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« People of the Year (Bloggers) Can Help | Main | Notes from Blog University »

January 04, 2005

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Tom,

I appreciate the attention. I'll be stopping back in the near future.

By the way, I think you did a great job with your links. Many bloggers need help in that department. I've noticed that best bloggers are link happy. What do you think? Do have any research on this? (Does anyone?)

- John

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
John S. Rhodes
email: john@oristus.com
phone: 607-768-5564
http://oristus.com

John,

Thanks for the comment and the great questions.

I'm not sure if any of the ongoing research looks specifically at the relationship of links within posts to a classification like "best bloggers." But there are attempts to apply network theory to the social networks represented by blogs and their linking system (which I sense focus mostly on blogrolls, reciprocal link lists, and the like). Here's a paper on the application of the "Power Law" of network theory to explain the rise of A-list blogs.

I don't pretend to understand all the math behind network theory, but a relatively accessible explanation can be found in Albert-Laszlo Barabasi's book Linked: The New Science of Networks. A less theoretical treatment of social networks and the impact of links is offered by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.

Those theories may help explain how linking creates networks and hubs within networks, but I don't think they help much with why some bloggers are "link happy" as you put it. From my own perspective, I put in lots of links to make my posts more useful to readers. That may come out of my appellate litigation background (where you had to cite authority for everything you wrote).

But I prefer to think of it as applying Tim Sanders' "networking through giving" approach from Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends in the blogosphere.

Does that spark any thoughts on why we link?

Tom

Tom,

These are great references. Interestly, I have read them all, except Love is the Killer App. I'm going to check that out!

I thought about this last night. I have a theory about blogging and linking. It goes like this:

The best blogs (a-list or otherwise) are the best because of one of two factors.

1. Great blogs are great because the bloggers link like crazy, and they do a good job (i.e., choose well) linking.

2. Great blogs are great because the bloggers are smart, and write smart material.

The absolute best bloggers do a great job linking and they do a great job writing their material. In other words, their posts are great because they link well and write well. If they do both, bam!, they are superstars.

Note: Age doesn't matter. WebWord has been around for a while now and it isn't a monster. Too targeted perhaps? Maybe I stink at writing and linking? Who knows for sure.

So, let me ask another question. Maybe I've already partially answered it. Wink, wink.

Why are some bloggers great? What makes a blog great? A side question might be, can a blog be great if the blogger is not great? If so, when and how? (Only example I can think of would be a metablog or multi-person blog, like Metafilter.)

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
John S. Rhodes
email: john@oristus.com
phone: 607-768-5564
http://oristus.com

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