Can You Use Aids To Help Conversations?

Can You Use Aids To Help Conversations?

Oh I just love it when someone shows me a cool tricks that makes life easier (and interesting)!

So I’m very pleased Christy Tucker showed me how to do a Quick and Dirty Comment Analysis using aidRSS. More importantly aidRSS is actually designed to help people like Ann, Confessions of an Oversubscribed Reader, find the “best posts” from blog feeds to reduce information overload.

What is aidRSS

AidRSS monitors a blog feed by creating PostRank™ for the posts based on the amount of conversation generated (combination of number of comments, links, tweets, Diggs and Google trackbacks). The higher the PostRank score the better the post is considered in terms of conversation.

PostRank score is used to sort the posts into Good Posts, Great Posts, Best Posts and Top 20 Posts. The idea is you make your RSS subscription manageable by subscribing to the AidRSS feed for the “best posts” from a feed (e.g you may choose to limit your subscription to the “Great Posts only”).

Example of AidRSS conversations

Using AidRSS to Analyse Your Posts

Image on the right shows the different ways aidRSS analyzes a conversation.

As Christy Tucker points out initially your blog’s analysis is limited to recent activity whereas she has used previously so results display back to July, 2007.

Here is the analysis for All My Posts for my Mobile Technology in TAFE blog:

Image of All Posts Analysis

Compared to Good Posts:

Image of Good Posts

And Great Posts

Image of Great Posts

Finally Top 20 Posts

Image of Top 20

When aidRSS Top 20 Ranked posts are compared to Google Analytics data for Top Content (shown as GA Rank for 1 Dec, 2007 to present) you get a slightly different picture of your top posts:

Image of Google Analytics comparision

My thoughts are:

  • Google Analytics is good for showing how visitors to your web page interact with your content — as it provides information on the number of people who visit your web site.
  • AidRSS provides a different view from Google Analytics by showing readers responses to your content
  • Feedburner is important for knowing how many people are subscribing to your blog

What I’ve found interesting (but not necessarily surprising), especially when I analyzed The Edublogger, were some posts were popular in terms of bookmarking but not generating comments. For example, How I Use RSS To Make My Life Easier was bookmarked 16 times in but only received 7 comments. Why? Because it was mainly sharing information. Whereas my Share Your Blogging Experience & Tips For Participants of Open PD post generated comments, with thought provoking conversations, because it contained very little information and instead asked readers to share their experiences.


Plenty of food for thought for me and thanks Christy for the cool tip! Meanwhile I going to say Comment Challenge Day 18: Analyze the Comments on Your Own Blog can be ticked off 🙂 .

What are your thoughts on AidRSS? Are there any other similar type tools that I should check out?

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7 thoughts on “Can You Use Aids To Help Conversations?

  1. Hi Sue,
    AideRSS is neat. I like the the fact that you can subscribe to specific settings for feeds from busy blogs such as Read-Write Web, etc.
    But the best feature is the AideRSS Google Reader Firefox Add-on that ranks the blog posts in Google Reader as well as adding a Comments link for each post within the Reader plus other features.
    Cheers, John

  2. Sue:
    Summer vacation begins in three weeks and AidRSS will certainly be on my list of things to look at. From your post, it looks like it would be useful for analyzing one blog, but not a readers worth of blog entries. Does that seem to be the case?

    I have my blog in StatCounter and FeedBurner. I have a Google Analytics account from years ago, but have never really used it on my blog. One of the truly fun parts of blogging is taking the time to analyze how people use the information on my blog. I’ve found the same correlation that you mention. When I ask a question I receive many more comments. When I post “how to” type articles, I find people arrive at the posts via Google searches for a topic.

    It is always interesting to have another tool to test for my tool belt.

  3. Hi Sue,

    Great overview on AideRSS functionality. The work pertaining to blogger interaction management is certainly the stuff I find most fascinating. As you note, you can see not just what gets traction, but where, and what types of posts are recorded/discussed on which platforms. Great web culture analysis.

    Beyond managing your own feed, of course, we’ve integrated with Google Reader, NewsGator, Trawlr and whatnot to manage all RSS subscriptions. And we’ve got some really cool stuff coming down the pipes. Stay tuned!

  4. Thanks for the links – some potentially useful stuff there. 🙂

    I’ve noticed that there are, in essence, two types of blog post:

    1. Those that provide information to readers.
    2. Those that serve as conversation-starters.

    It’s the second type of blog posts that get the most comments, but that doesn’t mean that the first type aren’t actually the most valuable.

    Can I also point out the (fairly obvious) fact that if everyone did this then the whole system it’s predicated upon would collapse. Everyone would be waiting for everyone else to comment! 😉

  5. Kia ora Sue!

    Thanks for directing me to this post!

    I didn’t find this when I was on the Challenge for a number of reasons. One was that I had The Edublogger in my RSS (as your blog site) and I hadn’t found this site at that time. Even if I’d come across it I doubt whether I’d have understood what it was all about, since I’d been blogging for only a couple of weeks or so.

    AideRSS certainly gives some useful data for thought. I’ll be poking about with it, you betcha.

    Ka kite

  6. Sorry everyone having two blogs sometimes makes me lose track of which comments I have responded to so apologies for some really late response.

    @John Yes I like the idea of being able to just subscribe to the top posts from sites that are post a lot. Thanks for telling me about the add-on. I don’t know about you but I find that the Shared Google reader is also a good way of filtering posts.

    @Ann “From your post, it looks like it would be useful for analyzing one blog, but not a readers worth of blog entries.” Not sure if I understand.

    I’ve not looked at my “how to” articles to see if there is traffic coming from Google – should have thought of that. But it is interesting to see that sometimes posts with low comments have high bookmarking.

    @Melanie I really love all the different aspects of AidRSS and it defintitely provides a different view of how people interact with your blog. Glad you like my overview and look forward to further changes you make to AidRSS.

    @Doug Glad you like the link. You have me thinking about the types of blog posts. We could add to that – there is also announcement posts, fund raising posts etc. Might be an interesting topic for a blog post on the different types of posts and what they are trying to achieve.

    Information posts are interesting since you want to provide adequate information but you would also like to still achieve interaction with your readers. I try to leave questions at the end asking readers to share their thoughts of how they use or suggestions for other ways.

    Conversation starters are interesting posts because they can be written many ways but some methods work better than others. I like Chris Brogan post that was one sentence but achieved 68 comments. Now that is skill.

    @Ken I know that Edublogger likes to dominate 🙂 so I’m glad you found my personal blog. I think you are correct tools like AidRSS are for the more experienced blogger which is why I posted it on this blog. Have fun poking around with it.

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