fragmentation of the conversation).

So this concept provides for a means to syndicate memes across a social network of blogs that opt-in to auto-syndicate content from one another. A meme posted to your node could quickly appear across numerous downstream nodes in your network — effectively increasing your footprint for that posting. The central site could then track the statistics of memes in the network, administer the lifespans of memes, and provide useful overviews to the community.

Anyone want to code this? Let me know. I want to use it!

2 thoughts on “A New Blogging Feature: Automated "Social Syndication" Networks”

  1. Not exactly what your describing here (which would be cool for sure)…but you could create a Rollup of all the ‘input’ feeds you want to, and then use something like Feedroll to syndicate the combined RSS feed on your site.

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