Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Blogosphere: Reflecting on a 2007 Snapshot

For several years, Technorati has provided a wealth of data on the development of the blogosphere. After recently reading a slightly dated State of the Blogosphere, I got to thinking about how fast this movement has taken hold. (Image: Screen shot -- Flickr) The State of the Blogosphere posts are by David Sifry, the founder and CEO of Technorati. These posts highlight some of the many statistics his site gathers.

The post I read was from April 2007, but it revealed continuing trends in the blogosphere. The one that Sifry identifies as most important is the tagging movement. I agree with this assessment, and in the nearly two years since this State of the Blogosphere tagging has gained more traction.

What Sifry describes as the "Live web" is built around the ability to tag items. Tags can be broad or specific, but their basic function is simple: tags link items together. Networking pages by common topics through tags is invaluable to the casual browser as it exposes them to a variety of sites by following natural language links.

Social networking has introduced many users to the notion of tagging by tagging people to specific items like photos, videos, or notes/blogs. Media-sharing services, such as flickr and YouTube offer tag-based browsing or encourage tagging to organize content, as demonstrated by the links, respectively.

Since 2007 bloggers have gained on Mainstream Media (MSM). On the day of U.S. Election, a TechCrunch traffic survey revealed 3 non-MSM sites in the top 15 news sites. This shows the power of non-MSM outlets to survive the fierce competition with MSM conglomerates.

For the blogosphere to remain competitive it will need technologies such as tagging to boost the flow of users to non-MSM sites.