Counting blogs

Carl “The Numbers Guy” Bialik at The Wall Street Journal asks how many blogs, how many blog posts, how many blog readers, and why this is even important.

First, let’s step back and consider why we’re counting blogs at all. You no longer see articles that attempt to demonstrate the legitimacy of the Web by stating how many Web pages there are. But blogs are still in the process of entering mainstream consciousness, so numerical credibility is important; bloggers themselves cite the statistics a lot.

I tend to believe the statistics generated by actual blogging activity, whether posting or visiting. Fortunately, posting is relatively easy to measure. Technorati and BlogPulse can count active blogs and ignore the rest. That’s certainly more useful than Blogger or MSN Spaces claiming that 3.7 gazillion bloggers sign up each picosecond and then never post again after “this is a test.”

Unfortunately, counting blog visits is much more difficult. As much as I like to watch my traffic meters, I recognize they are more useful for measuring trends, not absolute numbers. Earlier this year, Michael J. Totten wrote a great article on measuring blog traffic. Rather than attempt to summarize, I’ll refer you there. Do not miss the comments.

What’s it all mean? Probably not a lot. After all, you’re already a blog reader. You like blogs enough to spend the most limited resource you have: your time.

We don’t need someone else telling us whether blogs are mainstream. It doesn’t matter.

Hat tip: Brother Bob via e-mail.

The Blogosphere — Cracking It Open To 1

The blogosphere is exploding. Technorati is tracking 7,264,863 weblogs and 869,827,508 links. More than 14 million Americans have posted a comment on a blog. These are impressive numbers.

Set Godin asks:

My question, which I have no answer for, is what happens when the volume goes up to 11? When there is just too much noise? Does it all get filtered? Who filters?

My answer: we’re a long way from cranking it up to 11. We’re just starting to crack it open to 1.

We are taught that “polite” society doesn’t discuss politics or religion. It’s too easy to offend someone. So we don’t. We don’t talk religion. We don’t talk politics.

As a result we don’t know what our neighbors think about Social Security reform. We don’t know what our co-workers think about the war on terrorism. We even don’t know what our friends at church think about abortion. We haven’t learned how to have a thoughtful discussion, express our ideas, and maybe learn something in the process. But somehow, we’re not offended by all this.

Enter blogging. Millions of us are expressing our opinions on otherwise “taboo” issues. We’re writing about politics and religion. We’re learning a little more about each other. Sometimes, we’re just posting a recipe or two.

But it’s barely a whisper. There are 6,420,384,256 people on this world. If there are 8 million blogs, that’s only one blog per 800 people. I’d say there’s room for more volume.

Crank it up!