Adam Penenberg: Dave Sifry, founder and CEO of Technorati — a real-time search engine that tracks the latest happenings in the blogosphere — gleaned some valuable insights from working with CNN during the Democratic Convention in July.

Television, he realized, is a moment-to-moment medium that lives and dies on instant commentary. In comparison, blogging requires a slightly longer time frame, anywhere between a half hour to a week to synthesize information and spew it back with a modicum of analysis. Online news sites and wire service reports, which usually go through at least one layer of editing, take a little longer. Newspapers need a day or more, while magazines don’t hit newsstands for weeks, sometimes months.



When CNN producers, who had tapped Technorati to provide “real-time analysis of the political blogosphere,” put Sifry on the spot and told him to immediately analyze what bloggers were saying about a particular speech, he found himself facing the digital equivalent of “dead air.” So he was forced to improvise.



Standing in the Fleet Center’s “Bloggers Alley,” Sifry had to eschew Technorati’s complex algorithms that track links, memes and digital thoughts at the speed of data. Instead, he simply asked bloggers what they were thinking and then relayed their comments to CNN. In essence, Sifry was operating as a filter, collecting information from the blogosphere and repackaging it for CNN viewers in an easily digestible form.



But this was only one of many challenges he faced over the course of the convention. When bloggers did post their views, they did so en masse.



“There was so much information, so many individual voices, that it was very difficult to make sense of it all,” he said. “We realized that with so many people posting regularly, we could take advantage by using them as editors to distill the most interesting topics and articles being debated.”



That’s precisely what Technorati has done for the Republican Convention. To deal with the information overload, the company has taken 5,000 of the “most authoritative political bloggers” — determined largely by how many other bloggers link to them, as well as the content of their writings — and created what it calls the Politics Attention Index.



More here.

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