What the People Want

I’ve mentioned several times in the past that I’m working (part time, now) on a project called The Personal Bee. It’s an attempt to come up with a way of collecting and presenting RSS feeds from news sites and blogs, then giving folks (“beekeepers” — or editors) a way of repackaging the feeds and creating their own news editions (or “Bees”). There’s a lot of other functionality built in that makes the service potentially very cool: a comment feature, a way to email stories to friends, and a tool so that you can write and add your own copy to the edition. At this point, I don’t believe you’ll find anything on The Personal Bee that you can’t find, in some form, someplace else. I think what distinguishes the site/service — beyond the Bee metaphor, upon which I can hold forth at length — is the range of functionality available at one place.

Without getting into the founders’ hopes and dreams about who might use the Bee and what for, I’ll just say it’s got some serious news thinking behind it. Given that highfalutin background, it’s fascinating to see in what the early Bee audience is actually interested. We’ve got more than 130 public editions, everything ranging from venture capital to new media to the Iraq war to baseball and videogames. So which editions are most popular? The top ten include five that sound like they’re good for you — venture capital, Web 2.0, a left-right opinion collection, a tech news roundup, and “headline news” — and five that are pure fluff: YouTube (by far the most visited), reality TV, “Survivor” (the TV show), indie music, and general movie stuff.

The edition that focuses on Iraq? It’s about the 100th most popular.

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