A long time ago Mike started to talk to me about this vision he had of 9rules where you were presented with content based on what your friends were looking at. Almost like a recommendation system helping to point you towards new content. In a sense we have something similar to this in existence today with sites such as del.icio.us and Digg. However, they don’t fully utilize the social potential of their user base and many times you are left finding stuff either on your own or going to what the public deems important and in many cases you will find that the wisdom of crowds does not work in your favor.
I was reminded of this last week when I began work on a new section of 9rules and more recently after reading The New Portals: It’s the Bread, Not the Peanut Butter over at TechCrunch. The article talks about how Facebook and other similar platforms are becoming the new portals for the web. In this case however, don’t think about Yahoo type portals, but portals based around the network of online people you connect with.
If you use Facebook you know that you can keep track of almost everything your friends do on the site and whatever they decide to update. If they are reading a new book you are made aware of their status or if they are even just changing their mood. This is fun for a while until you get overloaded to the point where the information just isn’t useful to you anymore.
What we are looking at is how mini-networks of people (you and your friends) can help each other find great content. This happens to an extent on del.icio.us, but the site isn’t really setup with social features in mind. Ma.gnolia takes it a step further, but still seems to fall short on the social aspects that can be implemented in such an environment. It could happen on a more macro level at Digg, but again you are more at the mercy of the crowd than your friends. StumbleUpon is another great example of a recommendation system implemented almost to perfection (for what it does).
What we are looking at is a system that works on helping you find great content on a macro-network and micro-network level. In a sense the original 9rules worked on a micro-level because it was us finding the great content and sharing it with you. With 9rules Notes we were able to create a system where anyone could help create great content and bring it together on one site for people to find. Now, we are looking at creating something where you start to help us and your network of my.9r friends find great content because although we are good, we can only find so much great content around the web by ourselves.