Saturday, March 13, 2010

Almost Famous

Possibly one of the more famous quotes from the 19th century American Novelist, Mark Twain:

""There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

I had an email last night, telling me that Thanet Life has just entered at number 251 in the Wikio 'Politics' rankings. Just in case you didn't know, I didn't, Wikio is apparently the number one news aggregator in Europe, indexing over 200,000 English-language sources, which is nice!

But I'm not alone. Eastcliff Richard reports that his is now the: "521st most influential blog in Britain", Thanet Strife hovers at 599 and Mark Nottingham tells us Wikio rates his blog, "as the 680th most influential blog in the country." He also adds with characteristic generosity "They also do not rate Thanet Conservative councillor Simon Moores blog Thanet Life, preferring Cllr. Ken Gregory's Village Voice for a right wing view. That seems very accurate, although it is unfortunate for Simon that Wikio does not rate fiction and fantasy."

However, all that glitters is not gold and from what I can see, Wikio indexes only a fraction of the millions of Blogs that exist and I'm not really convinced that a high ranking on Wikio actually means anything faintly authoritative in the real world, on a par, say, with being Labour's 99th most popular blogger with a passing interest in Spinach.

If you think about it, unless someone has nothing better to do than trawl the political weblogs for stories, it's only the Top 20 or so that really count and will attract the most traffic, these being the likes of Ian Dale's Diary, Left Foot Forward and Total Politics. The latter reports that "2010 is set to be the year of the 'web election'. Facebook and Twitter are now reportedly vital weapons in an MP's election campaign arsenal. It also adds that the major parties are failing to make the most of their online presence through confusing website layouts and policy messages unsuitable for a Google search.

I reckon that by the time most readers have waded past the through 'Top 20' they would be in danger of falling asleep and reading these blogs, one-by-one, might replace 'Waterboarding' as a cruel and unusual form of torture.' By the time they arrive down at 251, where my own blog now sits, all signs of useful  neural activity may well have ceased for good.

In reality, people find our blogs, almost by accident, when a Google search throws-up something unexpected or interesting like "Labour + Spinach" or "Margate + Turner."  As Michael Child pointed out in his Thanet Online blog last month, Thanet Life was probably invisible to these aggregators as a weblog until I changed the template a couple of weeks ago and then, 'Hey Presto', it's almost famous!

I won't open the bottle of bubbly to celebrate just yet though!


Michael Child said...

Hi Simon when I put you into the search box you come you 1593rd under general and 251st under politics. Now my blog comes up 444th under general but it won’t come up under politics at all, any idea how you managed to get a political rating and I didn’t?

DrM. said...

No idea beyond being visibly 'blue-tinted' and vaguely political in content.

However it does illustrate what I say here about the broader meaningless of such rankings unless one happens to be in the Top 20 or so.

Now if I suddenly start appearing closer to the top with traffic statistics to match, that would be much more interesting.

Maybe you should show an interest in spinach or matters greener, as this may help?

Michael Child said...

I have been into the blog’s html editor and added politics to the key words to see if that makes a difference, it was either that or claiming to be the raving loony party candidate and risking the wrath of Screaming Lord Sutch – from the other side – as it were.

If this fails I will try putting in keywords such as broccoli, lettuce and green – as per your advice.

tony flaig bignews said...

I may be bitter and twisted but I'm of the opinion that Wikio is nothing if not flawed, having seen all the fuss about this a week or two back I registered myself and it informed me I was already in the system and yet searches reveal nothing

I think michael childs monthly thing is as reliable.

Peter Checksfield said...

Any tips on how to make Naked in Thanet more political?

Ken Gregory said...


Try pining on the odd rossette or two!