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14 Nov

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State of the Blogosphere (and Forrest Gump)

November 14, 2006 | By |

While I was offline for a few days, Dave Sifry, weblog ranking chief honcho and founder of Technorati posted his most recent stats about the State Of The Blogosphere, in which he regularly shows trends and stats about the development of the blogging scene.

So what do we learn? First, weblog growth is stable, if a little slower: Currently, Technorati tracks some 57 million blogs. Second, English remains the top language with about 39% of postings with Japanese a close second (33%), followed by Chinese (10%). Surprise, surprise: In contrast to Japanese and Chinese, English and Spanish posts occur all day without a clear local bias based on time zone, indicating that people worldwide post in English and Spanish. Third, and most interesting as I find, are Dave’s findings about blog authority, both compared to mainstream media and within the blogosphere:

Weblogs vs mainstream media

There are still only a few weblogs as influential (or at least linked to) as top mainstream media: 3 in the top 50 and 12 in the top 100. BoingBoing, for example, ranks higher than Time magazine! If you move down the curve a little bit, weblogs do get pretty dominant.

Authority within the blogosphere

With some 57 million weblogs, of course some have to be more influential than others. Dave had a closer look at the weblogs with at least three links or more. That’s some 1.1 million weblogs who represent the top 2 per cent of all existing blogs. Divided into four groups based on authority, two strong correlations showed up: a) Age matters: Weblogs that have existed for longer tend to gain authority. b) Frequency matters: Bloggers who post more often gain more authority. While that’s not a big surprise, it’s good to see that common sense does work when talking about weblogs, too. (The Waving Cat has been existing under this name and URL since May 3, 2006. According to this distinction, it’s somewhere in the middle authority group for reasons unknown to me. That’s roughly 200 days and pretty much fits the scheme. Thanks anyway to everybody who’s reading it, and big hugs to those who’ve linked here. You’re my heroes.)

“Hey, it’s that time of the year again!” Says Dave his post, and right he is. Skimming the State of the Blogosphere stats, I got all melancholic (right!) and started wondering about my personal blogging history. Time for some serious bio building. Poking around in some old webspace of mine (which I won’t disclose), the first test run of a weblog (which wasn’t labeled beta at the time) that I actually referred to as a weblog (or “blogger”) back then dates back to march 2001. (Before, and even then, some had to be updated by FTP manually. Ouch.) Over the next two to three years, it was followed by several others – most of them being in use for between some weeks and several months, some of them just created for a vacation or something. (And let’s be clear on this: None of them particularly worth reading.)

In 2004, I met some top notch bloggers without even noticing: During the build-up to the U.S. presidential elections, I spent a few months in Washington, D.C. At the time (March?), the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet (IPDI) was hosting the annual Politics Online conference, then in its third year. There, clueless as I was, I spent the day with the blogging hotshots Markos Zuniga (dailykos.com) and Matt Stoller (co-creator of The Blogging of the President, and I think also involved in the Save The Internet campaign) without knowing who they were. And so on. What I’m trying to say: I happened to stumble into all kinds of (in relative, weblog-kind-of-a-way) important events and people, mostly completely unaware of their significance.

Makes me feel like Forrest Gump.

(Gives me warm fuzzies, too.)

(Link to the State of the Blogosphere)