Frequent readers of TWR will recognize I’m really big on the newer kinds of “practical” blogs, that is, blogs with a purpose based in conveying useful or important information. So I’ll be reviewing it on that basis, considering its value for both bloggers and readers.
RootBlog is a hybrid blog/directory/newsfeed. You won’t find any personal daily journaling or commentary here. This site is all business.
It’s in beta version, so presumably it’s new. Exactly how new I’m not sure. I wandered around in the archives and found entries back in 2001, but I doubt this site was functioning in this form back then. An “About” section would be helpful, because I do have questions about who’s running the show here, and it’s always good for business to have recognition that there are people managing and working with the site. With the number of newbies entering the field, a tutorial of sorts would be nice, though I didn’t have any trouble figuring out what’s happening here or getting around.
I know there’s a crying need for this product, and this need will only increase as blogs and blogging take hold in public recognition. Bloggers have faced the same problems as fiction authors with regard to traditional search engines, in that unless you know the title of the blog, or the name of the author, you’re not going to have much luck finding them using conventional search methods. Such sites as there are devoted to blogs mostly have them organized according to the most recently updated, or in some cases, alpabetically. This isn’t much help, either, for someone looking for blogs on a specific topic.
RootBlog does have blogs organized according to subject, and there’s also a list of the recently updated. How the personal journal or diary blogs will fit into this picture, I’m not sure. Right now they’ve got them dumped into the “weblogs” category, which isn’t going to work for long. I can already see blogs in that category that have a clear subject, and so should be listed in that category. Perhaps they could consider using a DMOZ-style submission method, where people submit their blogs by subject to begin with. Logically, they’ll need a separate category (or categories, plural) for the journals and diaries.
There is a special feature on top keywords for those interested in SEO (search engine optimization) but it’s really only of help, as far as I can see, for the diarists and old school bloggers. It’s understandable, though, because the field is still in confusion. Conventional wisdom still says that a blog *must* be an exercise in creative writing of some kind, or about technology. I faced a bit of opposition myself when I switched from an e-mailed newsletter to a blog, and some of my subscribers wondered why I was changing from reporting news to making it all about me. Of course once they saw the blog, and realised there was no difference in content, they understood what was happening.
Right now the numbers of blogs represented here is sparse; but there was a time when Yahoo and Google had that same problem.
The news feeds are really just frosting on the cake; at least for now. I see they use PRWeb as one source, and because it’s a free press release broadcast service, it’s often a source of alternative news that won’t yet show up in traditional media (if you can get past the product pitches). There are news reports in several languages, from many sources, which bodes well for a possible future as a destination for those looking for unbiased reports of all kinds.
I’m confident this hybrid blog is destined for success. I’ll be listing my blogs with them, and encouraging my colleagues to do the same.Root Blog – Web Log Directory