Saturday, March 13, 2010
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!