Sunday, April 22, 2007

What "Map: Welcome to the Blogosphere" Doesn't Tell You!

Long before Michelle Malkin turned her website into a blog, I was a regular visitor. IMHO MM's established site helped popularize and build her blog faster than an extreme home makeover!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Michelle Malkin, Xiaxue, Wendy Cheng, blogging, web2.0

Stephen Ornes writes in DISCOVER Magazine:

The blogosphere is the most explosive social network you’ll never see. Recent studies suggest that nearly 60 million blogs exist online, and about 175,000 more crop up daily (that’s about 2 every second). Even though the vast majority of blogs are either abandoned or isolated, many bloggers like to link to other Web sites. These links allow analysts to track trends in blogs and identify the most popular topics of data exchange. Social media expert Matthew Hurst recently collected link data for six weeks and produced this plot of the most active and interconnected parts of the blogosphere.

"Just as most people who start a novel never finish, most blogs are abandoned in less than a year, and many don’t make it past a few posts..." - Eric Berlin

The article includes a "Map" along with an article that cites popular sites DailyKos and Boingboing, while dismissing LiveJournal as a " blogging island is just barely in touch with the rest of the blogworld." The brightest light on the DISCOVER Blogosphere globe belongs to syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin. Michelle references this in her blog.

Now, here's what DISCOVER's Map article DOESN'T tell you:

"...In the blogosphere, the biggest audiences - and the advertising revenue they bring - go to a small, elite few. Most bloggers toil in total obscurity..." "...In scientific terms, this pattern is called "homeostasis" - the tendency of networked systems to become self-reinforcing. It’s the same thing you see in economies: the rich-get-richer problem..." - (New York Magazine: Blogs to Riches: The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom)

"The system that was supposed to democratize media has instead become a sort of J.V. for the much-derided but secretly envied Main Stream Media [MSM]. The top bloggers have become, in some cases the pets, and in some cases the tormentors of, the writers in the front rank." - (Frank Giovinazzi: Blogosphere 2.0 -- The Means to Game the System that Nobody will Use)

We always hear about blogs that have "a lot of traffic." How much is a lot? Would you rather have 25 or 100 or 400 readers who check your blog everyday, or would you rather have 80,000 people click in on a daily basis? It think it's the QUALITY not the quantity: those faithful readers who show up every day and READ what you've posted.

I checked on two of my favorite bloggers, and you may be surprised at what I've found:

XiaXue (Wendy Cheng) continues to enjoy high numbers of incoming hits... she's up around 100,000 most of the time. Like any blogger worth his/her salt, she had a surge one day in late December 2006.

Michelle Malkin is a bright star in the blog Cosomos: in the past she has exceeded the MILLION hit-a-day mark, but for the first quarter of 2007, she and Xiaxue have been in roughly the same virtual territory.

Okay: what secret do Wendy and Michelle share? LINKS! They have been LINKED to or simply MENTIONED in other blogs! XiaXue was catapulted into high-traffic territory when Blogger made her a "featured blogger." Michelle Malkin's columns and books were widely read before she turned her website into a blog... and everything she writes is food for thought and material for other keyboards.

Wendy and Michelle share something else: Television. Michelle has appeared on many FOX News programs while Wendy has served as co-host on Asia's popular "Girls Out Loud" series.

A make-up artist works his magic on Wendy Cheng, who blogs as Xiaxue (Falling Snow). Wendy's pop-star looks, eye-candy site design and outspoken attitude landed her a stint as spokesmodel for LocalBrand T-Shirts (Singapore). Wendy's blog is a curious mix of teen innocence, Singaporean savvy and truckstop banter! Oh, and she's SEXY too!

It's no big secret that SEX SELLS. A large chunk of internet business (successful internet business) deals in pornography. In researching the internet prior to launching the Capital Region People blog, I found certain blogs attracted more attention than others. The Newsblog or Political Blog is tops in the USA, closely followed by the Personal-Diary form, popularized by Stephanie Klein. Personal/Sexual and Game blogs rule the roost across much of Asia, most notably China where Mu Zimei, Furong JieJie and others have made their mark on Net history, and Singapore too, with Xiaxue and SarongPartyGirl.

The validation that SEX SELLS came for me the morning of August 2nd, 2005. I'm usually up early. I was checking traffic stats for CRP around 5am and noticed something wasn't quite right. An enormous "spike". What was it? Over 3-thousand hits? WHY? Was this a mistake? With a comfortable number of incoming links and an average of 400 unique hits a day, how could I not want more? CRP may not be the most popular blog around but I nurtured it into something bigger than I'd ever expected it to be. But not THIS big?!??!

Depending on the counter/tracking service, CRP got between 18,000 to 23,000 hits on that date. It wasn't blog-readers (blogders). It was websurfers Googling Sandra "Beth Geisel," the CBA teacher who had sex with young teen students. Because I had the foresight (a total accident) to post "The Doctor and The Teacher" on July 30th and "Media Circus" on July 31st, I was blessed with more visitors to CRP than I could ever have imagined!

I figured out what happened: sometime between the 31stof July and the 2nd of August, the search-engine "spiders" had visited the CRP blog and sucked up the terms "Sandra Geisel" and "Beth Geisel." Bingo! I couldn't have begged, borrowed or stole more hits! Top ranking on Google, Yahoo and FoxNews search engines! Incredible!

Social Feedback is important to bloggers, as well. An awful lot of bloggers pay an awful lot of attention to Technorati. Some won't blog on a particular topic unless it is in the "Technorati Top 10." Unless you want to artificially inflate traffic by posting about "Brrreeeport," this is a mistake! I've often blogged on a particular topic without any recognition or appreciable increase in traffic, then a few months later, a newspaper or magazine will print an article on that very topic and WHAM! Suddenly, new readers appear via search engines... hopefully, one or two will come back to visit again. Building a base readership takes time and patience!

"...if you talk to many of today’s bloggers, they’ll complain that the game seems fixed. They’ve targeted one of the more lucrative niches: gossip or politics or gadgets (or sex, of course) yet they cannot reach anywhere close to the size of the existing big blogs. 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..."

Lucky you, you also-ran! You can read the entire New York Magazine article [just click HERE!]

Here is another reason to make Technorati tags a part of every blog post. According to Dave Sifry in his State of the Blogoshere Part II, Technorati has added a new Explore feature...This new explore tool includes postings from A-listers, such as Steve Rubel in the PR space, but it also includes bloggers that Sifry names "the magic middle" (also see Rubel’s post about this), formerly known as the B-list. In other words, these are blogs that have from 20 to 1,000 sites that link to them. [more from Communication Overtones]

A moment in Blog History: Blogger SCOBLE created the top searched phrase on technorati today. Brrreeeport beat Cheney, the Olympics, etc. Via his made-up word (brrreeeport) he’s seeing how fast links propogate through different search engines.

More NY Magazine links:
• Linkology: How the 50 Most Popular Blogs Are Related
• The Early Years: A Timeline of How Blogging All Began
• Five Cool Blogs to Check Out Now
• Meet the Bloggers
• The Long Tail Theory: Why B-list Blogs Can Make It, Too

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Show Comments: OR


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Interesting Blog, no really I mean it!

  3. Studying the differences in the structures of the blogosphere has suggested that bloggers in the political arena have denser linking behaviours. Connectivity is fundamental to politics however you look at it (something which is not necessarily true of technology punditry, though is of course true of the off line technology world of deals and research).


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