Monday, April 4, 2011

Identifying Bloggers: Technorati's State of the Blogosphere

In this post:

  • Bad jokes
  • A must-see link
  • A problem this link tries to solve

They read their sports pages, know their statistics and either root like hell or boo our butts off. I love it. Give me vocal fans, pro or con, over the tourist types who show up in Houston or Montreal and just sit there. - Mike Schmidt

People love to compartmentalize, analyze and summarize. I guess you can say the "-ize" have it (thank you, thank you…). When we try to -ize something, we like to know two things: the definition of the category (what is it?) and the members of that category (who is it?).

Blogs and "the blogosphere", however, are about as nebulous a category as you'll find online, and the members are scattered across a myriad of topics, technologies, networks and media.

In my last post, I shared my favorite links from BallHyped, a network used to vote up and promote sports blog posts. If you take nothing from that post, take a look at the pages listing the top one thousand sports bloggers on Twitter and the BallHyped Leaderboard (bloggers posting the most content to BallHyped). These come as close to identifying the participants in the sports blogosphere as I've seen.

But perhaps the best resource for understanding the blogosphere is Technorati's annual State of the Blogosphere.

This study is lengthy and packed with charts, graphs, percentage breakdowns and survey responses -- but it's also worth a read. The methodology is fairly straightforward: Technorati polled 7,200 bloggers from 24 countries about anything and everything involving the blogosphere.

So why is this so valuable?

Like I said, it's tough to put a finger on the blogosphere and understand it. First, there's the definition of the category. A blog is a web log. A sports blog is a web log about sports. How helpful can that really be? What's a log, anyway? Do we count text, image, video, live chat, podcasts and finger paints?

Sports blogs in 2011 can be anything from a running diary of incoherence (what most people assumed I was launching in 2005 with my first blog) to a major site with thousands of unique views, sponsorships and a staff of writers. And this is completely ignoring the big publications who see the trend and slap "blog" on their columnists online articles.

Then, there's the issue of identification. Who is sports blogging or podcasting or video blogging? Who is a true fan blog and who is a blog backed by a local or national publication? Where are they, and how do we find them?

Blog networks help, but there are countless out there (SB Nation, ESPN TrueHoop, Bloguin, FanSided, ProSportsBlogging…the list goes on). Blogrolls help, but a single blogger can't have an exhaustive list of everyone out there on his or her site. helps, but bloggers don't consistently tweet phrases like "sports blog", so they're hard to find (and searching for content-driven phrases like "sports" or "Knicks" produces a list too full of non-bloggers to be useful.

There may not be a "solution", but Technorati has managed to capture the essence of the space year after year.

Over the next few posts, we'll dive into the valuable information from the study and help you make sense of the 2010 State of the Blogosphere.

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