July 29, 2003

The essence of being a blogger

Although I have been blogging only since April 4th of this year, I have begun to notice several things about blogging, blogs and the Blogosphere. While I have noticed some variance of design and display, except where enormous amounts of bandwidth are necessary, such seldom makes that much effect on the popularity of a blog. Look, for example, at the most popular blog in the Blogosphere, InstaPundit. There is nothing fantastic about the design of that blog. Even the logo is a simple graphic. What I do find is that there seems to be four primary facets of blogging: 1. Content; 2. Readership; 3. Recognition; and Interactivity. None of these are absolutely 100% essential, but each has an essential place in the overall picture of blogging.

Content is essential, but what that content that is to be is as personal as the blogger. Blogs run the gamut from being serious commentary on the issues to being inane or humorous commentary on all kinds of subjects. Some are just personal journals which share the details of the blogger's life.

Readership is the most essential element of blogging. If no one reads what you write, you could be writing Shakespearean Sonnets and no one would notice. Except for a few purely personal journals, I would bet that most bloggers want people to read their offerings.

Recognition is what I believe to be the most overlooked part of the Blogosphere. While blogrolling a site is a great way to recognize the work of other bloggers whose work you admire, almost all blogs have a fairly extensive list of links in their blogroll. The most effective way of recognizing the work of others is by placing a blurb regarding something great you have read on their site, so as to urge your readers to go read that offering for themselves. This is what InstaPundit is best at doing, although, in many instances the blurb is not as effective as I believe Glenn hopes it would be. I have a couple of points that I think are important to understand about what I call [linky love]. One has to do with links that have no effect on the Blogosphere Ecosystem, and the other has to do with getting stuck in the select circle of influence:

1. I notice quite regularly that someone posts a link to the index page of a blog they already have on their blogroll. This has absolutely no effect on the Blogosphere Ecosystem. It has already counted a link from your site to that blog from your blogroll link and ignores any additional links to the same URL. What it does count are those links to permalinks on the other blog. So if you are linking to another blog in order to enhance the number of links it has in relation to the Blogosphere Ecosystem, link to the post, not to the blog. Also, linking to your posts within your own blog have no effect on the Ecosystem stats for your blog either, so do not worry about using links to prior posts as a navigation tool.

2. I have additionally noticed that many blogs, including myself and InstaPundit, link continually to stories from the same bloggers. What was that number of blogs out there? 2+ million? I cannot and would not attempt to read all those blogs, but what I do hope to do is to get pointers to the best of the posts on all of those blogs by following links on the blogs that I do read. However, that is not happening. Why? I keep rereading the same blogs, which keep linking to the same blogs, which are likely already on my blogroll because I added them from my previous visits after finding links to such blogs on the blogs I read. I really do try to add a new blog to my blogroll from time to time, but those I add are usually ones I found because of some post that I found a blurb to one some other blog that I read. I do urge you all to check out the Showcases, though, because these are a good place to find new blogs to add to the ones you are already reading and to which they are linking. Currently we have NZB's New Weblog Showcase, Kevin Aylward's Bonfire of the Vanities, Suburban Blight's Cul-de-Sac and the ever nomadic Carnival of the Vanities. However, except for NZB's New Weblog Showcase, I have found the posts on the other Showcases are littered with posting from the usual suspects.

Interactivity is what I think sets blogging off from other forms of online reporting. I like to see the comments of people to my stories almost as much as I like having them blurb about them on their own blogs. The interactivity assists the blogger in understanding his/her readership more than almost any other thing associated with blogging.

Now I know this is only a skeleton discussion of these issues, and I definitely reserve the right to expand on this discussion at a future date, but I felt some need to get these observations out into public view. So you two or three people who regularly read this blog, feel free to pass this information along to your friends and neighbors, OK?

Posted by Tiger at July 29, 2003 06:24 PM

Yes, I did read this, but I have been a "linker" rather than a "thinker" all along...
Plus, I think you may be in error about links to the main url not counting in the Ecosystem...I think the biggest factor is links rolling off the front page, which blogroll links don't usually do.

Posted by: Susie at July 30, 2003 12:18 AM

OK, let's do this experiment tomorrow. Print out your list of links from the Blogosphere Ecosystem out tomorrow morning after NZB updates them. Tomorrow, I will make a post where I link to your blog on one of my posts which will stay on the front page for seven days. Check daily against the printed list that you make tomorrow to see if you have any additional links from my blog to your index page. I look at mine daily to see if anyone linked to me that I did not know about, so that I can visit and possible reciprocate their link to me. I see several links that go from your blog to some of my posts, but never see any new links from your blog that point solely to my index page. I, therefore, believe I am correct in my information. However, I am willing to experiment to see if maybe I am wrong about such. ;)

Posted by: Tiger at July 30, 2003 12:59 AM

I don't read any blogs regularly. Not even mine...

I'd post a witty and insightful remark here except that my brain is made of cottage cheese today.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 30, 2003 08:38 AM

Tiger, that's too complicated for me..how about if I just link to your main page and to a post?

Posted by: Susie at July 30, 2003 09:34 AM

Sure. I just checked my listing, and I find only one listing for your blog being linked to my main page. So if you do that, tomorrow, if you are right, I will have two links to my main page from your blog. As I know you made links to my main page on posts that are still on the front page, I am pretty confident that the information I provided is accurate. ;) Howerver, I did find something strange. It seems that I got a link where Kevin Aylward linked to a blogroll I am on???

Posted by: Tiger at July 30, 2003 09:45 AM

Tiger, I think you are correct about the whole blog link thingie and the Eco-System. I've experienced the same myself.

Anyhoo-back to why I started to comment: erm..why did I start to comment........oh yah...I have found a lot of new sites by people commenting and I've received hits after I've commented in others' blogs.

I don't comment in other blogs to get hits but that little fact makes a nice circle of life in Blogville.

And yes, people do blog or write journals online for other people to read..and people DO like the fact that they get the traffic and the comments. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. If they truly didn't care, they would either:

A) Keep their journal offline


B) Keep a journal online but provide no comment section and no email address, rather, use it as a means to communicate with their immediate family and friends whom (who? whom?) already have their email address.

It's nice that some people, (such as yourself), are honest about it.

Posted by: serenity at July 30, 2003 04:01 PM


This is something that has been widley talked about. Its true that most bloggers want their posts read but i think the MOST important part is having people comment and/or debate about what you've written and this is closley linked to readership.

However i feel too few bloggers comment on a regular basis especially on sites they are new to or sites that have long lists of "comments(0)". I'd rather have 10 hits and 20 comments than 100 hits and 5 or 0 commments any day.

anyway great post


Posted by: kerplunked at August 4, 2003 07:44 PM