Can we track culture on the web?

With Skip Poehlman in Computing and Software here at Mac we did a project on culture tracking on the net. The idea was to track keywords by checking search engines every night. The data was recorded so you could graph the ups and downs of keywords.

The idea came from a conversation with a friend about whether it was possible to create a cultural stock market so people could bet on items like “Madonna”, “XML” or “James Bond”. Since then I have found sites doing things like that. Here is a site that explicitly lets you play a stock market game on blogs. BlogShares – Fantasy Blog Share Market.

There is potential for cultural studies education here – having student play the market as a way of thinking about what is popular and why. Let them stake their thoughts on blogs.