Sunday, February 24, 2008

Research for my new blog

A good first step when contemplating a new blog is to use Google Blog Search to find out what blogs are currently active on your chosen topic. Once you see how much activity there currently is, you might change your mind and decide not to blog about that topic or maybe simply narrow the topic so that you have a greater chance of being heard within a specific niche.

As I look at existing Semantic Web blogs, one thing that really stands out is how remote, abstract, and esoteric Semantic Web topics are relative to the interests of average consumers. In other words, there is a yawning gap or even a great chasm between the level of discussion by Semantic Web professionals and even advanced users.

That chasm or gap suggests one possible name for my new blog: "The Semantic Gap". That could work, but the phrase has been used traditionally in a semi-precise manner, as detailed in the Wikipedia article for "Semantic Gap":

The semantic gap characterizes the difference between two descriptions of an object by different linguistic representations, for instance languages or symbols. In computer science, the concept is relevant whenever ordinary human activities, observations, and tasks are transferred into a computational representation [1] [2].

More precisely the gap means the difference between ambiguous formulation of contextual knowledge in a powerful language (e.g. natural language) and its sound, reproducible and computational representation in a formal language (e.g. programming language).

Actually, maybe that cuts right to the heart of my core focus which is not to revel in the gory details of the Semantic Web per se, but to try to bridge the gap between formal representations in computer software and databases and the language of consumers in the real world.

My immediate thought is that maybe I need two distinct blogs, one to explore the depths and gory details of the Semantic Web and another to explore bridging the gap and applying the Semantic Web in a way that consumers can relate to. Maybe, maybe not.

Still, "semantic gap" is a relatively simple term and does give me some focus, which is something that I really need. Besides, I can stray a fair distance from that core focus as long as I always do it in the name of bringing an esoteric topic back to my core relevance of meaning to the consumer. That may introduce some needed discipline in my Semantic Web explorations.

That sounded fine, but as I did some "due diligence" searching on the Web, the first thing I found was that the domain name was already taken and it just seemed like too common a phrase. It just didn't feel like a true brand.

Next, I went to the dictionary and then the thesaurus looking for synonyms for gap. One stood out clearly: abyss. Even better it perfectly captured the sense of the gap being very large and very deep. The phrase semantic abyss just seemed to resonate with deep meaning. It felt a little more like a brand.

Even better, I found that the domain name was available, so I quickly registered it in Fatcow for $20.

The blog name semanticabyss was available in Blogger as well, so I went ahead and created my new blog:

I assigned a dummy title and subtitle, "Plumbing the Semantic Abyss" and "Exploring the depths of the semantic gap between the Semantic Web and the real world", which should work for now and can be tuned as I get more experience with this blog.

I enabled AdSense for my blog by adding a vertical banner on the right side and a leaderboard on the bottom. I'll tweak it later.

Finally, I used Fatcow's Domain Pointing Manager to redirect to in "stealth" mode so that visiting will take you directly to my blog without showing the Blogger URL in your browser address box.

Originally, I intended this post to only be about my initial research, but I decided that I should not advertise that I was interested in a given blog and domain name, lest some interloper grab it first.

Now, my next task is to compose my first blog post, but to do that I need to think a little about my initial focus and tone and voice. Don't hold your breath. I want this initial post to be rock-solid and not a lame "Hey, dude, this is my new blog. Check it out!"

-- Jack Krupansky


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home