Viral blogging

Recently, I stumbled upon a site called “soup”. Which, in essence, is something like a collective dump for things people find on the Intertubes. You can post texts, quotes, images, music and videos, with a handy bookmarklet that reduces the time between finding things on the Intarweb and them showing up on your soup page to a couple of seconds. And the intra-soup performance is also remarkably: every user can repost another user’s content with the simple click of a button. Coupled with a simple subscription/”friends” system which allows you to view a unified stream of your friends’/friends of a friend’s content, you can literally see content explode over soup in waveforms (tracking of which is aided by soup registering who reposted from whom and who reposted an item you put into the stream).

Of course there’s a few chinks here and there, but all in all, it works remarkably well. There’s features like endless scrolling on the friends pages, and even some statistics for you analysts out there. On a side note, I’m waiting for content propagation studies concerning this site, it’s bound to be only a matter of time.

I started wondering what you could call the concept, this “soup principle”. And in a fit of minor madness yesterday, revelation struck me: soup is viral blogging. And “blog” referring in the direction of what earlier weblogs were about – a sort of drop box for content you found on the Internet and wanted to share (which was rather important when you didn’t just google everything), not the heaps of self-centered content creation these days, barring exceptions.

Blogs usually come in two major forms, when regarding the content. There’s the topic-centered ones (like, for example, the German Netzpolitik (“net politics”) – I’m not really into the whole blog thingie culture that developed yonder the pond, so just think of your own examples), which occupy themselves with mainly a single topic, which can be broad. Journalistic styles are often used, establishing reports of information scrapable from the Internet, occasionally including genuine (and potentially offline) “original” information. The other kind of blog would be the person-specific ones, with topics ranging from personal experiences in life, like complaining about the craftsmen who just fucked up their kitchen or what size of load they put in the crapper that day, to discoveries they made on the Internet. But, mostly, they concern themselves with creation of content, not repetition.

Soup picks up somewhere there, but in contrast it focusses mainly on repetition; you put things in the soup, and others stir it. You can add original content, which gives the soup a better (or, well, different) flavour, but it’s mostly about seeing what others posted and reposting it. And in that sense, it’s viral: you inject something into the loop, and it just gets propagated from person to person, sitting in their soups.

The effect is noticeable in normal blogs, too, but the originality factor people try to introduce muddles the effect – blogs are a highly subjective matter, as opposed to news sites and similar, and usually don’t try to fuzz about it. But something like soup, which just by its format (you can add files and a description – and actual text is a different item from e.g. images) suggests you not to blow things out of proportions, and just be the one who notices and shares.

This can be seen as good, and also bad, but it leads to new ways of what you might define as subjective: in being choosy about what you repost. Since you’re limited to small morsels of data, except the heaps of noise concealing data, you have to express yourself in a mosaic way of things – if you want to express yourself at all. But, nevertheless, it allows you to put your own stamp on things in a deceptively easy way, and thus, can be considered blogging.

It’s getting exciting.