Telling you how we see the world.
Over the last few weeks, we have been testing trends in Cadmus. It is similar to trends in Twitter, but with a couple of key differences. We look at trending conversations instead of trending topics, and more importantly, this is only within your friends.
In the early days of Twitter, when I was following a handful of people, I was able to log-in every so often, read my stream and I would know what was going on. The same thing applied to RSS feeds and FriendFeed. But as you begin to follow more people, your stream starts to get noisy. It is no longer possible to read all the posts to find out what’s going on.
Contrast this with the Twitter trends feature which shows you essentially what the world is talking about. You don’t have to read the public stream to find out what’s happening. Twitter catches on to these trends and brings them to you.
So putting the two ideas together; I would really like to know “What are my friends talking about?”. And trends in Cadmus does exactly that.
We take trends a step further; instead of showing you a stream of posts about a certain topic, we show you a cluster of posts as a conversation. By trending conversations instead of topics, we help you participate in the conversations. For example, let’s say the top two trending conversations are about the new tablet announcement from Apple and the new company Google has acquired. Cadmus shows you all the posts from your friends about these topics. It also shows all the Twitter @replies as comments, so they are shown as a conversation. Now you can read what everybody is saying about these two topics in the same convenient place and then add your own comments. As opposed to reading through all the posts in a Twitter search to get a feel for what everybody thinks, and then finding the parent post to comment on.
We didn’t add trends in Cadmus just for the sake of it. We did it because we felt it fit really well with what Cadmus already does. When you log-in to Cadmus, we show you right away what you have missed since you last checked in. But what if you only glanced at the posts and didn’t have time to read them in detail. This is where trends is really useful. Let’s say you find some time over the weekend to catch up, you can simply pull up the trends for the past week and see exactly what has been going on. You can go through each post in detail and you won’t be left with the feeling that you are missing out.
Incidentally I had a chance to test this use case perfectly over the last two weeks. I was away on a “work-vacation” and didn’t really have time to keep up with what was going on. I would check in every day or so and skim through the posts. When I got back, I checked in and took a look at my trends, read through the posts and the discussions surrounding them. On the other hand, I opened up my Google Reader, marked the 1000+ new items as read and simply moved on.
We really feel the Trending Conversations feature is going to change the way people consume information through their services and it is just the beginning of all the exciting things we can do with the data. We are working to make changes to the API so we can get other applications to make use of these trends. If you are an application developer and would like to play around with the API, we would love to hear from you.
Thanks to @mliao for reading over this post.