Kevin is trying to get people to post about their most popular blog entries and tag it through Technorati with . He suggests three methods for determining your most popular entries: by comments, by hits, or by Google. Thing is, these lead to different posts. It’s an interesting question in itself: how do you decide what is “popular” on a blog?

Most recently, I got a lot of hits and comments on my post about How to Cheat Good, due in large part to nods from bloggers with serious followings: Michael Froomkin and Bruce Schneier. Thanks to the search terms people use, a lot of folks end up at an entry on Really Sexy Sindication or, strangely, How to Build a Raft.

But by far the most read and commented-on post was the Isuzu Experiment, in which I messed with Wikipedia in the name of science (or something). It’s been widely referenced and cited, though I did it just on a lark. And that gets back to Kevin’s question. Whether or not something is popular on my site is really not something I think much about any more. When something hits, I usually have no idea why, and certainly don’t predict it (otherwise I would spellcheck!). But while I don’t seek out larger audiences, I do note that when I write about my research, it often sinks like a stone: no comments, no interest. So, whether or not I consciously plan it, I tend to write more about my teaching and about politics–since these tend to garner more interest. I’ll have more to say about this in a few weeks, I suspect.

Anyway, how did I come to write that post? Well, I think I spell it out in outline form in the post itself. I was following a conversation among bloggers about a particular newspaper article, and someone actually suggested something along the lines of “someone should try…” Having always been a sucker for “someone should try…” (thus, the post you are reading now) I figured it would take only a few minutes to give it a run and type up the results. I nearly forgot about it, as I was busy with other things, but came back to a flood of emails, IMs and comments.

Ironically, I try not to blog about a lot of stuff that shows up on Boing Boing, or on Slashdot, etc. I figure, they are already doing a great job at that, why add yet another “this is cool” to the cacophony of similar posts out there. Sure, I still do it sometimes, but not often. Paradoxically, if I wanted to increase my readership, I suspect I could do so by posting mainly about news that has already been put out there.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 5/29/2006 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    It is indeed a strange contradiction, blogging what’s already popular to scoop up some popularity of your own. This mirroring, as I think it is called, does become tedious at times, since following the herd to become part of its tail is somewhat sad.

    Luckily a lot of the bloggers I read are capable of addressing these news facts in their own style, from their own points of view. Perhaps this distinguishes the blogosphere from traditional media, all picking up on the same Reuters story without much distinction? Most blogging is and will (luckily) remain a personal endeavour. That makes it so interesting and such a joy to participate, I think.

    Fascinating post and comment thread on the Isuzu story, btw.

    Cheers & thanks for blogging!

3 Trackbacks

  1. By the chutry experiment on 5/29/2006 at 10:21 am

    Best Blog Forward…

    Via Alex: Kevin Lim is requesting that bloggers write a post about their most popular blog entries and to tag the entry through Technorati with bestblogforward. Because I can never resist an excuse to go digging through my archives, I’m……

  2. […] While my professor Alex Halavais and blogger Julie Meloni noted the flimsy metrics I suggested for finding your popular blog posts, it really doesn’t matter. The results might differ according to methodology, but they shouldn’t stray off the same cluster of thought unless you have a tendency to write eclectically. […]

  3. […] to cheat good, The Isuzu experiment, Capstone defenses, for class, BestBlogForward (ironically, an effort to publicize the most popular posts), Bariata: November Archives, A bad few […]

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