The Networked Structure Of The Blogosphere

The networked structure of the blogosphere

Perhaps the most important difference between blogs and more traditional media is that blogs are networked phenomena that rely on hyperlinks. Some blogs consist of little more than lists of hyperlinks; others include lengthy commentaries. All blogs by definition link to other sources of information, including, most pertinently, other blogs. The universe of blogs is conventionally referred to as the “blogosphere.”

Links between blogs take two forms. First, many bloggers maintain a “blog roll” on their website; a list of blogs that they frequently read or especially admire, with clickable links to the general URLs (web addresses) of those blogs. Blog rolls usually occupy a permanent position on the blog’s home page. Blog rolls provide an excellent means of situating a blogger’s interests and preferences within the blogosphere; bloggers are likely to use their blog rolls to link other blogs that have shared interests. Second, bloggers may write specific posts that contain hyperlinks to other blogs. Unlike links in the blog roll, links within posts will be archived as new posts replace old ones over time.

Typically, such posts themselves link directly to a specific post on the other blog (rather than the blog’s general URL address), perhaps also providing some commentary on that post.
Posts commenting on posts are a key form of information exchange in the blogosphere. Although they mean that discussions in the blogosphere can often have the characteristics of an echo-chamber – bloggers commenting on bloggers commenting on bloggers– they also allow for a means of rough and ready information filtering.

Links and page views are the currency of the blogosphere. Many bloggers desire a wide readership. Conventional wisdom suggests that “the most reliable way to gain traffic [readership] is through a link on another weblog.” This stems from the nature of hypertext. Ceteris paribus, when one blog links to another, the readers of the former blog are more likely to read the latter after having clicked on a hyperlink than they would have been otherwise. If they like what they read, they may even become regular readers of the second blog.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License