~ Archive for May 23, 2003 ~

My Web Log Experiment


A One-Month Status Report

After one month since starting this web log, I’ve had more than 1,650 visits, placing me around the 43th spot on the Top 100 list. Pretty amazing for an unknown artist.

The Community

What’s been interesting about the Harvard Web Log project (I’ve also blogged on blogger.com) is that it’s a community of bloggers unto itself as well as part of the larger blogosphere. The small communal nature of Harvard web logging and most importantly the directory, ranking and updates features that allow us to “see” each other and rub virtual elbows is a large contributor to the traffic my web log has received thus far.

Links are Power

It’s not just visitors (readers) that make blogging what it is though. It’s the linking of one blog to the next that creates a viral webbing of related ideas and like-minded persons. As I mentioned in my last entry, when we link to one another, we create a certain “link strength” based on the popularity of the links. (See Links and Power: The Political Economy of Linking on the Web) The value of others linking to you provides your ideas with more outlets (inlets?) on the web. Links are usually man-made by some “one” who agrees with your thinking, but they are also “machine made” with the rise of automatic RSS feeds and blog tracking sites.

Itchy trigger fingers?

In my brief one month tenure at Amy Campbell’s Web Log, thanks to the nifty (and highly addicting) referral feature, I’ve found that my modest weblog has been picked up by other bloggers in the blogosphere. I have been amazed at how quickly someone is willing to “blogroll” me or categorize me as an expert. Which brings up what I believe to be one of the bloggerdom’s big drawbacks — the rush to post. Because of the instant nature of blogging, people feel the need to act fast… a case of premature posting? As Dave Winer says, “people don’t read before they write.” Another case of irrational exuberance, perhaps? For example, I’m listed on one blog as a “legal commentator”, which is a bit embarrassing as it’s not very accurate.

The company we keep

On the upside, however, getting linked to for writing something that a real expert agrees with is a real boost, both to my ego and my “personal brand” (not to mention my “link strength”). My 15K of fame came this month when I responded to a Donna Wentworth blog, and she linked to me. Then Lawrence Lessig linked to me. And then due to that others linked to me… and so on and so forth. And thanks to tools like technocrati and organica and weblogs.com others have found my web log and some have added links on their blogs. For instance, check out this great plug on Bag and Baggage. And this is just the start!

Disclaimer: Please forgive me for my own rush to post… I try not to post a blog unless I have time to think it through and check my accuracy… I also try to write something in my email drafts folder first. Leave it there a while, and revisit it before posting. But if I was totally careful about every post and comma, I’d never get anything up. So it’s a balance. Luckily, we bloggers know that.

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