Explore the world of blogs around you

Aug 31, 2007

This week we added a “Blog Explorer” to Lijit. We’ve done a lot of cool stuff here at Lijit, but I think this might be the coolest thing yet! What is it? Basically, it’s an animated interactive way to surf around the blogosphere, seeing how blogs link to each other.

It’s funny that social networks have been around for years now, but all the major networks still show your friends in boring lists. We’re pretty excited about the Blog Explorer because it represents a giant leap in graphically showing relationships between people.

Here’s a screenshot of it in action:

I’ll describe the three colored zones below, but you can probably figure it out just by playing with it. Click here to try it now.

You can launch the Blog Explorer from the Lijit Search Wijit on any blog. Look for it at the bottom next to the Lijit logo.
Wijit with Explorer

The three sections around the center blog show how the blogs are related.

Blogs in the green zone at the top are friends with each other; they list each other on their blogrolls. In the screenshot above you can see that I’m friends with Ben Casnocha. I have Ben in my blogroll and he has me in his.

Blogs in the blue zone to the right are on the blogroll of the center blog, but not vice versa. For example, I list BoingBoing, but they don’t list me. (Maybe someday!)

Blogs in the orange zone at the left are blogs that list the center blog in their blogrolls, but the center blog doesn’t list them. They are fans of the center blog.

Below the center blog is a detail box showing the URL of the blog, and accounts that the blog owner has on other services. In the screenshot above you can see that I have accounts on Delicous, Twitter, YouTube, and MyBlogLog.

This is our first version, so there are a few limitations to what you can do. Right now the system only knows about blogs that are within 2 degrees of Lijit users. “2 degrees” means that we include blogs that are on the blogroll of Lijit user blogs, and also blogs on those blogrolls. If your blog doesn’t show up, sign up now. Also, we show a maximum of 21 blogs in each zone. We’ll allow you to show more blogs in future versions.

But don’t worry, a lot of good things are in the pipe for future releases. Most importantly, we’re beginning a crawl of the entire blogosphere. We also will be inluding additional relationships besides blogrolls. First up will be your social networks from Delicious and MyBlogLog, with Twitter, Facebook, and more on the way.

We hope you enjoy playing with our new toy. And of course, let us know what you think. This is just the beginning of a whole new way to navigate and use social connections on the internet.

  • I definitely dig it.

  • Cool stuff.

  • Don Jones

    I like it!

    I didn't know what the significance of the colors was until Brad Feld and you explained them. Perhaps you could put some kind of one-word legend near each group - Fans, Friends and some other F-word (!) for whom the blogger in the center is a fan of...

    I am very interested in visual representation of data - I have a database and I'm looking around for ideas to present the data in new, visually stimulating and illuminating ways. I think you're on to something here.

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