Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Toys in the Attic

I ran across an internet toy in my browsing the other day that purports to rank the importance of any given set of newsmakers. A Huffington Post blogger, Jonah Peretti's NewsRanker purports to show "you who is really newsworthy. Just enter a few names and NewsRanker shows who is getting the most press mentions. For example, here is a real time ranking of Justin Timberlake, Paris Hilton, and Barack Obama:"

I thought, "Cool! I wonder if it really works?" So I added some newsworthy names of my own to test the theory:

Hmmm seems about right. So can it predict, say, the next presidential race?

Yow! I don't know if I like that. I wonder what would happen if I were running . . . .

Now THAT's more like it! Now, who's newsworthy! ;-)

Peretti purports that the NewsRanker is "a good way to make your point that Iverson is bigger than Kobe or that despite what people might say Morgan Stanley is just as good as Goldman." Given the lack of qualitiative data, should we be making argumentative points based on this data? I don't think so. The NewsRanker is for amusement purposes only.

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