The focus of Technorati and other services on the physical dimension -- files, links, trackbacks, etc. -- leaves them blind to the underlying social reality. Those posts are written by people, they don't just appear.This is a wider issue, though, and not just about T'rati. The system as it stands, at least for the 99% of bloggers who don't have name recognition, judges influence (and by extension, competence) based on the amount of inbound links that a blog receives. This is great until you want to change your URL, or start a second project. There is no transferrable "technokarma" unless you're an a-lister with name recognition.... And even then, as Stowe Boyd's impatience with the roll-out of /Message demonstrates, there's no way to compel the audience at Project A to check you out at Project B. When you move hosts, you break a whole lot of links, and so your pages lose traction in search engine rankings, as well as in blog search engines.
Technorati should explicitly create "technokarma" which is tied to individuals, not the physical location of blogs. So, when you start a new blog, or participate in a group blog, you do not start from zero.
The blogosphere is a social system. We interact with people whose work we want to read & respond to. We don't know our readers personally, though, and we don't even know who they are in many cases. Our social interactions are limited and are without obligation, for the most part. I can ignore a comment if I want to, or delete it. I can delete a subscription whenever I want to. I can choose not to subscribe to a new blog. We choose what to read, and how seriously to take what we are reading, based on the perceived influence of the author, determined in large part by the interest expressed by other bloggers.
Possible alternatives or additional tools? How else might the blogosphere determine and represent influence? How could that influence be transferable between hosts, sites, or projects? Is a LinkedIn (or other compound) profile a good way to go? What if Feedburner had profiles for users, so that a blogger could see a list of readers? How does the Kinja model of recommended additional reading factor in? How could "technokarma" track, for regular bloggers as well as the A-listers?
Filed in: blogging, blogtech, technorati, technokarma, blogosphere