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David Sifry: “An incredible lesson in civics…”


     David Sifry talks with me for a half hour here about his Technorati page. 


     Continuously reading more than 700,000 Weblogs, introducing writers to their readers and noting just who’s linking to whom, Technorati is for me the simplest clearest sketch we have of the coming wonderworld.  I depend especially on the rolling count of the “Top 50 Interesting Recent Blogs With Context.” Technorati is an editorial conference without editors–Jeff Jarvis’s dream come true.  It defines an open, egalitarian, potentially universal community of news and opinion.  It’s a “semiotic democracy” in which every blogger counts.  It’s also an invention that brings the most compelling subjects and comments to the fore.  It doesn’t dictate a consensus, but it composes a moment-to-moment “front page” of buzz in a bigger and bigger network of participating minds.  Most marvelous to me, it is all the work of one man and his amazing machine.  There’s nobody else, it turns out, under the Technorati hood.


     Technorati was born in a flash around Thanksgiving last year, as David Sifry recounts.  It is a means of counting the “votes of attention” that bloggers give eachother.  With a fresh appreciation of both the voting and the counting, he can see “an incredible lesson in civics for a new generation” that had almost abandoned politics.  And it’s a people’s tool, obviously, not just against political hackery but against “industrialized media.”  David Sifry was coy about the blogs he reads and admires, but you can check the blog roll on his personal page, Sifry’s Alerts, which like Technorati has become must reading.

{ 11 } Comments

  1. Anonymous | July 28, 2003 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Thanks for a wonderful interview!

  2. Anonymous | July 29, 2003 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    Technorati is a wonderfull tool. The only sore point about it might the red color for links which makes it a bit of strain on the eyes.

    Anyways, rock on david. Looking forward to more from you.

  3. Anonymous | July 29, 2003 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Like Sifry says, a blogger is more like a columnist than a journalist. I think that’s an important point: I’d be very reluctant to rely on blogs for my news. Opinion and buzz, yes. But not news reporting. I don’t pretend to believe that the conventional news media are objective and unbiased, but I do think that good editors and trained reporters are more likely to generate accurate reports than are bloggers. With the NY Times we at least know that there is a system and professional standards in place (which admittedly aren’t always adhered to) to present the facts as accurately as possible with a minimum of ideological spin. But bloggers have no such gatekeepers, and are free to report hearsay, or refract what they see through their ideological prisms, and call it news. And I’m not convinced that the average blog reader will be able to tell the difference.

  4. Anonymous | September 17, 2003 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I was just corresponding with Enoch Choi over at Medmusings about listening to the collected interviews. We both agreed that we loved the Real Live Preacher interview.

    What occurred to me while I was commenting on Enoch’s post was just how much you have improved your grasp and confidence in the technical arena. Back when you and Mary were doing the Connection, I never really felt that your technology shows were among your best, because I thought you weren’t trusting your gut to stand up to the guest. If someone called in and claimed that Muslims bombed themselves in the marketplace, then you’d call them on it. But I found that a lot of the technical guests got away with grandstanding, misattribution, and lazy utopian blather (Okay, I admit it, I’m thinking of Richard Stallman, who forced every caller to call Linux GnuLinux, which is about as self-aggrandizing as Henry Ford making people call the Space Shuttle the FordShuttle because they both have combustion engines and come in only one color scheme).

    This interview with Sifry is perfect proof of how far you’ve come both in understanding the technical issues and in developing your gut instinct on what kinds of questions to go after in the technical arena. It’s a big achievement to take in and be able to use such a large new area of foreign knowledge; let’s face it, most people just stick to what they started out knowing and are satisfied not to go further than that. It’s admirable to see anybody working at a field of knowledge they didn’t hail from and not giving up.

  5. Anonymous | September 29, 2003 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I was frustrated by Dave’s answer to the “what is metadata, why is it important?” question, because he jumped right to RSS. He missed an opportunity to describe all the metadata in the world that we’re already familiar with, but don’t call “metadata”. In response, I wrote an essay about it:

    http://www.nedbatchelder.com/blog/200309.html#e20030928T210943

  6. Anonymous | August 24, 2005 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Your site is realy very interesting. http://www.bignews.com

  7. Anonymous | September 16, 2005 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Your site is realy very interesting!

  8. Anonymous | October 6, 2006 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    hello makakas http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/lydon/comments?u=lydon&p=203&link=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.law.harvard.edu%2Flydon%2F2003%2F07%2F24%23a203

  9. AbWorkoutsSecrets | November 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Well, how things have changed since back in 2003 – Technorati is very alive and very well – and, in fact, has spawned a whole new industry of bookmarking. Bet they didn’t see that coming.
    Imagine what all this is going to be like in the next 7 years.

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  10. dizi | May 15, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Technorati was born in a flash around Thanksgiving last year, as David Sifry . It is a means of counting the “votes of attention” that bloggers give eachother. With a fresh appreciation of both the voting and the counting, he can see “an incredible lesson in civics for a new generation” that had almost abandoned politics. And it’s a people’s tool, obviously, not just against political hackery but against “industrialized media.” David Sifry was coy about the blogs he reads and admires, but you can check the blog roll on his personal page, Sifry’s Alerts, which like Technorati has become must reading.

  11. Student Loan Help | May 20, 2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    technorati really help us find great stuff on the net. Thank you for share ur opinion.