What is the Status of the Blogosphere?
I usually stick to the blogs I’m subscribed to in my feedreader and don’t actively look for new and interesting blogs. This has mainly got to do with the fact that I am currently subscribed to more blogs than I can actually keep up with. However, over the past few months I saw more blogs than ever as a jury member of the Dutch Blog Awards 2008.
The longlist consisted of hundreds and hundreds of blogs I had never ever read or even heard about. Going through the list and deciding which blogs should make it to the short list was a really interesting process.
If you have to evaluate hundreds of blog how long do you take to judge one blog? If you are not familiar with a blog you should dig into it, read some new posts, read some old posts and evaluate the overall structure. However, it is impossible to spend, let’s say, thirty minutes per blog, so how do you quickly evaluate a blog and give it a fair chance.
This was one of the hardest things while evaluation blogs. However, I think general points apply when you come across a new blog: do you like the tone of voice, the style, the design and the topic? What criteria do you use to judge a blog? And most importantly, do these criteria change per category? What happens if different jury members use different criteria? The whole judging process was as interesting as choosing the winners itself.
Two days before the final award show I received a phonecall from a major Dutch public broadcasting station. They asked me some questions regarding blogging and the blog awards but after answering unclear random questions for almost twenty minutes it finally became clear to me what they were aiming for. So I asked him: You are asking me what the status of the Dutch blogosphere is?
That is one intriguing question, what is the status of the blogosphere? Do you determine it by quality or by quantity or a mixture of both? The overall quality of newspapers is often determined by the amount of papers available and the diversity. The trick is, even the biggest countries have less than a few thousand newspapers. So how can you use criteria such as quality, quantity and diversity in the blogosphere?
The question has stuck with me ever since.
Anne is a New Media Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She participates as a blog researcher in the newly found Digital Methods Initiative of the University of Amsterdam. Anne also writes about blogging and academics on her personal blog and the collaborative Masters of Media blog.
Interesting. It’s quite tricky to objectively evaluate something which is subjective such as blog quality.
I find it difficult to explain my preference towards certain blogs and dislike towards others.
Perhaps you could shed some light into the subject.
First: the U.S. has 1400 daily newspapers, and 7000 less-than-daily newspapers.
How can one possibly look at hundreds and hundreds of blogs and come up with a short list would have to be meaningless
The question you ask is moot.
Each of us can opine on the state of the blogs that we read – nothing more.
@Badang: I think that is exactly the problem, how do you ‘objectively’ value something which is absolutely subjective. What I consider to be the best weblog may not be considered to be the best weblog by someone else. Even if you ask twelve different people from a different background it is tricky.
Another idea would be by public vote. One category ‘most popular weblog’ was chosen by public vote online.
@GoingLikeSixty: Thank you for correcting me on the numbers, I updated the post slightly. Do you think blog awards in general are moot?
I feel that the quality going down due to people purporting to be authorities in their own niche solely for the purposes of raking in google adsense revenue (“google juice”).
I regularly visit self improvement blogs (a la ZenHabits and the like) and the countless plethora of people who try to push their blogs and pose as “experts” is astounding and annoying.
To add to your public vote online idea, perhaps pulling data from various sources such as Technorati as well as merging the “blogging award” organizations (Bloggy Awards, Performancing etc) would help sift through the hundreds of thousands of blogs out there to find content that is worthwhile and credible – separating the “authorities” from the “wannabes”.