Automated memetracking

The original concept for memewatch involved a lot more than me just blogging trends, fads, and popular terms of expression. I was hoping to do some analysis of the rise and fall of expressions in various net domains. (The example I always pitched people was tracking the appearance of the phrase “six degrees of kevin bacon” month by month through usenet in the late ’90s.) I wasn’t sure how to do this automatically, but I figured it could be graphed and people could come in and give search terms and get them graphed.

For a while we had a mailing list but it was going nowhere. Since then the Lycos 50 and Google Zeitgeist and Tensegrity’s zeitgeist page and Daypop and Blogdex and Blogpop and Technorati and Lafayette all purport to notice what words are hot online in speech on any given day. (I should of course be making a sidebar or link list with sites like that, if I’m not going to do the work myself, but I’m too lazyweb to even do that yet.)

So now the metameme of the moment is word bursts. Some scientist publishes something, the New Yorker writes about an artwork version of echelon, and Daypop follows its recent addition of a blogrank listing (we’re number 83!) with a page called Daypop Top Word Bursts. [UPDATE: It appears that this blog is on that list today, thanks once again to the reverse cowgirl, for getting me to use word No. 18 in today’s burst, “beaver.”]

As usual, Phil Gyford beat everyone to the punch.