Friday, February 02, 2007

Top edublogs?

Update: Scott McLeod has commented on this post below. His misinterpretation of my point has led me to clarify this post. The old has been struckthrough.

Lately, I'm noticing a fair number of so-called "edu-bloggers" fussing over Technorati ranking, awards, number of hits and links. This is, apparently, in an effort to identify the top "edublogs". Recently, Scott McLeod created a chart breaking down the best-of-the-best and added,
"I unapologetically admit that I care about my Technorati ranking. Why? Because I'm trying to make change. The bigger audience I have, the more readers I reach directly and the more people I can influence indirectly through those readers. I'm on a mission. Aren't you?"
To be blunt, caring about one's Technorati ranking is self-indulgence and has no relationship to "influence". Of course, self-indulgence is not necessarily a negative thing and admitting it is healthy. But to defer that admittance to a higher reason by claiming that care for ranking to be reflective of capacity better enables one to carry out a "mission" to "change" society is nonsensical.

Hits, ranking, number of links...all of these are meaningless in the context of "making change"...unless you're talking about $pocket change$. However, in the context of social change, these stats are...well, dangerously irrelevant.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous u r a hypocrite said...

Or perhaps your just upset that your ranking is so low!

I don't see what's wrong with technorati and you have technorati on your site so you sound pretty stupid to criticize it.

09:12  
Blogger Gnuosphere said...

"Or perhaps your just upset that your ranking is so low"

This may or may not be true. However, I don't understand the relevance of your point.

"I don't see what's wrong with technorati and you have technorati on your site so you sound pretty stupid to criticize it."

I don't recall criticizing Technorati. In fact, such a service is useful in tracking a topic of conversation spanning multiple websites.

15:11  
Anonymous Scott McLeod said...

Hi Peter,

You've never met me, so I'm not quite sure why you're willing to disbelieve my self-admitted intention of trying to make change. Those who know me could attest quite readily to the fact that I'm 'on a mission.'

I'm a professor of educational leadership at a major research university. Unlike many of my peers, I see my role as being one of helping and serving schools. I do that through my teaching, through my hands-on work with educators, and increasingly through my blogging and other writing. I think that schools need to do some changing in order to adapt to our new digital world. I believe that I have some good ideas worth sharing and have been pleased that so far those ideas have been well-received and perceived as helpful by the very folks that I'm trying to reach. So... the greater reach I have, either directly or indirectly, the more educators receive my message. Now why wouldn't I be concerned with my Technorati ranking as an indicator, no matter how imperfect, of my ability to reach folks and enact change? Why do you call 'nonsensical' my belief that the more folks I can reach, the more change I can influence?

00:40  
Blogger Gnuosphere said...

Scott says:

"Hi Peter, You've never met me, so I'm not quite sure why you're willing to disbelieve my self-admitted intention of trying to make change."

You have misunderstood my post. I never stated a disbelief. In fact, I'm quite sure you are dedicated to making change.

"So... the greater reach I have, either directly or indirectly, the more educators receive my message.

This is true, yes.

"Now why wouldn't I be concerned with my Technorati ranking as an indicator, no matter how imperfect, of my ability to reach folks and enact change?"

Because concern over your ranking cannot help you make change. In fact, if one is not careful, it can actually impede change.

"Why do you call 'nonsensical' my belief that the more folks I can reach, the more change I can influence?"

Sorry if my post was not clear. To be clear, what is nonsensical is justification of concern (i.e. from your post - "Why? Because...") for one's own ranking based upon the reasoning that by doing so, one will help further one's own mission to make change.

What makes change is (in this context) the way and what you communicate using your blog - which I may add, you do very well.

08:11  
Anonymous Scott McLeod said...

Thanks for the kind words about what I blog. I'll stand by my belief that who is in, and how big is, my audience also matters. If a professor blogs in the forest and there's no one around, is there any sound? =)

13:09  
Blogger Gnuosphere said...

"I'll stand by my belief that who is in, and how big is, my audience also matters."

Yes. It matters as responsible communication is always important...and even more important if your audience is large.

"If a professor blogs in the forest and there's no one around, is there any sound?"

Hmm. Let me koantemplate that for a while... ;)

15:31  
Anonymous Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach said...

I read your post and tend to agree. I think your focus was that getting hits or ranking is really meaningless in the scheme of things. It isnt about building huge networks, but rather meaningful ones.

Now this is not a swipe at Scott-- I hear his heart and I get his point.

But I think you can have high ranking and many hits in Technorati or Alexa and not really be serving up a profound message.
And in reverse you can be getting less hits and yet resonating deeply with a few individuals who then reconstruct your ideas and take your message to the f2f world and start to evoke change.

For example, I just posted about my daughter Amber. She ranks just under "A" lister Stephen Downs and above Will Richardson, but besides the lessons in marketing we can learn from her-- her message is only one of cupcakes and spice racks. (Dont get me wrong my kid is a genius but she doesnt always blog in that vein)

Hits in some instances give the illusion that people are listening, when in fact sometimes they simply did a Google search and clicked on you out of curiousity. They saw one post for a few seconds, not exactly a foundation for influence.

22:29  
Blogger Gnuosphere said...

Sheryl says:

"I think your focus was that getting hits or ranking is really meaningless in the scheme of things. It isnt about building huge networks, but rather meaningful ones."

Yes. Well put.

"But I think you can have high ranking and many hits in Technorati or Alexa and not really be serving up a profound message."

Yes. The quality of one's message has no relationship to statistical popularity. And quality is infinitely more important than anything else. Even if there is only a handful of others listening.

If we look objectively, we can see many (but not all) popular bloggers spending a lot of time linking and commenting on other's sites. Linking and commenting in itself is great. That is communication. But it is easy to spot some bloggers whose comments on and links to other blogs are rather vapid. This can sometimes be due to the motive of building a quantitatively larger network. This is not necessarily bad, but anyone who cares about harnessing the power of a global communications network to help bring about positive change in this world could maybe think twice about blogging in such a manner.

"Now this is not a swipe at Scott-- I hear his heart and I get his point. "

Oh most definitely. Neither was my post.
It was a very targeted response to his "Why? Because [...]" claim. Nothing else. In fact, I've read several quality posts on his blog and do believe his primary motivation is not popularity.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting. But next time, please link to my blog so I can get my Technorati ranking up a little higher. ;)

10:01  
Anonymous Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach said...

Actually-- I will do that now. As I too posted one recently about Tracking and numbers and do not want my post misunderstood. So I will link here to let others read between the lines in case they misread what I am trying to say.

Come check it out and comment on my site too ok? I need the ratings. ha!
Does Traffic Matter

17:23  

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