Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Blotto with Blogs

G.I. Joe TV cartoons ended with public service announcement for kids. What do you do if your house is on fire, if a stranger wants to talk to you… One of the characters would give a pithy tip. Then he would say, “And now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”

Quasi-Historical Link: Don’t remain ignorant! See the G.I. PSAs here.

Neither Joe nor any of his buddies said what the other half of the battle is. We have to assume that it is acting on the advice or tucking it in a brain wrinkle for future use.

That’s a long-fingered way of writing let’s not succumb to Doctor’s Disease — reading the latest JAMA or NEJM article and then letting that substitute for thinking and observing. Such physician faddism is typical of, but not limited to, MDs. A little learning is a dangerous thing.

We can find many dozens, maybe hundreds, of current measures of the number of blogs and their potential growth. For this, let’s just say that it is a lot, millions of blogs already and rapid increases in the works, daily.

To both bloggers and readers of blogs (big overlap, fur shur), that can raise such questions as:
  • How the devil can I find what’s useful, beautiful or amusing in all this mess?
  • Will my blog’s readership plunge, keep the usual suspects, or grow with so many more new ones in a crowded field?
  • Will Technorati, Google, Blogwise and other search engines be able to keep up with it all, and will their searches become useless with so many entries?
Some modulating info is among all those growth records and forecasts. The numbers vary here too, but the trends include:
  • Most blogs (maybe two-thirds) are dead or so infrequently updated that they aren’t players.
  • Many blogs that are active only get an update every few months.
  • Many blogs on the free services (like Blogger) are splogs, built to spam with products. Except for the few that piggyback on real blogs by using their posts and keywords, splogs don’t count for steady readership.
  • The majority of blogs are for family and friends (Live Journal and other blog-like objects are typical, but so are many of the freebie ones). These tend to low readership and don’t skew search engines because of their narrow foci.
So the short of it is that, yes, it will get harder to find worthwhile new blogs. Aggregators and portals (think my beloved LeftyBlogs) will become increasingly important. Their blogrolls are self-populating and give you decent criteria for clicking. Likewise, sidebar links on your favorite blogs are prescreened. (Make sure you do this for your readers as well.)

Also, we need to become savvier about the terms and tags we use to make sure that our stuff bubbles up. That is, unless you like being displayed with the isn’t-my-kitten-cute blogs.

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