Want to put your ear to the ground and find out what any group of bloggers are talking about? Some types of bloggers link out to each other a lot, making it easy to see what the hot topics are (see Techmeme, or Technorati). In some circles, though, blogs don’t link to other blogs’ posts regularly. That’s why there will only be so many variations of Techmeme and why we need other tools if we want to track conversations in other parts of the blogging world.
That’s what a new service called FeedVis offers. Give it a bundle of blogs (in OPML format) and it will give you a scrollable, searchable tag cloud – a visual representation of the most-used words in a given period of time among a defined group of blogs on any topic.
Put it on Your Server
Users can put FeedVis on their servers, upload a collection of blogs in OPML format and add a list of “stop words” to exclude from those terms from the popularity contest. The end result is a beautiful scrollable and searchable chart of the most popular words being used in one day, a seven day period or throughout the recent history of that collection of blogs. Increases and decreases in usage are displayed and clicking on any word will bring up the recent blog posts where it was found.
There’s a demo site available at FeedVis for up to 100 blogs, but there’s not a way to upload a list of words to exclude so the analysis is of limited quality. In the example above, for example, you can see some very likely candidates for words that should be excluded from a group of education bloggers. You can see the interface on the demonstration site though and it looks quite handy.
The source code to put FeedVis on your own server is quite simple and easy to customize. We think a lot of people could find this service useful.