When I go to Technorati’s site and click on its “Top 100” blogs, I don’t actually see web pages I would have ever thought of as blogs. Keep in mind, I’m relatively new to the blogosphere and headed for that world packing a bag of writing novels and scripts sensibility. As you’ve heard if you know my stuff, I think about writing as floating on a sea of conversation. So I’m here beginning a conversation about writing and blogs, and hoping for other voices to join me so that I can get smarter.
The top three blogs as listed on Technorati are “The Huffington Post,” “Mashable,” and “TechCrunch,” all of which I’d call online newspapers. In fact, the Huffington Post self identifies as a newspaper. The landing pages of these sites don’t look so different from the front page of a newspaper, and they are full of stories written by perhaps bloggers or maybe journalists. Got an opinion?
Last month–November of 2011–I had a chance to hear Technorati’s annual “State of the Blogosphere” address. It was given by CEO Shani Higgins and following her presentation, she sat down for a conversation with Mikal Belicove, who writes for Entrepreneur Magazine and co-authored The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook. Belicove asked Higgins how Technorati defined a blog for the purposes of their State of the Blogosphere report. After all, since Technorati reported that they surveyed 4,114 bloggers, it stands to reason that they might have had some guidelines to determine who is eligible to take the survey. Mashable, The Huffington Post, and TechCrunch didn’t take the survey, did they?
In response to Belicove’s question, Higgins said she thought it would be a pretty complex task to try and pin down the definition of a blog. She didn’t offer one herself. With newspapers failing all the time, I can certainly see where old boundaries between the professional identities of bloggers and journalists are breaking down. I also see a potential problem between who Technorati surveys and who they list in their “Top 100.” While Arianna Huffington’s work does regularly appear on the front page of the HuffPost, I haven’t exactly thought of her as a blogger. The site reports that she is, “the president and editor-in-chief of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group.” I don’t think the Huffington Post is anymore a blog than The New York Times.
Listening to Belicove’s questions following the Higgins presentation, I wondered if he had his own definition of a blogger, or if he had a problem with the way Technorati conducted its survey or ranked the most successful blogs. I tend to think it was the latter–that yes he had a problem with their methods–and I did find that Belicove offers a definition for a blog on his website, MikeBelicove.com:
According to MarketingTerms.com, a blog is a frequent chronological publication of personal thoughts and web links. Short for “weblog,” a blog is often a mixture of what’s happening in a person’s life and what’s happening on the internet, a kind of hybrid diary/guide site, although there are as many types of blogs as there are people.
Wondering if you’ve got opinions regarding the Huffington Post or thoughts connected to newspapers, journalism, or blogs? When I’m reading around on blogs, I’m often on the lookout for something more densely packed with information, on the lookout for something more than people doing a quick “like” or “comment” with the hopes only that the action will be reciprocated. I’m starting to find that sort of work online and I hope to share it with you soon. Love to hear from you on these matters.