Overstated
Weblogs and Authority

This week I'll be presenting a paper at the International Communication Association Conference in New Orleans titled Audience, Structure and Authority in the Weblog Community. The paper is an analysis of two different metrics for measuring authority within weblogs:

* Blogroll: A link from one weblog to the top-level of another, (e.g., links to http://overstated.net, http://www.overstated.net or http://overstated.net/index.asp). I assume this is a proxy to popularity.

* Permalink: Any link from one weblog to deep content on another (e.g. a link to http://overstated.net/04/05/24-weblogs-and-authority.asp). I assume this is a proxy to influence.

The following table shows the top 20 for each measure. One observation is that many of the top ranked sites are community weblogs (e.g. Slashdot or Memepool). These sites play the important role of hubs, maintaining ties to more weblogs than a single person would be able to. They allow information to diffuse quickly between distant parts of the network of readership.

Blogroll Degree RankPermalink Degree Rank
linksurllinksurl
1.2581metafilter.com1322boingboing.net
2.2434slashdot.org1270diveintomark.org
3.2146boingboing.net1096metafilter.com
4.1825kottke.org1073slashdot.org
5.1604instapundit.com982kottke.org
6.1527scripting.com976weblog.siliconvalley.com/column/dangillmor
7.1307evhead.com956instapundit.com
8.1220andrewsullivan.com828andrewsullivan.com
9.1062memepool.com827themorningnews.org
10.1007doc.weblogs.com826rathergood.com
11.977megnut.com819textism.com
12.961littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog683denbeste.nu
13.899diveintomark.org626doc.weblogs.com
14.880littleyellowdifferent.com625asmallvictory.net
15.848textism.com582rightwingnews.com
16.846rebeccablood.net577microcontentnews.com
17.758plasticbag.org568joi.ito.com
18.737dashes.com/anil560buzzmachine.com
19.719ftrain.com553waxy.org
20.714plastic.com522a.wholelottanothing.org

A second observation is that the lists are fairly distinct. While some webloggers hold top positions in both ranks, the list diverges considerably as the position increases. While Blogrolls tend to support the weblog elders (scripting.com, evhead.com, etc.), permalinks suggest a different set of authors as influencers (joi.ito.com, buzzmachine.com, etc.). Looking at the differential between the ranks in the figure below, it is apparent that as soon as the rank passes 100, the correlation between Blogroll and Permalink rank becomes less defined.

Interesting paper which has an impact on the power-law discussion. The chart shows that I'm not popular, but I have influence, whereas Anil may be popular, but doesn't have influence. ;-)

11 Comments

Well WE could've told you that! ;-)

(Not quite sure who "WE" is mind you...)

Where I have BOTH popularity and influence.

God, I so totally rock.

;-)

Actually, what's interesting (and I've talked to Cam about this a bit) to me is the virality of links that spread because of a post that isn't permalinked. I suspect the majority of people who've kept my main blog on their blogroll do so because of my daily links on the side, and some of them repost the links I post.

So all link lists, like my daily links or Jason Kottke's remainders or, particularly, Andy Baio's Waxy links, can be influential, but don't have permalinks to the content itself, so they aren't represented on this chart. Effectively, there's a third chart that could be created, the "via" chart, but we don't have consistent ways of crediting that information.

would you like to do an interview that would be on my weblog? i mean creepy question, but i'm serious. i'm currently doing a 3 parter, was, but due to sucess of the 1st and only current one, i would love to do more.

No Atrios?
No Kos?

Something is wrong with your methodology.

Is this a kind of measure of who is shouting loudest in the echo chamber?
^_^

I'd like to see a breakdown of popular blogrolls / permalink entries in ragards to their content. It seems that most of these are somewhat tech/blog related content anywaym. I think they only have popularity and influence in their own little circle.

I don't think blogrolling is a good measure because most of the sites I read by non-techies / non-bloggies, but rather people interested in writing to get a point across, but care little about the actual tools. They don't spend a lot of time playing with things like blogrolling because because tools should be transparent, a non-issue.

Of course, you can argue that those people aren't popular, which I suppose they aren't in terms of the bloggy-sphere, which is a real shame. But as for influence, I can't speak for everyone of course, but from reading their posts about their *actions*, rather than just reading their words, they seem to be having more influence in the out-of-bloggy-sphere world, rather than just influencing other bloggies to link to them.

oops, I thought of something after I posted last comment. :)

It seem that in this paper, the author should have simply defined the two terms, "popularity" and "influence".

Popularity with *whom*?
Influence in regards to *what*?

Re-reading it, I guess he probably is only writting about popularity among a certain sect of bloggers, and is only commenting on the the influence they have in causing other people to link to them.

Defining that would have cleared up any misunderstandings I expressed earlier.

No Atrios?
No Kos?

Something is wrong with your methodology.

No, I think people haven't read the research. A lot of the weighting of these sites comes from the fact that they've been around a *long* time, particularly on the blogroll side. I can see about half of them are 5 years old, which is a lot more time to accrue blogroll links.

I do think popularity is a misreading of the importance of blogs, since all that matters are the people whose blogs you care about, and many more bloggers read *none* of the sites on these lists than read any of them.

I'd say knitting bloggers are probably one of the largest communities, along with warbloggers, and then techbloggers. However, blogging technology is something almost all bloggers have in common, and that's why tech bloggers end up being popular.

没看仔细看是什么 我是路过的 楼下的继续

And without the english speaking weblog? :)

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