BIG FISH IN A SMALL

BIG FISH IN A SMALL POND….Via Blogging News, Jason Kottke provides a summary of various attempts to rank blogs:

Here are some lists of the top weblogs (as determined by counting inbound links):

Technorati Top 100
Daypop Top Weblogs
Myelin Blogging Ecosystem
TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem
Most Watched Blogs @ blo.gs**
Blogrolling.com Top Links**

** These two lists are not like the others and the discussion below may not apply. (Or maybe it does.)

You can also add the BlogStreet Most Important 100 Blogs to that list.

Jason notes correctly that each of these lists provides wildly different rankings. As of today, for example, the rank of CalPundit on these lists is (in order) 65, 0, 0, 8, 0, 0, and 50. Jason wonders if we can do better:

So, my hypothesis is that because of the skew introduced by the initial conditions and the small sample sizes, all of these lists (except maybe Technorati) are pretty inaccurate. It’s like the network effect squared or something — the rich seem disproportionally richer because the network is being measured from their perspective (perhaps making this weblogs & power law business more pronounced than it actually is) — but I can’t get my head around it. So here’s my question for you. How do you construct a fairly accurate map of a network (the weblog universe in this case) with a sample size much smaller than the total number of nodes (weblogs)? Is it even possible?

Needless to say, I prefer the methodology that ranks me the highest, but there are really two questions here: (1) what is the best measure of “rank”? and (2) how can this measurement be calculated? The technical question is interesting, but I suspect it’s the first question that’s really the hardest.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation