Technorati threw a Developer Salon earlier this week, an open house where about 50 Technorati developers and users came together to discuss what they'd like to see the company's search tools enable. The event, like the space Technorati's tools map, was about conversation, and I had some particularly good ones with Mary Hodder.
Technorati, for the those who haven't clicked the little blue bubbles appearing everywhere, is a blog search and connection tool. It lets you track who's talking about your posts, and what else they're talking about, weaving the scattered entries together through their hyperlinks. Because blog posts are often built around links, Technorati can build on the implicit meanings of those links.
As Dave Sifry said, people anywhere in the power-law curve hold conversations. An offshoot of the untyped nature of links is that anyone can contribute to a Technorati-mediated conversation. The cosmos approaches the elusive ideal of Cass Sunstein's Republic.com, a space where those holding strong viewpoints and their critics appear side-by-side and the curious or undecided can see the full debate. (Consider copyright maximalists and minimalists both pointing to the DMCA, one as object of exaltation, the other as target of scorn.) Perhaps we don't want others' viewpoints forced upon us everywhere, but we also don't want to get such a highly filtered view of the world that we end up reading only what we already know. Tools like the Technorati cosmos can help us preserve the serendipity to discover different views that just might be persuasive.