The design of Blog Muse could be used to increase page hits and improve the focus of blog writers. Blog Muse is an application that is currently in development by IBM. Are you an established blogger that experiences writers block when it’s time to produce content that will appeal to your readers? Are you a new writer that doesn’t know what your audience would like to read about? It appears that this new technology presented at the 2010 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Savannah, Georgia could one day be your answer.
The program currently named Blog Muse is designed to maximize reader to writer interaction. It works by asking blog readers what they would like to read about. Keeping your readers interested is key to maximizing page hits. The information that the reader provides to Blog Muse is used to create topics that are then transferred to blog writers. The writers can choose whether or not they want to use the suggested topics provided by Blog Muse. The idea of Blog Muse is to focus a blog directly to each writer’s particular audience.
The Blog Muse designers conducted their test study using BlogCentral, an IBM-internal blogging site with about 15,000 different blogs. Blog Muse developers surveyed 1000 blog users to gain an idea about what level of topic variance most writers feel comfortable with. They used that data to determine an acceptable level of intrusion writers will allow without feeling like their creative expression is being hindered. The developers broke the survey participants down into particular categories. They took in input across the whole blog spectrum of participation. From readers only that never write or comment (lurkers as they call them) all the way to writers that create frequent entries in their blog.
The surveys showed that most blog writers will not accept a topic that they are not interested in. Although the surveys did show that if a reader wanted to read about a certain topic, then the writer would be more open to writing about that particular topic. Writers know that higher reader interest means more page hits on your blog. The results of the survey data confirmed what the designers hypothesized. That reader writer interaction is the best way to create quality blog entries and reader interest.
How it works
If a reader wants to read about a topic but he cannot find a blog entry that satisfies his needs, then he can submit his topic to Blog Muse. Blog Muse will then redirect that idea to a writer who is likely to write on the readers’ topic. If a writer is found then the reader will receive a notification from Blog Muse, which means guaranteed page hits for the blog writer. Blog Muse also included a feature named “ask for a blog post”. Instead of targeting a particular request to a particular writer, this feature allows the writer to see what ideas readers are looking for. This feature is supposed to provide “inspiration” to the writer.
Blog Muse was developed by IBM and right now it is for IBM. It is an application that they developed to increase internal social interaction and information sharing. They determined that not all of their goals were achieved by Blog Muse. They wanted to increase blog writing and that did not happen. What they did discover is that the quality of the blogs increased, and the number of reader comments on blogs that used Blog Muse increased. There was no information provided about increased readership. The suggestions that blog muse targeted to specific writers were rated as good suggestions 64% of the time. The topics that were random topic suggestions were only rated as good 37% of the time.
Although Blog Muse is an internal program that is designed for use at IBM that does not mean that it will not reach widespread use. The corporate applications of a program like Blog Muse are obvious. Every corporation wants to increase idea sharing, problem solving and social interaction. Once Blog Muse reaches the performance levels that IBM wants it to achieve then I would not be surprised to see an application like Blog Muse helping us to write on the internet. The concept behind the program can appeal to not only blog sites but also those pesky advertisers that are seeking a targeted audience. As of right now we do not have blog muse; I guess that we will still have to overcome our writers block the old fashioned way.