February 14, 2006

Coda - "The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom"

[Excuse me while I memesterbait sad face] What a perfect coda to the previous discussion: New York: Blogs to Riches, "The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom":

It's as if there were an A-list of a few extremely lucky, well-trafficked blogs--then hordes of people stuck on the B-list or C-list, also-rans who can't figure out why their audiences stay so comparatively puny no matter how hard they work. "It just seems like it's a big in-party," one blogger complained to me. ...

That's a lot of inequality for a supposedly democratic medium. ...

... In the blogosphere, the biggest audiences--and the advertising revenue they bring--go to a small, elite few. Most bloggers toil in total obscurity. ...

"It's not about moral failings or any sort of psychological thing. People aren't lazy--they just base their decisions on what other people are doing," Shirky says. "It's just social physics. It's like gravity, one of those forces."

In one of life's supreme ironies, there's a new feature being rolled out for Technorati and authority:

What's Authority?

Technorati calculates a blog's authority by how many people link to it. Filtering by authority is a good way to refine your search results. There are four settings (left to right):

1. Any authority. This will show all results.
2. A little authority. This will show results from blogs with at least one link.
3. Some authority. This will show results from blogs with a handful of links.
4. A lot of authority. This will show results from blogs with hundreds of links.

Synonyms for Z-list: Singing in the shower, talking to the crickets, ranting on a streetcorner, exercising one's jaw muscles ...

Why bother?

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on February 14, 2006 03:45 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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Because a few or few dozen or few hundred people who are interested in the same things you are, that you wouldn't ever get to interact with any other way, can find out what you think, and learn from you?

I don't get any of the other reasons; I'm not interested in blogging for dollars, and I've flown close enough to blogfame to feel my wax starting to melt. That's just the one that works for me: every so often, somebody says either "thanks, that was just what I needed" or "dolt, you need to be doing this instead."

Posted by: Phil Ringnalda at February 14, 2006 08:32 AM

A solution...

If we're being egalitarian about this, perhaps the problem is that if some bloggers are more worthy than others, then perhaps readers should be accorded the same distinction?

Enable readers to have their own weights.
Let readers make themselves known to the bloggers (in an ultra low effort, low friction way).
So you could have things like "Wow. Doc Searls reads Seth Finkelstein's blog at least four times a week!"

Automatic assignment of reader weights?
If reader is a blogger, then add weight in proportion to the weight of their blog.
If reader has a highly specialised selection of preferred blogs they read/reference, which are highly correlated to the field of this blog, then add weight.
If reader recommends this blog, add weight.
If reader has a power ranking (politician, Bill Gates, hollywood celebrity, religious leader), add weight.

Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at February 14, 2006 09:23 AM

Oh, and the obvious conclusion is that with such a system in place you may just find that your blog has a higher ranking with a few heavy-weight readers, than some pop-star's ghostwritten blog with thousands of light-weight readers.

Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at February 14, 2006 09:30 AM

Gee, thanks.

Posted by: Cricket ("Anonymous") at February 14, 2006 09:54 AM

It does seem as though Technorati is devoted to furthering the interests of A-listers. Equating "authority" with popularity, particularly within the blogosphere, is unfortunate--but certainly not surprising. (My attempt to see where my own blog would fall was foiled by Technorati's failure to index terms within that blog at all, apparently. Or maybe I have so little "authority" that I don't even fit into the "show all results" category.)

I didn't realize we needed more amplifiers within the echo chamber. Apparently we, or at least Technorati, do.

Posted by: walt at February 14, 2006 11:24 AM

I'm all in favor of subverting blog hierarchies. It does wonders for my traffic ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at February 14, 2006 01:09 PM

In the "woohoo!" category: Right now, you're ***Numbah One*** on one list of influential blogs,

Of course, that's only library-related blogs, and it's an incredibly volatile list (I'm #35 today, was #2, I think, three days ago...), but hey, it's (a little) better than nothing.

Posted by: walt at February 14, 2006 08:58 PM

Phil: Unfortunately, the best of what I think that people could really learn from, will likely get me sued, and the rest, people don't want to hear. Blogging doesn't help with either :-(

Crosbie: Of course - numbers are just a rough cut. Again, though, see reply to Phil. My problem with high-quality readers is that it rarely does me any personal good, so it's still an externality.

Hugh: subvert is not the same as extrovert 1/2 :-)

Walt: That just measures I got a spike of a few links - click through to see how few links it really measures. It's like being the #1 Z-lister for a day.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at February 15, 2006 01:56 AM

People look for merit rather than popularity.
Unfortunately, popularity is often the only indicator available in our quest for merit.
Ranking systems for Blogs (and other things) have the power to provide a closer match for merit.

Let popularity be a consequence of merit, rather than have merit measured by popularity.

Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at February 15, 2006 05:23 AM

Seth: That's why I said "(a little) better than nothing." But it does make my point: Within subject-specific categories, as opposed to the Great Blogopolis, "z-listers" may have some influence. Just as specialized periodicals with 20,000 circulation can be influential, even though they're pipsqueaks compared to the Big Mags.

Doesn't help if your interest is in politics or one of the other areas where the Big Blogs Live.

Posted by: walt at February 16, 2006 12:07 PM