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The "Blogosphere" simply refers to the group of people who use WebLogs. The term is often used with tongue at least half in cheek.

Various sites such as BlogDex and Feedster track their activity and extract patterns that emerge. An example is showing which URLs bloggers are linking to most on a particular day or week.

Comments: Criticisms of Bloggers

Most bloggers have made a big deal of the Blog Collective. WebLogs (aka. blogs) form a relatively dense graph of interconnected websites. Some memetic folk are excited that ideas travel through the blog community at the speed of links, and indeed certain sites like DayPop and BlogDex attempt to track this. However, after chasing a few links around today that are shallow commentary on shallow comments, I realized that if they had just used a wiki, they could have done some BarnRaising and achieved some superlinear gains. Instead, each person selfishly holds onto their own ideas, so commentators have to inefficiently link and annotate. Further, since ideas quickly fall out of vogue (a matter of hours or days) due to the time ordered and bounded nature of blogs, authors are pressured to post ideas quickly before they can think deeply about them. This emphasizes quick, subjective reactions over deep insights. Since not much is gained, the same discussions are had over and over again. Then the cycle of link and comment begins again, making a gigantic spaghetti ball without much meat. I suppose this is where the fusion between wikis and weblogs would help, but what do weblogs add that wikis don't already do better? -- SunirShah

I think it's an overstatement to say that "Most bloggers have made a big deal of the Blog Collective". Certainly some have, probably many have, but it seems unlikely that most have. I have a weblog [1], and I don't think I've ever made that big deal; neither have most of the weblogs that I read. In the same vein, surely some Wikiers (but not, I suspect, most) have made overly big deals about various aspects of Wikiness; that doesn't mean that Wikis are bad or inferior. Weblogs and Wikis are different things, with different characteristics. I admire the effort to say interesting things about the differences. I disadmire *8) the effort to show that wikis are always better; if you really want to make that case, it'll take a much more structured argument. --DavidChess

These criticisms of blogs are are all well-taken. However, many people do like to be able to retain a sense of their personal contributions and histories, and they sometimes want the prose they worked so hard on preserved. From a Borgian point of few, this might seem like vestigial individualism but, especially when writing for oneself, or working on an ongoing project, there is much that one writes "between the lines," which could easily get refactored into oblivion. -- JonSchull

The terminology you use in your criticism and even the naming you use for bloggers is disrepectful. The irony is you say this being a wiki that should never happen. I suppose I'm obligated to delete your remarks, but you'd just put it back at the top of the page proving my point that this wiki is no different than a blog or any other medium that allows for people to express themselves. You'll find both shallowness and "deep" comments all over this wiki and any other wiki, or blog, or newspaper, or book.

The key is to separate the idea of "posting lots of little articles linking to the rest of the web" from the technical implementation. A weblog can run on top of a wiki. Mine does. JoiIto explains the effect of weblogging in his paper Emergent Democracy [2]:

Many bloggers begin their weblogs to communicate with their strong tie peers. They will mostly link to and communicate within their small group. At some point they will discover some piece of information or point of view which resonates with the next level, the social level. Their social acquaintances will pick up those entries that they find may be interesting to others in their social network. In this way, a small group focusing on a very local area can occasionally provide input that triggers a weak tie connection carrying the piece of information to the next level. If the piece of information resonates with increasingly more weblogs, the attention to the source will quickly increase, since the information will travel with a link back to the source. The source will then be able to continue to participate in the conversation, since it will be aware of all of the links to the piece of information.

JoiIto is well aware of the number problems. And he argues that this is beneficial. Only 12 people on the closest level, about 150 people on the next level further up, etc. In this way, however, noise is filtered and important information emerges at the "top" -- this is not the same as a wiki, where constant editing will leave the important points; weblogs only filter information when viewed as a collective. The important part, therefore, is to search the collective in order to find topics that attract enough other bloggers. The websites used to this purpose are sometimes called blogging tools.


I'd say a weblog indicates more a day-to-day format (or "every-so-often" format), rather than the "base for discussion" or "community" aspects. Lots of personal sites adopt this format, firstly because of publishing tools like blogger, and also because it makes it easy to post links and commentary, journal entries, photos, snippets of poetry or anything similar in a single format.

These can help you dive into the world of weblogs as personal sites.

It seems to me that blogs encourage ephemera, such as news items or personal observations. Even more in-depth commentary tends to fade as it scrolls off the front page. That's not necessarily a bad thing: haiku are intended to be ephemeral, too. Wikis, in contrast, are more timeless, better suited for material that will remain interesting after the impulse that sparked its creation passes. Wikis allow people to write in-depth analysis, yet continue to update it as a situation evolves. One isn't "better" than the other, just different.

Neither wikis nor blogs are "perfect" community tools, whatever that means. I'm not sure any software is diverse enough to support the full range of human communication and interaction. Instead, I expect that as online communities evolve, they will develop complete toolsets that individuals can choose from as needed. For me, arguing about which category of social software tool is better makes about as much sense as arguing over the relative merits of hammers and screwdrivers. -- KatherineDerbyshire

As far as i can tell, on KuroShin, SlashDot, etc, there is no way to filter for only the most interesting stories out of the front page stories. Can anyone point me to WebLog software or WebLog sites that support this? What i would really like to find would be a WebLog site that aggregates new entries from many sites (see UnifiedRecentChanges) and then filters them. Even better would be to filter by RatingGroups. -- BayleShanks

Try Feedster: http://www.feedster.com/

...a WebLog site that aggregates new entries from many sites ... and then filters them.

The RadioUserLand client application includes a news aggregator (ChangeAggregator) (rss0.93); weblog posts can be categorised, and a rss feed is generated. Customization (filtering, categorization, metadata insertion) of incoming and outgoing rss can be added with UserTalk? scripts. -- RogerTurner?


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