About a month ago, I spoke on a panel about blogging at the Texas Writer’s League annual conference. I spent some time talking about how people (i.e. David Sifry, uber-smart founder of Technorati) were claiming millions and millions of blogs were being created and talked about the exponential growth of blogging.
Then I put up this slide:
Here is why putting numbers in perspective is important:
When large numbers are thrown around, that gets investors listening. When investors listen, they throw down lots of money. When lots of money is thrown down at phantom numbers (i.e. false value), money is wasted, companies fold, and people like me get the shaft, yet again. (Please see the years 1999-2000).
We all intuitively know that if we pick blogs at random then they will be garbage – not everyone is a fantastic writer (or even human, for that matter – spam blogs are a virus). It’s rare to find anything that can even generously be called journalism (it’s there, but there is NO good, automated way to find it… human editorial functions are necessary). It seems the truly valuable propositions involve finding ways to FILTER AWAY as much of the 50 million “blogs” as possible.
Let’s not get overambitious with our little blogging project, ok? The vast majority of the planet’s population doesn’t even have access to a computer, much less internet, much less blogs, much less the knowledge to author a valuable blog.
50 million blogs. Nah. A mere sliver of that is what we should care about.
Here is a more mathematical approach:
This presumes, of course, that the number of blogs being tracked by Technorati is a real measure of virtual life in the blogosphere; but what this measure of diminishing output points to is that the number of blogs isn’t real at all: The 50-million figure is meaningless, an artifact of blogs past and present, derelict and dying, of virtual enthusiasm and manifest lassitude.
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Technorati Tags: blogging, blogs, statistics, technorati
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