I’m taking a break from my St. Brigid posts to tell you about a new site that’s launching today — KnittingFriends.com, and to share with you an interview with Vishen Lakhiani — the co-founder of MindValley.com (the incubator for KnittingFriends.com).
I’m excited to be announcing this today because it reflects the convergence of my personal passion (knitting) and my professional life (as some of you may know I’m in web services management).
KnittingFriends.com is a free daily service to help you get at some of the highlights of current knitblog content (more on just how this works below). If you’re like me, there have been times when you just couldn’t keep up with your blog reading — maybe you went on vacation, maybe there was a big life event, maybe you were sick, or maybe you were too busy with work. How many of us have done a “mark all as read” in our RSS reader just to dig out from under the slew of blog posts that were written during that time? Or, maybe you’ve pared down the list of blogs that you read because you just couldn’t keep up with it all. And even though you knew you’d miss out on something good, you had to do it because there just wasn’t enough time to fit it all in.
This is where KnittingFriends.com can help. By doing a little math it will present you with a list of the hottest knitblog posts. You can get a quick update of what’s happening just by reading the highlight page. Then, if you find a blog that interests you, you can get a list of other posts from that blogger that were highlighted as well.
That’s why this excites the knitter in me. As for the web professional in me, I’m thrilled to see another Web 2.0 effort targeted at knitting. Given the stereotypical images of a knitter that often come to mind, I expected it to take longer for us knitters to get to take advantage of Web 2.0 features and functionality.
What is Web 2.0?
While there is some controversy over how to define Web 2.0, for the purposes of my post I’m referring to social-networking, collaboration, blogging, all while continuing to acknowledge that content is still king. (yes, ravelry is a Web 2.0 site)
And that’s really what make KnittingFriends.com so interesting. As the number of knitblogs increases, it becomes even more difficult for us to wade through everything that’s out there.
If you’re curious about everything that Web 2.0 has to offer, here are a few links to get you started:
What Vishen has to say
Vishen took some time out of his very busy schedule to talk to me for a bit about today’s launch.
[savannahchik knits] Today is a big day for SocialRank – KnittingFriends.com is just one of 30 new communities that are launching. Congratulations – that’s a huge undertaking. What made you choose knitting as one of the subject areas for today’s release?
[Vishen Lakhiani] Well, when we were researching niches to pursue, we discovered the knitting was a BIG niche on the net. Not many people know this, but it’s one of the hottest niches on the net and has a very loyal following.
[sk] Well, I don’t think you’ll have to convince many of us knitters that this is the case.
Tell us a little bit about the service – what does it provide and why will knitters and knitbloggers find it useful?
[VL] On the internet, there are literally thousands of blogs dedicated to knitting. It’s wonderful to have all this choice, but it also causes a problem. On any given day, several hundred new blog posts on knitting go up.
If you were interested in knitting, but have limited time, how would you find the hottest knitting stories and articles? It’s difficult to identify what posts are great, and what are poor or mediocre.
Think of television. We have several hundred channels to choose from. But we know what to pay attention too thanks to TV guides, Nielsen Ratings or critic reviews of TV shows. All these things act as filters to help us separate what’s good from what’s junk. They allow us to better spend our time in front of the TV as opposed to random channel surfing.
The same applies to books. We have NY Times Best Sellers list, Amazon recommendations and book reviews to help us find the best reads from the thousands of books published annually.
But what about blogs? Particularly knitting blogs?
Sites do exist to help people find great content on blogs. Sites like Digg or Redditt that allow users to vote on hot articles. But these sites have a very specific audience. Young males. Any stories on knitting that a site like Digg would quickly dissappear due to lack of interest from Digg’s mostly male audience.
This is where KnittingFriends.com comes in. We provide a filter to help knitting enthusiast easily sort through hundreds of daily stories on Knitting and quickly find the best and most important news.
Every day, we’ll reveal the 15 hottest Knitting stories for the day. Some might come from prominent knitting blogs, but other may come from sources you may never have heard of. You find better content, faster and easier than before.
[sk] The service is currently free to users. Do you plan to generate revenue just via ads, or are there long-term plans to offer some kind of pay-for premium service at some point?
[VL] It’s completely free and is ad supported, just like Google.
[sk] Today’s featured blogs and blog entries – how did they get on the list?
[VL] We started out by asking a few prominent knitting bloggers to help us build a list of noteworthy knitting blogs. These blogs then get analyzed by SocialRank. We monitor their posts and identify the most important content for the day.
We’ll grow this initial pool of blogs soon to perhaps 1,000 knitting blogs.
[sk] How often do these lists change? Daily? More often?
[VL] The lists change daily. Although sometimes a particularly good post may remain on the list for more than a day. But typically the lists change daily so you’re always discovering fresh, new, knitting articles.
[sk] Do you offer an RSS feed?
[VL] Yes, we’re still in beta. But RSS is coming soon!
[sk] What if someone notices a favorite blog of theirs is not being listed – is there a way to submit it to KnittingFriends.com?
[VL] Absolutely – we’ll be unveiling a system to submit new blogs soon.
[sk] Some of my favorite blogs are multilingual or not in English at all. Will they be included in KnittingFriends.com, or is this service only for blogs written in English?
[VL] Right now, it’s only for English blogs. We do have some multilingual socialrank sites launching in the coming months. If we find for example, that knitting is also a hot category in say France, we may launch a site for French knitting blogs.
[sk] Is there anything else you’d like to add?
[VL] Yes. You may be wondering why a bunch of computer geeks like us picked knitting. Well, I just became a father. My wife and I have been at home for the last 12 days with our newborn son Hayden, who was born on September 18th. Kristina (my wife) started knitting again upon becoming a mother. She finds it very relaxing and it’s really nice to be able to make our own winter clothing for Hayden.
[Here] is a picture Kristina’s latest creation. A doll outfit.
So when we were coming up with categories to launch, I added knitting and motherhood to the list.
Speaking of which, our site for mothers also launches on [today]. It’s called TheMomsWorld.com.
Thanks, Vishen, for giving us a little background on KnittingFriends.com.
I encourage you all to check out all the topics areas that socialrank covers. You’ll find subjects such as photoblogs, mathematics, entrepreneurship, and celebrity gossip and news. note: some of these may not yet be available but they’re all scheduled to launch today