Watch out! A blogberg!

by Suw on October 20, 2003

Via Joho, I found a report called The Blogging Iceberg, published by Perseus.

They've taken a survey of 3,634 blogs and extrapolated figures for the whole blogosphere from that. Apparently, they estimate that there are 4.12 million blogs in existence at the moment. Most of those are stagnant, with only 1.4 million blogs still current. Of those, less than 50,000 are updated daily.

I had no idea I was a member of such a select group. Whilst 50,000 blogs is more than I can ever hope to read in a week, it's not as many as I would have expected. Of course, being one of the regular updaters really doesn't mean very much other than that I am one of 50,000 people that need to get out more.

I suppose, though, that regular updating is a prerequisite for rising through the blogosphere, although it's not a guarantee of getting off the Z-list.

One has to remember that the blogosphere follows a power-law when it comes to distribution of links – i.e. a minority of blogs at the tip of the blogberg get the majority of links, the rest of us can go shag a rabbit for all that it matters.

Links are the key to visibility because the more people link to you the more well known you become, but the more well known you are the more people link to you. Thus the A-list becomes self-perpetuating and the rest of us stay submerged in the icy waters of the blog ocean, wondering whether we might at some point be able to hitch a ride on a stray penguin heading up the berg for a spot of sunshine.

I guess that’s why I’m entering the Guardian British Blog Awards, just in case they turn out to be a penguin.

Going back to the report, Perseus come to the conclusion via a slightly arbitrary set of assumptions that the average blog may get about 250 hits daily. The majority of blogs have what they call nanoaudiences – that’s audiences that don't have many people in them, rather than audiences made up of very, very tiny people – whilst the A-list blogs get thousands or tens of thousands of hits a day.

I wonder what the most frequent audience value is. Five? Ten? 100?

I get anything between 100 and 600 hits a day, although I have no way of telling how many unique users that translates to. I figure this is pretty good really, considering I talk a lot of crap in a blog which is the antithesis of what should be popular.

If I wanted a popularity, I’d write a well focused, useful, journalistically sound blog that appealed to a large (but still niche) market that already had a strong leaning towards the internet and blogging as a mode of communication. I can’t be arsed with all that though, so you’ll just have to make do with rambles like this.

The analysis of the blogosphere is an interesting, if somewhat pointless, exercise. In terms of impact on the wider world, I’m not sure that blogging is really going to make a huge difference any time soon, (cue comments re: Howard Dean and politics. No, please, really.) The numbers just don’t stack up – 600 million people online and only 50,000 keep a blog daily?

But still, I’m a big fan of interestingbutpointless. Without interestingbutpointless, we’d never get to interestinganduseful, which is where I think the blogosphere is headed. Eventually.

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