Webometric Thoughts

October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: Merely platitudes?

Filed under: Blog Action Day,blogosphere,carbon footprint,environment — admin @ 7:33 am

Today is ‘Blog Action Day’, where bloggers around the world unite to discuss a single important issue, the environment. But whilst there can be little doubt that the environment, and more specifically our abuse of it, is one of the most important issues of the 21st centuries, I am unsure whether a single blog action day will do much good. People need to start making major changes to their personal lifestyles, and unfortunately I doubt whether people are going to be willing to make such changes however eloquently people may blog on the subject.

The inherently selfish nature of the average person means that whilst they are willing to ‘do their bit’ for the environment, this is on the understanding that it doesn’t overly effect their own lifestyle.
Taking the bottles to the bottle bank – yes.
Walking to work – no.
Restricting the number of flights they take each year – no.
Holidaying nearer to home – no.
Only eating seasonal fruit and vegetables – no.
… and the list just goes on.

When people are questioned about their own carbon footprint there tends to be three sorts of answers:
1) They question the validity of the science (despite their lacking the most rudimentary grasp of scientific principles).
2) They look forward to a warmer climate (these people are just idiots).
3) They believe it is their right to live their life however they want (these people are just ****ers).

Personally I hope this blog action day will make people look more closely at their own lives, and recognise the need for personal large scale change, unfortunately I am quite pessimistic when it comes to relying on the average man doing the right thing.

Professionally however, I look forward to following whether there is a noticeable rise in the discussion of environmental topics across the blogosphere, and more importantly, whether such a rise will be sustained.

October 11, 2007

Technorati’s most popular blogs: Where are the new and exciting blogs?

Filed under: blogosphere,techmeme,technorati — admin @ 3:33 pm

The introduction of Techmeme’s leaderboard last week engineered a lot of discussion in the blogosphere about the usefulness of such lists, and whether the new list was an improvement on Technorati’s long standing top 100 most popular blogs (I even went so far as to ponder a few words myself). Thinking about these lists I decided to investigate how the Technorati popular blogs list has changed over the years, after all, if the blogosphere is a vibrant community with new exciting entrants we should see numerous changes and the emergence of innovative blogs…unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case (at least amongst the top 25 blogs).

Looking at the current top 25 blogs finds 13 of them already established in the top 100 of 28th December 2005, and of the other 12 all but three were in existence before 2006. The three ‘relatively’ new entrants are:
Mashable
icanhascheezburger.com
Peterandrej
…and of these only icanhascheezburger (which is without doubt the most pointless of the three) was established this year.

There could be a number of reasons for the lack of new entrants:
1)The blogosphere is dead (or at least dying), with few new and exciting entrants.
2)Blogs rarely emerge quickly, but rather take time to become established.
3)The lists are driving the traffic as much as they are reflecting the traffic.

Personally I don’t think the blogosphere is dead just yet, but with the traffic being driven heavily by the relatively few ‘top blog’ lists a perception may be given that it is a place where only long-serving bloggers get any traffic and potential new bloggers won’t be tempted to join the debate. To encourage growth and participation, maybe Technorati should include a chart of fast climbing blogs.

Facebook Nose-dive: Please let it be true

Filed under: Jaiku,blogosphere,facebook,iphone — admin @ 9:30 am

Over at GigaOm some statistics have been put up that show a fall in Facebook’s traffic, both in absolute user numbers and in the number of pages viewed. If it is indeed true, and I fear it may be more to do with the calculating of the figures, I would be very pleased indeed. I liked Facebook, but quickly got bored of it, and it would be nice if the fact its really ‘not all that’ was reflected in some sort of numbers. One of the things I hate about the web is the way surfers go crazy about the latest big thing.

OK, so the figures are not showing a ‘nose-dive’, and there may be a reasonable explanation for the dip in users, but more than anything it is a reminder to the blogosphere that there is a world beyond Facebook (and the other big current topic-the iPhone) and that we should really be keeping the iPhone and Facebook stories within reasonable limits. When Google bought Jaiku many bloggers felt it was necessary to explain what Jaiku was, surely if the blogosphere had been doing its job then the users would have already known what Jaiku was; unfortunately the blogosphere had been banging on about Twitter for months instead.

September 17, 2007

Is there more to life than Facebook and the iPhone?

Filed under: blogosphere,facebook,iphone — admin @ 7:47 am

It sometimes feels as though every other story I read on the web is talking about either Facebook or the iPhone. Surely more than they deserve? Especially for a UK reader where the iPhone is not yet available and the last I head Facebook was in third place in the UK. Admittedly it is the fastest growing, but much of this is due to the extremely low starting point as it only recently opened up to UK users.

So has the over-exuberance of the web, and especially the blogosphere, for the iPhone addled the minds of those people at O2 who, its being reported, have paid through the nose to be the UK carrier of the iPhone. Whilst the iPhone has created enough of an internet buzz to really get people interested in the next generation of mobile phones, does this mean it is necessarily the best, or that it is good enough to draw people to the O2 network.

There is no doubt that the iPhone is a stylish looking bit of kit, but does it really compete with the functionality offered by the N95? Whilst it doesn’t look like it, it doesn’t have to. The majority who buy the iPhone will be buying it as a fashion accessory, and there will undoubtedly be plenty of them.

Personally I weighed up the option of waiting for the iPhone on O2 (it had been rumoured for a while) or going for the N95 on a carrier who offered unlimited web use for £7.50 a month, it was an obvious choice. Looking at the O2 site today, I still can’t see an unlimited web use option (the only price I could spot was £3 for 2MB of browsing), and unless it introduces an unlimited tariff for the iPhone (which they may not be able to afford to now), I wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole.

August 14, 2007

Starting to blog as the blogosphere starts to die?

Filed under: blogging,blogosphere — admin @ 9:42 am

There is a lot of talk around at the moment about the death of blogging in favour of shinier newer things. As such it may be thought to be a bit of a strange time to start a blog, especially one which primarily posts thoughts about those newer shinier things. It is my belief however that the blogosphere is far from dead, and if anything it may benefit from the exodus of certain parties who add little more to the blogosphere than an insight into their own personal lives. That is not to say that such blogs are bad, but rather the blogosphere will not overly suffer as a result as their departure…would anyone really miss the occassional updates about my long-suffering allotment?

Social-networking and micro-blogging may compete for the time of the blogger, but their uses are fundamentally different and the blog is likely to continue to hold a place for more extended (and discerning?) discourse. At the moment there is little room in social networking sites for the inclusion of extensive well thought out arguements, and their inclusion is likely to be skipped over in favour of pithy one-liners. Even more importantly the blogosphere is a far more open platform for discussion; it means nothing to me if there is an important discussion on a subject close to my heart if it is on a network I am not a member of. For the forseeable future at least, the blog still has an important role, and as I want to start my commentary now it is the natural place for me to start.

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