Tuesday, 10 August, 2004

How Big is the Blogosphere?

My post on Saturday was part of an experiment to make Web logs more visible.  I don't usually take part in that kind of activism, but this one sounded kind of interesting.  I'm not terribly interested in using that method to make Random Notes more visible, but I am very interested to see how thing spreads over the Web, whether it's from my site or somebody else's.

The post starts with "There are by some estimates more than a million weblogs."  That's understating the number quite a bit.  Technorati, which calls itself "the authority on what's going on in the world of weblogs," is currently tracking almost 3.5 million weblogs.  They don't say how many are active.  blo.gs, another weblog tracker, currently tracks 2.5 million blogs, of which about 1.5 million are considered active.  Technorati says that it was tracking only 100,000 blogs two years ago.  It's hard to say how much of that is growth in the blogosphere, and how much of it is better detection.  Find more information at blogcensus.net or weblogs.com (among others).

Whatever the actual number, blogging is big and it's getting bigger.  It's the hot new thing on the Web.  Corporate CEOs are starting blogs, as are teenagers and bored housewives.  I find it difficult to believe that people actually post some of what I've seen, but I'm not going to tell them not to post it.  If you want a sample, visit blo.gs and pick one of the recently updated blogs, or check out a random LiveJournal user.  Still, with a couple million people blogging out there, we're bound to find a few that we find interesting.  Right?

Probably, but it's not very easy.  Yet.  Sites like Feedster.com, blo.gs, and many others will help you search blog entries for key words, and will rank them by "most popular" using much the same type of ranking scheme that Google uses for page relevance.  From there, you can refine your search further.  We're still working with first generation tools in the blog space because we haven't figured out exactly what we're looking for or how to find and filter it once we figure out what it is.

But I think blogging is going to change the way we use the Web, and could change the way we get our information.  I'll tell you why in a post later this week.