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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MyAllTop and Topic Hubs

I had just finished posting about Networks and Topic Hubs when I saw the announcements around the launch of MyAllTop (1, 2, 3).  The reviews are somewhat mixed, and I'm certainly sitting here scratching my head.

I always perceived Alltop as a way to build Topic Hubs.  This is a similar, but limited, form of what we are doing around sites like eLearning Learning, Mobile Learning, Informal Learning Flow, Communities and Networks Connection.  The goal of a topic hub is to bring quality content together around particular topics to make it more accessible to people who are not familiar with the bloggers and other information sources in the space.  If you look at AllTop itself, that's the value proposition they talk about as well – but using the magazine rack – casual browsing – metaphor.

But why MyAlltop?

What's confusing to me is the value of providing a means for person oriented topic hubs and the limitation to only feeds that already exist?

Are people going to adopt this as their new start page?  Doubtful – there are much better tools for this.  And MyAlltop forces everything to be public.

Instead, this is definitely a way for you to broadcast your interests.  But, there are also lots of other ways to do this.

I really don't get this.

It must be on a trajectory towards something more like what's happening with Topic Hubs.

Thoughts?

7 comments:

Barry Sampson said...

I don't get this either, but then I don't get Alltop at all. People seem to get very excited about it, but as far as I can see it's an aggregator where someone else chooses the content for you, and decides how it will be presented to you.

Very web 1.3.

Nancy Devine said...

i'm one of those people excited about my alltop. i am going to use it as a tool for myself, as a means to organize content so i can look through it quickly to prioritize for later reading. and i'm not going to stop subscribing to blogs because of it. i'll keep the feeds for those in my google reader.
i'm not all that sure anyone else would want to look at my alltop page.
i also think i'm going to seriously consider my alltop as a way to get my students reading more. i'll have to look at alltop areas of interest other than my own.
i'm still entertaining learning yahoo pipes, so i can make a very personal feed for myself.

Matt said...

Seems like MyAllTop could be useful for those not comfortable with RSS... or as an intro to feeds. But personally, I agree with you, I don't see the value.

Cammy Bean said...

The mashable post mentions it as a good tool for the more mainstream user. Perhaps you're too deep into all of this to see it's value?

I could see browsing this on an occasional basis. There are already so many ways to get the content I want -- I don't need someone to try and hand me my own PLE.

howardjohnson said...

I use Alltop like a rss browser. Its easier and quicker than a google or google blog search, but if I had that many rss feeds, I would never be able to wade through all of them. I read rss daily and go to Alltop occasionally to scan what else might be going on.

Sreya Dutta said...

Tony, I just created an account at alltop after reading your post. Once logged in i really wasn't able to figure out what to do next, i couldn't even find my way back to the homepage. Event he UI seems to have some errors. Even clicking a Next button opens up another window. Honestly, I don't think AllTop will go a long way if it remains this way.

Sreya

Tony Karrer said...

Thanks for the feedback on this. Maybe I'm not giving it the credit it deserves. Maybe it really could be a gateway in that it's a combination of an RSS Reader type thing and a set of vetted sources.

My guess is that they were really thinking of it as something other than that - making many different public portals.