State of the Blog

omegaword.comFirst of all, my sincere apologies for all the update pings that went out during the weekend. The new template handles certain HTML elements differently than the two previous ones I had used, resulting in line-spacing problems in the first paragraph of 18 posts all the way back to June; some had to be reloaded and some were fixed in place, but there was a whole lot of tinkering going on. During the first iteration of Saturday's repair exercise, I shut down the feeds and notification pings—and at one point brought the blog down entirely—specifically to prevent this sort of thing. Unfortunately, the exercise dragged on much longer than I had anticipated, and at some point I lost track of what I had shut down and what had been brought back on line. Anyway, the buggered posts have been fixed, and it shan't happen again.

In other news, the new tags capability has resulted in some interesting changes to what's picked up, and by whom. Those of you who've been using them for eons won't be surprised, but it seems the simple addition of a carefully worded tag can result in a post's appearance in rather unexpected places—in the bowels of a specialized research database, for example. It's amazing what some of the aggregators will pick up based on a single word used as a tag. In sharp contrast to the semantics-based, contextual sifting of content by engines such as Google's, this is more like vacuuming up every object that displays a particular label, regardless of what might really be inside. Used as intended, tags are a simple, effective way to categorize, collect, and display specific content. But the potential for abuse is enormous as well, and the spammers, of course, realized that right away.

It took Technorati a bit longer to figure it out, and now that they aren't erroneously counting spam-blogs as legitimate creations—at least not as much—the numbers have leveled out somewhat. David Sifry puts the current total at over 57 million, with about 100,000 new blogs every day. Some 55% are considered active, which in this case means they've been updated at least once in the last three months.

Meanwhile, in my own little corner of the blogosphere, this one has rocketed from August's 1,669,958th place in Technorati's rankings to the current position of 816,700. Needless to say, I no longer feel the overwhelming urge to vomit. Now I just want to curl up in a little ball and cry. Despite Mr. Sifry's advisory to the contrary, I remain convinced that the low authority category means just that: blogs in this group are unlikely to influence public opinion in any meaningful way.

For those of you who are new to Technorati's ranking systems, we establish a blog's authority (or influence) by tracking the number of distinct blogs that link to it over the past 6 months. In this chart, we've looked at folks with at least 3 links or more and grouped them into four separate categories. In total, we're looking at about 1.5 million blogs of the 57 million total. Even though I labeled the first group as the "Low Authority" group, given that these people are in the top 2% of all of the blogs that exist, the concept of "low" is purely in relation to the other groups above.

I was sure I'd be in first place by now. So much for world domination.

No doubt you've noticed the addition of the favorites list, which the new Blogger version makes far easier to implement. No need for insertions in the HTML anymore; it's a simple dialogue-box operation now. I think I'm done tweaking for a while.


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