The Idea Dude


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Can't see the forest for the trees...

Kevin Burton's dismissal of Technorati's numbers made some interesting reading today. His contention is that the 50 million blog's number is grossly exaggerated and that a majority of them are not active. He is right of course, in that the numbers are wrong. Firstly, they only represent a view from Technorati which should only serve as an indicator and not the de facto statistic of the blogosphere in general. For example, it doesn't take into account 10's of millions of Asian bloggers who probably don't even know Technorati exists. Secondly, there is a difference between blogs that are not updated often versus those that are truly dead. If you count the number of splogs, or blogs that were created on a whim and have only one entry, I'm sure you will be amazed at the number.

Whether you feel the number is 10 million or a hundred million is kind of moot because it is already a large number. Which brings a whole host of Web 2.0 startups looking to aggregate, prune, select only the best for you. Most of these are out there to select the very best blogs. But they face a similar dilemma, how do they keep up looking for the good blogs and what happens to blogs that no longer are good. Ergo, they are trying to capture an elephant that is growing larger and quicker than the cage they are trying to build around it. Pretty soon, their 10 good blogs become a 1000 blogs and gradually, the perceived quality suffers. Or else, they stick to the 10 good blogs and never do their readership justice to the other 10,000 potentially good blogs out there.

I believe that missing link is that there isn't a gigantic cloud called the blogosphere out there. It is more an archipelago of blogs, islands connected by common readers. Communities get built around these islands forming constellations but nevertheless it isn't one big mass or mess as it is usually portrayed. That's why it seems crazy to talk about what is a good blog. One man's meat is another man's poison. The key is to help communities grow and provide infrastructure for readers to become island hoppers. If you are going to help solve the blogosphere monster you're not going to solve it using a centralized approach, you need to empower the blogger and the people who build the blogger communities. That's what we are really trying to do at TheGoodBlogs. Just as eBay became a faciliator of buyers and sellers rather than be 'the e-commerce antique store', so do we strive to become the facilitator of bloggers and their readers.

On a closing note, creating TheGoodBlogs, has been an entirely rewarding but equally draining experience. We have been so consumed in getting it right, we have scarely had personal lives in the last 6 weeks. Now's the time to stick a couple of quotes over our computer monitors like that one from Benjamin Franklin, He that can take a rest is greater than he that can take cities or Chuang Tzu, Men cannot see their reflection in running water, but only in still water.

Time to take a break, have some green tea and read a couple of good blogs...


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