There are over 50 million blogs in the world, and this is only the beginning of the ‘Communicative revolution’. I got thinking recently about Blogrolls (those lists of links to other people’s blogs often found in a side column next to people’s journals). I was thinking about how if you took a look at my Blogroll, you’d get a little snapshot at what kind of person I am, by seeing what topics and styles of blog writing that I like to read. I decided to do a little experiment.
I went to Technorati’s (those people who try to track all the blogs in the world-sounds like a challenge doesn’t it?) Popular blog section (‘Top 100 Blogs’) and I thought I’d pick a few random blogs out to see what, if anything, I could discover about their creators. I don’t want to come across as a typical brown-nose who wants to be noticed by the so-called ‘a-listers’, therefore improving my global ranking (something I’ve read is quite common, but not necessarily altruistic in intention that people do to get noticed). Not many people know about me now, but I hope to connect with others through honest and focussed content that people can relate to.
So, I took it upon myself to have a look at a couple blogs further down the list, still popular, but not ‘Superbloggers’…There are two ways in which Technorati rank the popularity of blogs, one is by how many other blogs have linked to the blog in question, and the other is by how many others have named that blog in their ‘Favourites’ section.
First randomly chosen Human blog: Xia Xue, ranked 97 in the world (with 5,063 links from 3,437 blogs). Ok, not a good choice…How does some ex-magazine columnist girl from Singapore get over 10,000 visits a day when she just talks about herself and the fashion products she’s been paid to try? She’s either sexy and all the guys like her, or she’s got some genuine connection to many young women out there in the Blogosphere…You’ve got me!? Her Blogroll is quite short compared to many I’ve seen, and it looks to be mainly filled with links to her close friends.
Second randomly chosen Human blog: Buzz Machine, ranked 122 in the world (with 10,229 links from 3,059 blogs). This is a blog written by a Professor Jeff Jarvis who heads a graduate program in Interactive Journalism. Ok, if anyone knows about blogging it would be this guy. He’s got a very long list of archived posts on a wide range of subjects, mainly dealing with News and media. However, I could be wrong about this whole Blogroll thing, because he only has one link (I’ve seen other blogs with a hundred or more!) and it’s to his son’s blog at Wire Catcher. Is this strange, or a deliberate choice to prove something about his blog’s identity? His son has a longer Blogroll, generally linking to technological blogs (a very popular subject in the Blogosphere, could it be because computer geeks-I say this word in the nicest of ways-make up a huge majority of bloggers as they are already always sitting in front of their computers?)
The final randomly chosen blog was: Flagrant Disregard, ranked 120 on the planet with (6,287 links from 3,108 blogs). This is an interesting one. It’s a blog by a guy who mainly talks about and takes photos of his family. Why is it so popular? After reading a few posts I can see why. He’s an honest guy who’s talking about his life, and life is weird and fun if viewed from the right perspective. With the last few posts entitled, ‘The best deal in Lego’, ‘Does homework suck?’, and ‘Cell phones and customer service: it doesn’t have to be this difficult’, you can catch my drift about the general life topics that are attracting readers’ attention. Now, time to see his Blogroll. The only link list he has is called, ‘People who I actually know in Real Life actually weird enough to have blogs’, and it’s a short list.
Where does all this leave me? Are Blogrolls as important as I once believed? It seems that many popular bloggers don’t partake in this form of link exchange/favourites list. This experiment has somewhat dubiously shifted into why blogs are popular, without producing much of a Blogroll theory or hypothesis. Looking at this tiny subsection of popular bloggers, it’s not who you read that tells us who you are; it’s what you say…You are what you write! Right?!
Jesse S. Somer is a man with a new blog and a relatively short Blogroll. He’s hoping to read and write so that the words and links on the page represent him. Isn’t that the name of the game?