Thoughts on the State of the blogosphere

Dave Sifry, CEO of Technorati, has posted fresh data about the state of the blogosphere and few will have failed to notice the headline that a new blog is created each second. Technorati is now tracking 14.2m weblogs, a number which doubles every 5.5 months. Interestingly though, only 13% of these blogs are updated once a week. Technorati suggests that 55% of the blogs are active meaning they have been updated during the last three months. By most people’s definition that’s not really active. OK not forgotten, but not really a source of new content most visitors would track directly or via RSS.

When it comes to professional or corporate blogs even once a week is fairly light posting for it to be seen as a meaningful communications channel or to have much of an audience.

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Anyone interested in news will appreciate this next graph which shows the spikes correlated around major (mainly US-related) news events. Dave rightly cautions that the size of the spike does not represent the importance of the event comparatively over time, since of course there are more blogs now than there were at the time of the Dean Scream. It’s the variance from the norm you’re looking at. To me though this also shows how blogs are breaking and dissecting news in real-time. Bloggers are clearly talking about current events, spreading the word and offering comment. For those involved in communications, this should provide yet more proof of the increasing importance of the blogosphere, the need to listen to what’s being said, to react where necessary and perhaps even to contribute with your own voice.

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It’s also interesting to note that posting volumes at the weekend are 5-10% lower than during the week. Personally I would have expected that to be much higher since most of the blogs I track are all-but silent over the weekend. I wonder whether we can draw any conclusions from that – does the 5-10% correlate with work-related blogging which restricts it to weekdays? Is that then the percentage of business blogs out there? Probably too much of a leap but an interesting thought in terms of dynamics.

Dave also states that ‘we see the largest number of posts each day between the hours of 7AM and noon Pacific time, meaning between 10AM and 3PM Eastern time.’ To me that says that most of Technorati’s blogs are still US-based. It would be later if Asia were strongly represented and earlier if the number of tracked European posts were higher. This is worth monitoring over time since it might be a way of seeing which regions exert the most pull over mean posting time.

In his third post, Dave also takes us on an introductory tour of tags. If you’re yet to understand tagging, this is a good place to start. Almost a third of posts, about 300,000, are tagged by the content creator each day. Tags essentially tell you what the posts are about – like a keyword. Users can then track and find posts with a specific tag. For instance, I often use ‘PR’. So my posts, plus all those other bloggers writing about PR, provide a way for people to find relevant content. Here’s the growth of tagged posts:

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These posts are tagged by the creator so people can find the content. Of course, one problem with this is that those naughty spammers can tag content with a popular subject to draw you to their nefarious wares. Other tagging (or social bookmarking) systems like del.icio.us leave the tagging to the viewers of the content so are a bit more self-regulating. Dave is going to outline how Technorati is dealing with the baddies shortly since the tagging trend is both popular and useful.

Lastly, there’s a link to a video which was shown to us at AlwaysOn about the growth in tags. JD Lasica’s Our Media has hosted it here (12MB smaller version). If you look hard enough, you’ll see ‘PR’ fly by at one point.

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  • Morgan, good read. Seems like people may also post less on weekends because they are simply out enjoying themselves. Of course, right now you and I are not doing that. 🙂

  • Ha – depends on what you enjoy I guess. But that’s my point – I would have thought weekend posting would be 30-40% lower for precisely that reason. Oddly though it’s not. So people must be posting as a leisure pursuit. Hence my thought the rest are business users. Not sure.

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