Monday, November 15, 2004

Blogging: cyberpopulism, or just decentralized elitism?

An excellent article on how the blogosphere works:

For salient topics in global affairs, the blogosphere functions as a rare combination of distributed expertise, real-time collective response to breaking news, and public-opinion barometer. What’s more, a hierarchical structure has taken shape within the primordial chaos of cyberspace. A few elite blogs have emerged as aggregators of information and analysis, enabling media commentators to extract meaningful analysis and rely on blogs to help them interpret and predict political developments....

Most bloggers desire a wide readership, and conventional wisdom suggests that the most reliable way to gain Web traffic is through a link on another weblog. A blog that is linked to by multiple other sites will accumulate an ever increasing readership as more bloggers discover the site and create hyperlinks on their respective Web pages. Thus, in the blogosphere, the rich (measured in the number of links) get richer, while the poor remain poor....

Consequently, even as the blogosphere continues to expand, only a few blogs are likely to emerge as focal points. These prominent blogs serve as a mechanism for filtering interesting blog posts from mundane ones.

In other words, the blogosphere mirrors the real world's stark differences between haves and have-nots. Thus, although the barriers to entry into the blogosphere are nonexistent, barriers to effectiveness outside the blogosphere are incredibly high.

It's all about your network effect.

1 comment:

zachawry said...

For a geekier math-intensive explanation of the same phenomenon, go here:

http://www.biocom-jp.com/ee/tn/weblog/index/blog_distribution_and_power_laws/