Sunday, May 08, 2005

Blog Audience

Ilona at True Grit wonders, "What makes a blog interesting to you? Can you really quantify it?" Sure:
  1. Topics: Though I try to know a little about a lot, my principal interests are foreign policy (including the GWOT), Constitutional law, economics and conservative political philosophy. So a blog's focus determines whether it's read "every day" or "every week."


  2. Access to information: Blogs with unique entrée to hard-to-get data always will enjoy a comparative advantage. For example, Publius Pundit publishes "one-stop-shopping" on democratic revolutions and the late lamented Diplomadic provided unique insight into the State Department.


  3. Blog Categories: Traditionally blogs are either thinkers or linkers; the labels courtesy a Den Beste reader. John Hawkins at Right Wing News posits a third category, theme blogs -- focused on a single topic -- but since theme blogs themselves are linkers or thinkers, I'll stick with the binary taxonomy.


  4. Reason for Reading: All blog eyeballs seek both insight and inspiration. But each reader demands a different mix of insight and inspiration. I redline the broadband for news; blogs make that process blindingly fast. Yet because I have my own blog, blogs are my muse. So I'm most interested in those that stimulate ideas of my own.

    When I began blogging, I read mostly thinkers (plus uber-linker Glenn Reynolds). But after a few months, I shifted towards linkers, so my ideas and words would be my own. Now I read more linkers than thinkers, probably a 70:30 ratio.


  5. Writing: Poorly written blogs are a bore. The issue isn't spelling errors (a weakness of mine), it's the lack of consistency and focus, according to John Hawkins. The better blogs provide:

    • Facts;

    • Syllogism; and

    • Support, including the source of facts and any similar or related arguments by other knowledgeable observers (URL preferable).

    In other words, the most interesting blogs contain both logic and links. Of course, that's my writing style, so my answer might be mere narcissism.

    Somewhat to my surprise, many "thinker" blogs under-utilize hyperlinks. Content is king in all media, but hyperlinks are the net's unique advantage. As Hawkins observed, linking "increases the value of your page to your readers by giving them more content than you alone can provide." Everyone remembers "clicking through" some links and stumbling upon information you never knew you needed (and forgetting where you found it a month later). Still it's value added. Of course, citations and support are time-consuming, which may account for the dearth of links. Or maybe I've over-estimated the market for footnotes. . .
I look forward to Ilona's results.

(via A Certain Slant of Light)

P.S.: It was a good week for blogger NIF, linker extraordinaire: hit-count passed 25,000; Blogiversary; Sixth Anniversary. Surf over and congratulate TJ.

3 comments:

ilona said...

You put alot of thought in this! Adding you to the update :)

Anonymous said...

Blogs are about the power of knowledge. There has never been a more efficient and comprehensive way for an "average joe" like me to become informed about world events and "what's next" than to peruse the blogosphere. Heck I used to consider myself super-informed because "The Conservative Chronicle" came in the mail once a week!

This site is a great source for news and commentary. It is now officially in the "rotation". Kinda like the 5 carry out restaurants that we frequent for dinner. Actually 6 now. The Beef Brisket from Famous Dave's BBQ was stunning!

Good luck!
mich-again, (too lazy to register)

TJ said...

BTW - thanks for the plug, and does that mean I am not a thinker? :)


Keep up the great work,
/TJ
(And I don't know how I didn't catch this post earlier!)