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Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008

At last! The 2008 Technorati state of the Blogosphere is out. Nice to see it back to being blog-focused rather that being a report into the notional “live web”. The report is being published in five sections over five days. Only section one – Who Are The Bloggers – is up so far.

A couple of interesting things I’ve noted:

  • Only about 1.1m blogs are updated in the last week. Now, obviously there’s a large hinterland of abandoned blogs in the rest. Frequency seems to be the exception rather than the rule in the whole of the blogsphere these days. 
  • The majority of bloggers do NOT live near the largest metropolitan areas – OK, it’s a US finding, but I’m pleased to see that blogging is not a purely urban phenomenon.
  • And I think this graph could be very significant for what I do:

State of the Blogsphere 2008: Blog types

Lots of people blogging about their jobs. That’s very interesting for B2B media indeed.

Oooh, day 2 went up while I was writing this post.

Work in Progress 2: Joining The Conversation

This is the second of a series of guides I'm doing for the company wiki on the basic principles behind blogging for journalists.

Just as I did with the first guide, I'm posting it here for my wise and lovely readers to laught at, mock relentlessly and rip into tiny, electronic shreds:

What differentiates blogging from other forms of publishing?

Most publishing is a one-way medium - you write, the readers read. Some
response is possible, with the readers writing letters or phoning you
up, but it’s limited and there’s no guarantee that the response will
ever see print. Or that you'll pick up the phone. Or that you won't
laugh at the reader with your colleagues as soon as you put the phone

Blogging is a multi-way medium. Post you put up on your weblog
shouldn’t exist in isolation. They should link to other posts on other
blogs, and they should receive links in return. Discussions happen over
a few hours in the comments section of your blog, and elsewhere. You
post a response to something one blogger has written on their blog, and
a few minutes, or hours or days later they post a response. The readers
move fluidly from one discussion on one blog to another elsewhere.

In other words, blogging is much more akin to the way conversations
happen in real life. Traditional publishing is much like running into a
pub, yelling at people for five minutes, and running out again.
Blogging is like coming into the pub, and working your way from
conversation to conversation through the course of the evening.

Read more

Can Journalists Learn to Listen To Bloggers?

Kristine Lowe nealy sums up another aspect of the "joining in blogging" idea I've been banging on about for the last week or so:

If the blogosphere has taught me one thing, it is to become a better listener: I love letting the links of blogs I trust or appreciate take me into unknown territory - introduce me to new and interesting takes, angles, voices...

This is exactly the part of blogging that many journalists struggle with. The nature of print publication means that most journalists spend their time talking, rather than listening. And when they do listen, it's to what they want to hear (to build a story) rather than to what people want to say.

There are multiple elements that make up a good blog - a clear tone of voice, a definable subject matter, good writing - and journalists grasp those easily enough. It's the last element, dealing with other bloggers as equals, publishing people with a voice and an audience, rather than the traditional duo of readers/contacts, that I see journalists struggling with. It's an alien mindset, something that's outside the workflow that they're used to, from years and decades of work.

Read more

Academic Jumps On Blog Bandwagon. Misses.

Ah, you know when things are becoming important when academics start producing half-baked reports on the subject. For instance:

…Michael Keren, who has written “Blogosphere: The New Political Arena,” suggests individuals who bare their souls in blogs are isolated and lonely, living in a virtual reality instead of forming real relationships or helping to change the world.

“Bloggers think of themselves as rebels against mainstream society, but that rebellion is mostly confined to cyberspace, which makes blogging as melancholic and illusionary as Don Quixote tilting at windmills,” the author says.

Keren, who teaches in the faculty of communication and culture, spoke to reporters Tuesday at The Loft, a student cybercafe at the university, where many students were busily typing away on laptops – perhaps updating blogs of their own.

“In this world of blogging, which the whole world can read, you have a personal expectation about a readership that’s just not there for the millions of bloggers who are writing their personal feelings.”

Now, to give the man due benefit of the doubt, this might just be another case of journalists misreporting scientific research, a subject that Lorna can hold forth about at length. The way the story reads, though, makes him sound really clueless. There’s no qualification in there, no indication that he understands that the personal journal style of weblog is only a small proportion of the whole. For comparison, it’s a bit like conducting a study of magazines, but restricting yourself to school newspapers. Claiming that all magazines are like that just makes you look stupid, however good your research actually is.

Hat-tip to Tango in her Eyes for the link.