Map: Welcome to the Blogosphere
Charting the network of jocks, gadget hounds, political junkies, and porn aficionados
by Stephen Ornes
The blogosphere is the most explosive social network you’ll never see. Recent studies suggest that nearly 60 million blogs exist online, and about 175,000 more crop up daily (that’s about 2 every second). Even though the vast majority of blogs are either abandoned or isolated, many bloggers like to link to other Web sites. These links allow analysts to track trends in blogs and identify the most popular topics of data exchange. Social media expert Matthew Hurst recently collected link data for six weeks and produced this plot of the most active and interconnected parts of the blogosphere.
Courtesy of Matthew Hurst
1 MR. POPULARITY
On the map, white dots represent individual blogs, sized according to number of links. Nearly 500,000 people visit the DailyKos every day, making it one of the world’s most popular blogs. A link from DailyKos is a guaranteed way of attracting Web traffic (and therefore advertising revenue), and as a result DailyKos has a strict link policy. Green links represent one-way links (that is, blog A links to blog B), and blue links indicate reciprocal links (blog B returns the favor).
2 THE GOSSIP OF GADGET HOUNDS
The bright spot here represents the popular site Boingboing, a “Directory of Wonderful Things” that links to oddly compelling online news from the fringes of the real world but mostly offers gossip about gadgets and all things high-tech.
3 SHOW ME YOUR FRIENDS
This isolated, close-knit online community of bloggers uses LiveJournal, an online host that primarily serves as a social networking site. This blogging island is just barely in touch with the rest of the blogworld.
4 I’LL SHOW YOU MINE. . .
This blue blob represents a balanced sociopolitical discourse. The prevalence of blue in this area shows that most of these links are reciprocal, suggesting a sort of metadialogue between bloggers who hurl headlines at one another. The brightest light belongs to syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin.
5 NAH, JUST SHOW ME YOURS
No discussion of the blogosphere would be complete without a nod to online smut. This outlying island of blue represents the linked-up world of bloggers who traffic in the latest news and gossip from the world of pornography. Oh, yeah, and pictures.
6 LONELY JOCKS
Also on the outskirts is this group of sports enthusiasts, many of whom, unlike the lonely pornographers, have links back to the central hot spot of the blogosphere. “What you find often on the blogosphere is people on the outside pointing in to the middle,” Hurst says. “They’re on the outside looking in.”