This post is a comment on the Mom Blogs versus the Bloggernacle Blogs discussion at BCC last week. Specifically, when the question of size and exposure of different blogs came up, Vada asked if I could crunch some numbers on the question.
Unfortunately, I don’t have traffic numbers, which would probably be most interesting. But it occurred to me, since Sue mentioned Technorati authority, that I could look at how different types of blogs turned up in searches. So I did two searches. First, I searched Technorati for blogs tagged “Mormon” and made a list of the top 100 ranked by authority (a function of number of incoming links). Second, I did a Google search for “Mormon blog” (the search was not in quotes–that is, I searched for matches to the two words, not for the two words as a phrase) and made a list of the first 100 results ranked by order.
Note: If you’re not interested in the details of the method, you can skip to the table now.
I excluded duplicate listings from each list. The Technorati search seemed particularly flaky–once I searched and it told me there were 290-ish blogs tagged “Mormon” and then a day later I searched and it said there were almost 600. I verified my list against the new results, and there were actually very few new ones. The number of duplicate listings had just increased dramatically. With Google, the biggest problem was that a blog and a post on a blog would be found and listed separately, so I had to go beyond 100 results to get 100 unique results.
Once I had the lists, I went through and categorized all of the results. Of course, the two categories I was really interested in were Mom blogs and Bloggernacle blogs. I used a liberal definition of a Mom blog, including ones where couples blogged together about their kids. I also defined the Bloggernacle liberally, including blogs by frequent commenters even if they aren’t listed on the Mormon Archipelago. Really, though, there weren’t many borderline cases for the Bloggernacle or the Mom blogs, and they tended to be farther down in the results, so I doubt how I categorized them made much of a difference. I also included aggregators of blogs with the blog type they aggregate.
Of course, I found more than just Mom blogs and Bloggernacle blogs. I found a few explicitly anti-Mormon blogs, so I put them in a separate category. All other Mormon-related blogs by individuals, groups, organizations, or businesses I categorized as “other.” Among the Google search results, there were two more unique categories. One was non-Mormon bloggers (meaning not non-members of the LDS church, but bloggers who don’t typically blog about Mormon topics) who sometimes write posts about Mormons and Mormonism that draw lots of attention. This happened particularly, as you might guess, in relation to Prop 8. Finally, the Google results included some matches that aren’t blogs at all. Mostly these were references to blogs from other websites, such as newspapers.
With the categorized lists, the next question was how to score the blogs to reflect their prominence. For the blogs listed on Technorati, using authority scores was an obvious choice. I also used three additional scoring methods for both searches. First, I counted every blog equally, regardless of rank. In the table below, I call this the unweighted scoring method. Second, I assigned scores by giving the top blog listed 100 points, the second 99, and so on down to 1 for the last blog. In the table below, I call this the linear scoring method. Finally, to reflect the fact that the top listed blogs are probably dramatically more prominent than the lower-scoring ones (how often do we click through multiple pages of Google results?), I assigned scores based on the square of the linear weights. So the top blog scored 10,000 (=100*100), the second scored 9801 (=99*99), and so on down to 1 (=1*1) for the last blog. In the table below, I call this the quadratic scoring method.
One more note about the scoring methods: The total number of possible scoring points was different for the different methods. For example, for the unweighted method, there were 100 total points, while for the linear method, there were 5050. Because of this, I divided all the scores by the total number of points for the method to make the results easier to look at. This means that the values in the table below are percentages.
Okay, so with the categories and the scoring methods, I scored all the blogs, and added up the scores by category. Here are the results:
|Scoring Method||Blog Category|
It’s clear that Mom blogs dominate Bloggernacle blogs in Technorati, regardless of the scoring method used. The Mom blogs score 40+% to about 14% for the Bloggernacle blogs. Interestingly, this is the case even though none of the blogs listed by Azúcar in her comment in the BCC discussion appeared on my list of blogs from Technorati. Had even some of these been included–for example c jane’s blog (also mentioned in the BCC thread, although not on Azúcar’s list) scores a 1552 on Technorati authority, and the highest scoring one on my list only scored 287–the difference would have been even more dramatic.
But in the Google results, the difference is if anything more dramatic in the opposite direction, particularly for the more realistic scoring methods. For the quadratic method, Bloggernacle blogs total 34% of the points to 2% for Mom blogs. In the Google list, BCC was #1, Jeff Lindsay’s Mormanity was #2, FMH was #5, T&S was #7, and DMI Dave was #9.
So what does this all mean? Given their higher Technorati authority scores, it appears that the Mom blogs are better integrated into the larger blogosphere than are the Bloggernacle blogs. But given their higher Google rankings, it appears that the Bloggernacle blogs may be more visible to the internet in general. This is consistent with the big Mom blogs not being tagged “Mormon” on Technorati. I would guess (I don’t read them–sorry!) that this is because they mostly deal with topics other than Mormonism. The Bloggernacle blogs, on the other hand, pretty much blog about all Mormonism all the time.
In the end, perhaps this boils down to a distinction I once saw made between blogs about Mormonism and blogs by Mormons, where the former is (mostly) a subset of the latter, but the latter is much bigger. (Sorry–I can’t recall who made this point so I can’t credit it.) Perhaps the Bloggernacle falls largely into both sets, while the Mom blogs fall in the latter set but not as much in the former.