As part of my "Competitor Watch" programme I picked up on a conference where the rather alarming allied pair of Technorati and Edelman were speaking (thanks to this reviewer and this one). And yes, it was the man himself, he of the ever stimulating blog.
Having tried to measure and map the blogosphere over the last year - as I wrote about here and here - on the whole I agree with a lot of what they -reportedly - said, not least the difficulty of getting clients to engage with this problem/opportunity. But I found myself disagreeing with some of their assumptions. In the interests of lively debate here's some alternative views:
1. Mapping the blogosphere. At the very least the blogosphere is a subset of the "webosphere". I have found that it is more useful - for my purposes at least - to imagine that there are on-line conversations and communities made up of bloggers, on-line media, on-line versions of off-line media, NGOs, governments, academics and many more. While it is occasionally useful to just pull out the bloggers from this set, if you are going to do anything with it - like engage with "the conversation" - you need to understand the total system. Bloggers interact with the whole web not just each other.
So I find myself not mapping the blogosphere but the web. For one thing you can then gauge how important bloggers are in the total system. Sometimes they are big influencers, sometimes not.
2. Find the top 100 bloggers by country. As Jackie Danicki says in her report, this misses the point. There may be top bloggers per issue, or topic or - if we're lucky - per brand, but what counts in this type of medium is relevance not sheer traffic or volume (whether by country or language). I can't recall the exact figures but I think the three biggest circulation magazines in the UK are Readers Digest, Sky Magazine and the AA's magazine. I can't believe any "reader" would say that these are the "top" magazines in any sense : not in general and certainly not in any niche.
So yes "the blogosphere" is a logical entity - although when does a "blog" become an on-line medium for example "blogs" like the Huffington Post or Adjab seem to have crossed over - and yes it can be mathematically mapped as an entire entity (as shown here), I just don't find these maps very useful.
So if you want my advice, (don't all post at once) don't try to map the whole of the blogosphere/webosphere or find the "top blogs" just map the sites that are relevant to your issue/topic/brand.
By analogy you can map all 400,000,000,000 of the stars that make up our galaxy as shown here. Interesting but not useful. Just as interesting, but no only slightly more useful is the zoom in on our spiral arm (same link , but further down).
Only when you get to a scale that has some practical human utility like this do you have a map useful to us intrepid explorers of this new space. (By the way, it seems that if you put too much detail in you arguably lose utility as shown here).
Like the universe, the blogosphere is a big scary place. But there are some great neighbourhoods in it.
Lets get mapping and go visit.
:: another review of the conference from Antony Mayfield here