Monday, June 02, 2008

Map of the virtual world

I've constructed a little map utility at my portal to help people locate bloggers around the world. There's a menu item called "blogmap". The locations are approximate, because most bloggers want a certain degree of anonymity. It's a work in progress, but eventually I hope to construct a fairly comprehensive locater.

Trying to construct a physical map of the blogosphere created some challenges. For example some blogs specialize in places they do not actually inhabit. For example, it turns out that one of the better known blogs about Russia is physically edited and written out of Texas. But sometimes bloggers absolutely, positively want people to know where they are. Professor Bainbridge and Eugene Volokh both advertise themselves as being in UCLA.

The question is why would I build such a map? One reason is the belief that eventually the information will come in handy. If there's an accident or incident somewhere it pays to have some sense of whose site I should log onto; maybe even send an email to. One never knows when it will come in handy.

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Blogger RWE said...

I would think that of even greater utility would be a “map” that showed bloggers’ expertise and interests.

When Jonah Goldberg over at NRO would send out a “bleg” for info and then would complain about getting all sorts of answers from people who did not know their own anus from an earthen excavation, I would always think about the Delphi process. In that process requests for info are sent out and most answers fall in a range like a bell shaped curve. Only the outlying answers would be examined in detail because they typically reflect either a total ignorance of the subject or relevant knowledge that no one else has. I think that something like that process would work for getting info from the vast sea of bloggers but it would be good to know what kind of expertise was represented by people with their own webpages.

6/02/2008 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Yes. There's an argument to be made that best representation of the blogosphere is a conceptual map. That's a little harder to implement because it requires finding a way to weigh the links between different pieces of information.

Like a drunk looking for a coin under the lamplight I just did what seemed easiest.

6/02/2008 04:40:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...


If you think it will help you to operate your weblog more effectively and efficiently, then by all means you do what you have to do. I am not tech savvy and therefore am a poor judge of these matters. So, if you are getting good advice and the reasoning seems solid to you, go for it.

6/02/2008 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Well, a map of where all the streetlights are is probably achievable but a map of who has flashlights is probably much more difficult.

And a map of who is not drunk is well nigh impossible…

6/02/2008 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Some years ago somebody constructed a conceptual/political map of the blogosphere distinguishable into two hemispheres. I'm not sure that two dimensions really covers it though.

6/02/2008 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

A coin? He told me he lost his keys!

6/02/2008 12:52:00 PM  

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