Are blogs credible?
The blogosphere is full of skirmishes - somewhat akin to 'flaming' of yore, writes Deepak Mankar.Updated: Apr 25, 2006 10:55 IST
I never much cared for Archie Comics, first published in 1939. But I've read them nearly all my life - without meaning to. Somehow, they kept coming my way and I took the path of least resistance. I've witnessed the changes that took place in the Gang's lifestyle, clothes, even lingo - barring their teen 'status'. They are sort of frozen in the Riverdale High era, wouldn't you say? What caught my eye - and interest - in our unwitting association is the comic strip in Bombay Times this morning (Tuesday, 18 April). It shows our protagonist rushing home to read the blog of his latest date to find out if she had a good time with him. That's one sure sign that blogs have 'arrived', I guess. And, Archie and the Gang, too. To update your store of Archie lore, go here: en.wikipedia.org. Did you know about the search engines named after Archie (File Transfer Protocol - "the first ever invented"), Veronica (Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Net-wide Index to Computer Archives) and Jughead (Jonzy's Universal Gopher Hierarchy Excavation And Display)? Both V and J are for Gopher Protocol. en.wikipedia.org. At groups.google.com, you can read the original USENET announcement about Archie.
NO FOOLING. Are blogs credible?
Her April Fools' Day prank drove Debbie Weil to a sad conclusion. 2006 would be the year when the 'credibility' of the blogosphere is no more taken on trust. "The ability for anyone to publish instantly - and globally - can so easily be abused. It reveals the dark side of the blogosphere. Namely, that not everything you read in blogs (or anywhere online) is true. Indeed how do you know what IS true? Memes (topics du jour) can race around the blogosphere, morphing into urban legends, in a matter of hours or days," she reasons. blogwriteforceos.com. "If serious bloggers - aka citizen journalists - don't adopt some of the basic tenets of old-fashioned journalism (fact checking, attributing sources, pausing before publishing), then the credibility of the blogosphere will be diminished," she adds soberly.
'I'M A NOBODY.' So what?
The blogosphere is full of skirmishes - somewhat akin to 'flaming' of yore. One such occurrence inspired, Steve Crescenzo, the author of Corporate Hallucinations http://blog.ragan.com/stevesblog/ to offer the following "lessons": (1) "…never call anybody a 'Nobody'." (2) "Don't use the word 'Nobody' at all in the blogosphere. The blogosphere is incredibly insecure. They want to be seen as real journalists …viewed with the same credibility as regular 'dead tree,' as they would say, columnists and commentators." (The 'I'm A Somebody' status is linked with how many links your blog has, as things stand.) (3) "Portions of the communications blogosphere are incredibly hypocritical. They hate it when someone disses the blogosphere as a whole, but many of them are the first ones to dismiss print publications entirely." What Steve is driving at is again the point Debbie makes. If the blogosphere wishes to be credible, it must follow "the old-school, traditional model of communications: People write, other people read. No links! No trackbacks! No Technorati! It's just . . . . well, good writing. Researched stories. Fact-checked articles. Well-reported case studies. Longer pieces on complicated subjects." How very sensible!
SPAM. Blog's new foe.
"It is like pollution," said Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing's founder and co-editor, who also writes a personal blog, Mad Professor http://madprofessor.net/. "It reminds me of visible smog, because it obscures what you want to be looking at. You have to waste brain cycles to filter it out, or, if you own a blog, you have to go through extraordinary measures to keep it out." "While technology and legislation may have made spam in e-mail manageable, there is still some way to go when it comes to keeping it out of blogs, people in the industry said. There is some software dedicated to blocking unwanted posts, and there are efforts under way to reduce the economic incentive behind them. But at the same time, spammers are coming up with ways to trick filters or to fool bloggers into allowing the spam," reports Joris Evers ('Blogosphere suffers spam explosion') techrepublic.com.
HOW PEOPLE SEARCH. Ask Jupiter Research.
The Jupiter Research-iProspect search behavior study finds the users to be a persistent and loyal lot. 41% of them (28% in 2002) who did not find satisfactory results continued looking. 88% (78% in 2002) who did not find what they were looking for at all changed the engine or the term. 82% (68% in 2002) re-launched an unsuccessful search using the same search engine used initially, adding more keywords to their query. They were getting sophisticated and using longer strings of more specific keywords. 36% believed that companies whose websites are at the top of the search results to be the top companies in their field. 39% were neutral on this question while only 25% said that top search engine rankings had nothing to do with market or brand leadership. 62% clicked on a search result within the first page of the results and 90%, on a result within the first three pages of the search results. "That being said, if we combine the importance of the 'end tail' and top ranking in at least top 30 spots, it becomes obvious that optimization (and bidding) is very important for the highly targeted keywords with fewer searches," concludes the author of 'Latest Search Behaviour Study'. searchmarketingstandard.com.
THE BLOG BUBBLE. Doubling every six months.
The blogosphere is well and thriving, says Technorati founder/CEO David Sifry ('State of the Blogosphere, April 2006' Part I). It doubles in size almost every six months. 35.3 million blogs and 2.3 billion links are currently tracked by Technorati's real-time search engine. In the last three years, the numbers grew 60 times. Over 75,000 new Weblogs are born each day. About 19.4 million bloggers or 55 per cent maintain their blogs with new posts after three months of blogging. (Only about 50.5 per cent or 13.7 million did so three months back.) Around 3.9 million update their blogs at least weekly. The influx of spam-related blogs accounts for nine percent of new blogs. The blogosphere averages 1.2 million legitimate posts per day (about 50,000 postings per hour). clickz.com.
EXPERIENCE ECONOMY. Free download.
Max Lenderman experiencethemessage.typepad.com writes about "an exceptional paper from The Netherlands called 'A New Perscpective (sic) on the Experience Economy'." (1 February post) in which "the authors approach the experience economy from the perspective of the individual and his or her potential program of giving meaning to his or her life. We are returning to a human scale in our thought and actions and shift the focus from 'the supplier' and 'the organisation' to 'the individual'. This article describes the foundations of meaningful experiences, the particular design principles that apply to them and how you can bring the whole concept - from the idea to the reality - into actual practice. The experience economy is more than just 'excite me', 'feed me' and 'entertain me'. Businesses and organisations can play a meaningful role in helping the individual to find his or her own way." You can download the article at experience-economy.com.
HERO TO ZERO. With just 2 e-mails.
In his 10 April post, Max tells a hilarious cautionary tale about how MediaPost elevated him to the VIP status with one e-mail (an Email Insider Summit invite) only to crash him down to the ground with the very next. ('I'M NO VIP') And you thought it happens only in India? experiencethemessage.typepad.com. In his own words, "Wow! I went from all-expense-paid VIP to $2.5K chump. Ha!" And, here's his punch line:" I hope their own campaign to hype the conference doesn't get presented as a case study."
DOMAIN NAMES. Fascinating facts.
Is the domain-name ocean drying up? Read Dennis Forbes's 'Interesting Facts About Domain Names' yafla.com and the sequel 'Domain Name Analysis - More Fascinating But Entirely Useless Charts' yafla.com to find out the truth.
TREND SPOTTER. Who me?
Trend spotting! It's a talent I don't seem to possess. Nonetheless, I scored pretty well with the 'Trend or Faux?' Quiz. This is pop quiz compiled "in the spirit of April Fool's" with some real observations and others, frankly fake. See how you score at iconoculture.com.
That's all for now though there's plenty more out there. Join me again next week, same place.
Copyright (c) 2001- 2006 by Deepak Mankar. All rights reserved. Deepak Mankar, an advertising practitioner on the creative side since 1965, is also intensely passionate about the web and web content creation. Read his online articles at asiaondemand.com. Website: http://www.addgandhi.com/original/. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.
First Published: Apr 24, 2006 20:47 IST