The Institutionalization of Blogging

Trevor Cook is writing a fascinating conference paper titled Can blogging retain its revolutionary fervour? Trevor’s thesis is ‘that as the blogosphere matures it will increasingly come to resemble ‘traditional’ media.

Its an idea I’ve wondered about myself over the past few months. Some of Trevor’s observations are spot on the money as far as I can see – he could well be onto something.

His analysis reminds me a little of a workshop I once participated in on institutionalization of movements. The speaker had done extensive research into significant movements throughout history which started as very organic, grassroots, unorganized and fluid networks of people who almost always would slowly move towards institutionalization despite the best efforts of their participants to stop the process. His theory was that institutionalization is always inevitable. You can slow it down but not stop it (not without killing it). You can see spin off movements that might lengthen the life of the organic nature of what’s going on, but they too institutionalize.

I’m totally generalizing and summarizing what was a complicated and interesting session into a paragraph here (its Sunday night and I’ve had a hard day of eating good food, drinking wonderful wine and sitting in the sun – not thinking too clearly) – but I wonder if what Trevor is describing with the inevitable movement of blogging to becoming like ‘old media’ is something like the inevitable shift from a movement to institution.

More on the BlogAds Survey

In continuing my last post on the BlogAds survey – I thought I’d make a few other little observations – nothing too profound – just what stood out to me as I read through the result.

Probably the more interesting responses for me in this survey were:

92.1% of blog readers never listen to podcasts – 3.1% listen to 1 per week and 1.7% listen to 2 per week. Whilst there is a lot of talk and development in this area its still got a way to go. It’ll be very interesting to see the comparison between these results and those of this time next year – I’d suspect a substantial increase.

-72.4% of readers never use RSS feeds. 16.5% sometimes use it, 7% often use it and 4.6% always use it. Again this is a technology that is yet to really hit the big time despite the hype about it. I’ve actually long suspected this as I look at the stats on all of my blogs which rarely get hit via RSS (except for this one which is gets quite a few – mainly I guess because its read by bloggers themselves).

– Whilst 16% of readers read blogs for around 10 hours per week – 38.6% of readers spend 5 hours or less. A further 33.8% spend between 6 and 10 hours per week, 14.8% spend between 11 and 15 hours and 12.7% spend over 16 hours per week reading blogs. So the vast majority (72.4%) spend 10 hours or less per week reading blogs (or under 84 minutes per day). Not sure why this interests me – perhaps it just depresses me as I can spend that much reading blogs 10 times over in a day! :-)

Blogads: reader survey for blog advertising.

Just running out the door for the day (its a long weekend here) but saw that Blogads have released the results of their reader survey for blog advertising. Looking forward to having a look through their results tonight. Adrants summarizes it as follows:

  • 75% are over 30
  • 75% are men
  • 43% have HHI over $90K
  • Most, 14%, are employed in education
  • 71% have signed a petition
  • 66% have contacted a politician
  • 50% (highest of any media) rank blogs tops in usefulness for news and opinion

So we’ve got middle aged, men with pretty decent wages who are politically aware/active…. Interested in what others are thinking about the results? What conclusions can we draw – what are the signs that we as pro bloggers need to take note of? I’m expecting ALL the answers here in comments below when I get home tonight! :-)

Read more at Adrants: Study: Blogs Reach High Income, Educated Audience

Bloglines Problems

Is anyone else having issues with Bloglines today? I logged on this morning only to find that I could not access it at all. I thought maybe they were having issues and waited an hour or two only to find it still timing out. Now 10 hours later I’m still without it and starting to get a little edgy about it as I know others on my IM lists can see the site. My ISP says it must be a computer problem, but I’m not sure about that as I’ve done nothing to it since last night when I could access the site fine. Very strange.

I’m not sure what I’d do without Bloglines – I currently track 300+ feeds on it, it provides me with the content for my blogs, which my business revolves around. Maybe I’ll have to find a new news reader – anyone got any suggestions of one that works well with a Mac?

Update – Still no luck with Bloglines – its been 19 hours and counting. At least I’m not alone though.

Update II – We’re back online with Bloglines – phew….I think I might back up the feeds I follow – the threat of losing them has left me realising the importance of that list of sources – its actually an asset!

Google’s AdSense a bonanza for some Web sites

USA Today has an article on Adsense titled Google’s AdSense a bonanza for some Web sites which has a few interesting snippets that basically talk up the program. Here are a few grabs from it firstly on Chris Pirillo from Lockergnome:

‘Chris Pirillo, who has a following from his former role as a host on the now-defunct TechTV cable channel, says he’s clearing more than $10,000 a month.

Before AdSense, which began in March 2003, bloggers and other small Web publishers had fewer options to make money. They could put banner ads on their sites for a host of non-related products, or commission programs from Amazon and eBay. “It was a lot more work, and you didn’t get much of a return,” Pirillo says.

With AdSense, “You write content, publish it, and the money starts to pour in,” he says….

Next a grab from Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc:

In his first four months of Web publishing, AdSense brought in $45,000. Some of his blogs produce $3,000 a month. His best do “four figures,” Calacanis says, though he’s reluctant to fill in the exact numbers. “And that’s with zero marketing,” he says….

And lastly on the future entry of Yahoo into the small publisher market:

With pay-per-click ads, Google and Yahoo are locked in a bitter battle for advertiser dollars. But Yahoo doesn’t compete with AdSense for small publishers — yet. Yahoo says it will introduce an offering later this year.’

Read more at – Google’s AdSense a bonanza for some Web sites

More Business UnderBloggers added

I just updated the nominations in the 2005 Business Underblogger Awards. We’re up to 51 nominations so far. In updating the nominations I discovered a few great professional bloggers that I’d never known of before on a really wide range of topics. Check them out and leave your nominations for Business Blogs that you like that fly under the radar and deserve more readership than they get on the nominations page.

Here are the latest nominations:

Open Xorce Crossing :: Ken’s Management Log Book :: Biz Book Nuggets :: What’s Next Blog :: Leaders Go First :: Blog for Fun and Profit :: Next Level Biz Tips :: Build a Better Blog :: WonderBranding :: VOIP Advice :: Decent Marketing :: Brand Autopsy :: Coach Ezines :: What Retirement :: Business of Life :: Legacy Matters :: Estate Legacy Blogs

See the full list of nominations here

Letting others Promote your Blog for you

Finding readers for your blog can be one of the hardest and most frustrating parts of blogging. You slave over your content, writing witty, clever, insightful, humorous posts and check your stats at the end of your day and barely anyone has taken any notice – it can be downright depressing. I’m always on the lookout for new and fresh ways to expose potential readers to blogs and love to check out how others do it.

One of the more innovative things I’ve seen recently is over at Idol Blog – particularly in their American Idol Section where they have just made public their American Idolblog Popularity Tracker.

The tracker is basically a poll about which contestant people like the most. The poll is reset every week and tracked back on the blog in graphical form. Up until now they’ve only run these popular polls in their own sidebars but now they are offering them via a javascript code to other bloggers and websites.

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Formatting images for SEO

One of the most commonly known Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips that go around has to do with the way you name and tag the images that you use on your site. Its fairly commonly accepted by most SEO experts that Google not only looks at the text on your blog in order to measure its worth but that Google’s spidering bots also take a look at the code you use in your image files.

Over the years SEO techniques have been developed to abuse this fact and webmasters have ‘stuffed’ their ‘alt tags’ with all kinds of keywords – however Google has found ways to combat this and treats such strategies as spamming their bots now – however it is still legitimate to put keywords in you image tags and I would recommend that you do (within reason).

If I’m writing on one of my technical blogs about a product and want to post a picture – I always make sure that the file name of the picture includes the name of the product (with-hyphens-between-words). The system I use (ecto) to publish my blog uploads photos automatically to set the file name as the ‘alt tags’ (which are the words that come up as your picture loads) and uploads the picture to its own URL with the file name in the actual URL. This ensures that when Google’s bot spiders through your site it sees your keywords an additional few times per picture.

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Blogging for Dollars Presentations at IIMA

Roland Tanglao’s presentation on Blogging for Dollars at IIMA this week looks like a pretty comprehensive presentation and one I’d have like to have heard and had a chance to interact with. Also presenting was Arieanna and Tris – both quality bloggers in their own right.

Sometimes I wish I lived in (or at least a little closer to) North America to be able to get along to these types of gatherings (but then again on wonderful Melbourne days like today I’m also quite glad to be where I am). Maybe its time for a ‘Blogging for Dollars’ workshop here to see who comes out to play.

Soldiers earning Money from Blogging

There is an interesting article in the Army Times about soldiers in Iraq who are turning to blogging to make a few dollars in their spare time whilst there.

‘Finding paid advertisers may be too time-consuming for soldiers in a combat zone, so several Internet companies sell advertising for bloggers. However, bloggers receive only a percentage of what the companies bring in from advertisers, but the companies do the sales legwork. Many of these companies will even provide bloggers with free server space.

Some soldiers are selling T-shirts, bumper stickers and hats on their sites. Some bloggers say so many readers ask what they can send to show their support, they have posted wish lists on their sites. Others have set up ways for readers to send them money.’

Read more at Some troops make money from blogs

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