Since my entry into the blogging world almost a month ago, I have discovered Dr. Scott McLeod‘s work and have been very impressed by his incisiveness of thought.
If you haven’t seen “Shift Happens” (created By Karl and modified by Scott, YouTube tells me) – I recommend you do it now. For your convenience, I am pasting the YouTube video on this post. Watch it
It seems that Dr. McLeod is also a data junkie! He has compiled, with great effort, a list of the top EduBlogs (Thanks, Scott). You can download the sample excel sheet and and go through it at your convenience and maybe discover many new Education voices you may have not heard till now.
I had a look at the excel sheet and was disappointed to note that it did not have information other than the EduRank, Technorati Rank & Authority and the url. Dr. McLeodd, I would love to see, in the next round up of EduBlogs the following information:
1. Geographic Distibution: Who is blogging and from where? I suspect the current data may have a US bias, but I can’t be sure.
2. Type of Blogger: Who is blogging? Is he a teacher? A Student? A Professor? Administrator? Researcher? Government? Watchdog?
3. Give Readers a Weightage: Possibly weight the data to show how many people visit the site. My understanding of the data tells me that this shows how many people link to the site and how many the site links to (weighted appropriately) but not how many visit it. (being constrained by my own understanding of Internet metrics and tracking, I can alas, only preach from the pulpit but not suggest how to make this happen!)
4. Give Vintage a Weightage: This one is a tricky one. It depends on how you classify Top. Is the Top blog that has been cross-referenced the most? Or is the Top Blog that has been cross-referenced the most within a given time-period? I think there’d be rooters for both ideas, but personally I’m in favour of a defined time period (preceding 12 months, last calendar year etc). It makes it Current and Fresh, it tells you what the people are rooting for today.
5. Eduposts too, please!: Is it possible to have a similar list for the top EduPosts? Now that would be something!
I can understand that this is a lot of work the team to do, but maybe there is some way to collaborate on this? Wiki-style? Create a sheet with data that you want to collect and blog writers can fill in missing information about their blogs? Write-protect rank/authority data so that cannot be manipulated?
Looking at the Long Tail
I noticed that there were only 900 or so entries that had Authority on Technorati (i.e. Authority rank of 1 or more – simply put, Technorati had indexed pages that linked to these blogs).
Similarly, only 500 odd blogs had a Technorati authority rating of 10 or more.
Let me put this in perspective. After 3 weeks of blogging, My Technorati authority rating is 27 – no doubt a miracle, but if the Red Pencil can achieve this, so can almost all of us.
The list has over 3600 blogs. This means that, if one were to use Technorati as proxy for validation of content (and then by a small leap of logic, readership), we EduReaders are missing out on almost 75% of the blogs out there.
That is a shame.
For anyone who’s been blogging for even a few days, it’s obvious that the network effects of blogging are stupendous. A bit like in a telephone network, the power of the blogging world increases exponentially every time a new blogger is added to the network.
I wonder, then, what can be done to bring some of these blogs readership? Apart from the efforts they put into “publicizing” their blogs, maybe its worthwhile for some of the leading EduBloggers to evangelize their effort.
I am contemplating starting a small exercise where some of us check out blogs ranked between sub 500 (to around 1200) and put up posts that we find interesting. That should drive traffic to those blogs.
Maybe the traffic generated to the blogs would lead to more effort on the writers’ part to post regular, more cogent work. We in turn would find new, thoughtful and refreshing opinion.
The only caveat I see is evidence of blogging activity: any blog that qualifies for linking should have had at least one post in the last 10 days and at least five in the last two months. Wouldn’t want to be spending time linking blogs abandoned by their writers, would we?
What do you think? As ever, grateful and keen for comments.
Update: August 4, ’07 here.
PS: Karl and Scott, whats the background score on Shift Happens? Not the Scottish music in Braveheart, is it? Whatever it may be- It’s Brilliant.
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