More on the personal-trends / automated curation / relevance thread.
What’s the competition in the area?
There are companies that will help you curate your web browsing, and who leverage the wisdom of crowds to do it. Mixx, Delicious, reddit, Digg, BagTheWeb, ScoopIt, Keepstream (video), storify.com, curated.by.
Specialized sites – For instance, Flattr for charitable donations.
Work oriented – Pearltrees, DataSift.
Twitter-oriented – my6sense, friendsignal, Cadmus (including API).
Many of these activities are related to the idea of “personal trends” and personal curation idea in one way or another, with the Twitter-oriented ones being the closest to what we have written about.
Probably the closest of all is Cadmus, which, according to their website:
Groups posts into conversations; and identifies trends within your group of friends [i.e. people you follow].
Cadmus can also process RSS feeds, which is an interesting aspect of the idea. FriendSignal and my6sense both hint at personal trends, but don’t really do it (yet).
How could we think about these companies as potential competitors?
None seem very intimidating, or very well funded. Certainly, none would simply be able to crush anyone who tried to compete with them. Their existence could be viewed simply as a confirmation that personalization of social and web media is a real issue.
None seems to have “nailed” the issue as yet, either. They seem to be targeting people who are already very heavy Twitter users – a valid problem, but not as compelling as making Twitter a lot more useful without requiring work from the user. I have some thoughts on how to use relevance to target the lighter / more casual (or even newbie) Twitter user effectively using relevance that I won’t explain all of here, but which derive in part from blurring the line between your group of friends and the broader community.
On the other hand, with plenty of activity in the area, if we want to pursue personal trends, this might be the moment to go do it, to avoid a winner emerging before we even got started. And once we could produce a viable product, a key success factor would be the ability to ramp fast, to make sure that we emerged as the winner.
Overall-competition-wise, the biggest threat might be not from one of these tiny startups but an aggressive move by FaceBook or Twitter themselves.
By The Way…
Cadmus doesn’t actually appear to work for me at present, so I am taking the explanation on their web site at face value. They need a different name, too, to avoid confusion.
my6sense doesn’t work very well for me either.
For those interested, these competitors were identified primarily by i) reading the news; and ii) talking to knowledgeable people. Isn’t it amazing how, even today, so much can be learned only by talking face-to-face?
Update: friendfeed and paper.li are also both worth considering