May 19, 2009

Google Reader Extends Statistics On Friends' Sharing Habits

Sharing items I find interesting in Google Reader is a major part of my social activity, as I help promote discovery of quality information to those who choose to subscribe, in a way, acting as a pro bono information filter on behalf of geeks everywhere. With streams from my Google Reader shares flowing into Socialmedian, FriendFeed, Facebook and the shared item tabulators, like ReadBurner and RSSmeme, I recognize the impact a simple mouse-click can do.

Sharing these feeds means I'm not reading my news in isolation. Friends I've connected with can make comments to my items, and should I choose, I can follow others' shared link blogs as well.

My Friends' Sharing Statistics In Google Reader

Today, the Google Reader team introduced a minor update that lets you now see just how frequently you're getting items from friends, and interestingly, you can now, for the first time in my knowledge, see how many other people are subscribed to their feed (and your own). For example, I learned today that 562 people have subscribed to my Google Reader link blog. That's still more than 5,000 behind Robert Scoble, a longtime evangelist of the practice, but only three others who I follow sport more than 100 connections.

And in case I was worried I was sharing too often, with approximately 18 shares a day, one of my connections, our friend Rob Diana, from Regular Geek, is sharing a cool 51.2 items every 24 hours, while two others are closer to me, with more than 10 shares a day.

It's almost tempting to start playing with the math to see what the downstream impact is of the shares.

If Robert Diana shares 51.2 items a day to 72 people, is that about 3,686 total views added?
If Robert Scoble shares .4 items a day to 5,889 people, does that hit 2,352 total views a day?

You get the idea.

Google Reader is trying to become more social and make the RSS reader a destination, rather than a pass-through. And I like their attempts, but it's clear more could be done. I'd like to be able to view just those feeds I subscribe to, and have the option to view friends' shares later, rather than have them combined in the same feed. I'd like to have e-mail alerts available if somebody commented on my shared items feed. I'd still like to know the most popular shared items, and most popular feeds.

But they are making good headway. Which reminds me... Didn't somebody say RSS was dead?