Thursday, June 11, 2009

Top Blogs, Top Dogs

Back on the subject of blogs, I was wondering what the Internet's top blogs are (as opposed to something else's top blogs, right? Cable TV's top blogs or public radio's top blogs). After a little Google search, I found this: Technorati's list of the top 100 blogs. You can rank them "by authority" or "by number of fans." Although I'm not exactly sure what "by authority" means (how do you determine or evaluate authority, anyway? Do any of you know, if so, please tell me in a comment!), I first ranked the blogs this way and discovered that number 16 on the list is a parenting blog ParentDish. Check it out. Spend a few minutes there soaking it all in. Notice the hot pink buttons and headlines, scroll of featured articles at top, the sheer number of categories, the scope of the site.

Honestly, what makes this site so great? Check out the current articles' headlines: "Planning a Road Trip? Stay Busy in the Car"; "Skipping Sunscreen--How Bad?"; or my favorite, the wonderfully titled, "Eggs." Is it on the Top 100 list because it aims to provide helpful tips and advice to parents? Does ParentDish achieve "authority" through its utilitarianism? In my book, the advice is too basic and the design too cluttered. It seems like a busy site for busybodies. Isn't it simply a reflection of its harried readers? And it has multiple contributors, making it seem more like a bad magazine than a blog.

I thought a blog was supposed to be a quirky, intimate affair, a place where a person with something to say can say it, even if it has not real purpose at all.

That's when I found this one--Dooce--and I said out loud, wow. It's number 24 on the "by number of fans" ranking, and I can see why. It's written by a woman in Salt Lake City named Heather B. Armstrong and this is from her "About" page:

This website chronicles my life from a time when I was single and making a lot of money as a web designer in Los Angeles, to when I was dating the man who would become my husband, to when I lost my job and lived life as an unemployed drunk, to when I married my husband and moved to Utah, to when I became pregnant, to when I threw up and became unbearably swollen during the pregnancy, to the birth, to the aftermath, to the postpartum depression that landed me in a mental hospital. I'm better now.

Holy smokes, that's hot writing folks. Real spunk. This is better than advice on cholesterol in "Eggs" any day. Check out this post on mucus plugs and prepare to snort your coffee out your nose. And just look at those comments! 452 for this post alone! I think I'll add her site to the column at left.

Hey, what do you think of the Top 100 list in either ranking mode? Any pleasant surprises there? Any big disappointments? What's the top dog of the top blogs?


Elisa said...

Usually in Internet land "authority" has to do with how many incoming links you have (and how "authoritative" those incoming links are). E.g., every poetry blog links to Ron Silliman so Silliman's blog has a lot of authority.

Chad Reynolds said...

Hmm. I didn't look through the whole Top 100, but I wonder where Silliman's blog lands. Thanks for the info, Elisa! How long before The French Exit lands on the list?

Elisa said...

I'm sure he's not anywhere near it ... I was just using an example from the sheltered little world we know. :)

Chad Reynolds said...

So basically authority all boils down to networking: how many sites link to yours, and how many sites to the sites that link to yours. Whom can I convince to link my site to their sites? Readers, link Oklachusetts to your sites!