For a while now, one of my favorite Internet “tools” has been Yahoo’s Buzz Index. The Buzz Index is a listing of the biggest movers and the top searches in Yahoo in a number of categories. You can put it right on your My Yahoo page. I like to watch the way that certain TV shows spike up the ratings and you can see the long term popularity of some things (Lord of the Rings, for example). Just checking out the patterns of popular culture.
Now, through DayPop, you can check out a daily tracking of key words most commonly used by bloggers and see what people seem to be talking about most commonly. Again, patterns of culture. New Scientist magazine also has an article on “word bursts”. The excellent bIPlog also mentioned the topic recently. Notice a pattern.
Aggregating news feeds on similar topics will also tend to show you some patterns, although you have to be careful because you start to think that everyone you know is talking about digital rights management or some other esoteric topic.
It’s the skill of pattern recognition that will become key in our information world. Watch for new tools (3-D visualization of data) that will help us make sense of what is coming to us. I can’t wait, because it’s hard to see what’s going on now. Which reminds me, I’ve got to get around to read William Gibson’s new book titled interestingly enough, Pattern Recognition.