Why Me?

A scholar at Carnegie Mellon University has performed a network analysis of the blogosphere and determined that an efficient method of using the blogosphere as a method of learning about what’s actually causing a stir (“outbreak analysis”) is achievable by monitoring just 100 blogs. As it turns out The Glittering Eye is #42 on this list and, like many others of those on the list, I’m posting on the subject this morning. Soccer Dad, who discovered the study a couple of days ago and informed me about it, got back to the author of the study and has a good layman’s explanation of the methodology and meaning of the study.

Basically, the reasons for this phenomenon reside in the content of the blogs selected, their timing, and the way in which these particular blogs are connected with each other and with the rest of the blogosphere and non-blogospheric sites.

Why The Glittering Eye? My traffic and incoming links represent a tiny fraction of many blogs that didn’t make the list but I think the answer is in the paragraph above. I post on a fairly select number of topics, carefully screening what I write about based on what I think is important, produce as taut a piece of analysis of the subject as quickly as I can with links to the best professional and amateur commentary I can identify, and, possibly most importantly, I have a network of strategic relationships with other blogs whose authors are doing much the same thing and which are internetworked with different but important subtrees of the complete blogosphere network.

That explains, for example, why so many past and present Watcher’s Council members (see my blogroll at the right) are represented. I see that a number of the other blogs on the list are members of similar formal or informal blogospheric subnetworks.

There’s an old rabbinic saying: the wise man knows everything, the shrewd man knows everybody. Nowadays it’s impossible to know everybody, even within highly specific disciplines, but, by managing your relationships carefully and tailoring your message effectively, you can achieve the same effect as knowing everybody without actually doing so. Wise, shrewd, and cost-effective.

5 comments… add one
  • AMac Link

    I was intrigued by the number of names on the Carnegie list that I kinda, sorta knew as thoughtful-not-bombthrowing bloggers. That’s a compliment in some circles and a deadly insult in others. Well, “Tag, you’re it,” as far as my Bookmarks go…

  • I didn’t know that Rabbinic saying. You learn something new …

    I checked out your sitemeter and see that you get 3 to 4 times the traffic I do. I’m not so surprised that your on the list, I’m surprised that I am, and ranked so high.

    I think that being a generalist as opposed to focusing on a particular topic is a factor. Being a linker is important. (You do the weekly Eye on the Council that includes 12 outgoing links at a pop!)

    But I really don’t understand some of omissions. The Jawa Report was included but Little Green Footballs didn’t make it. To a large degree LGF is the trendsetter among the anti-Jihadists sites and in 2006, he had a big coup with the discovery of a doctored photograph.

    And how was Outside the Beltway excluded? With the Beltway Traffic Jam he has a healthy daily dose of outgoing links. Maybe the algorithm excluded trackbacks. (I think that TTLB excludes them.)

    I’m not going to pretend I understand their criteria, I’m just pleased that I made such an elite list. Maybe I’ll see a sustained surge in traffic.

  • Ann Julien Link

    Hi, Dave, how interesting that you were included in this study! I took a look at the list and also interestingly fell upon the Bozo the Clown illustrations post which took me to this lovely post about “Froggie Went A-Courting” http://www.animationarchive.org/2007/04/illustration-rojankovskys-frog-went.html

    Check it out if you loved it as much as I did.

    As you say, you are a wide poster, and lots of different kinds of people read your site for different reasons. There’s always something wonderful there.

    Congratulations, Ann

  • kreiz Link

    It doesn’t hurt that you’re independent, thoughtful and smart. Don’t know exactly know that translates into #42 on the outbreak meter- but it doesn’t surprise me.

  • kreiz Link

    Toss insightful into that list somewhere.

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