in on blogging

there are three kinds of bloggers….

bullion

and three kinds of bloggers ‘gold’ – the network, the traffic and the ranking. Which of these you put most stock in depends on which blogging type you are. I reckon there are three kinds of bloggers. We all probably share traits of each of these types but see if you recognise yourself in one of these types:

1. Sharing Blogger – these bloggers share compulsively. They blog about subject matter that they’re passionately interested in and it helps them to further their understanding of these subjects. They then compulsively share their knowledge with anyone who gives them the barest hint of interest. The more interest or passion that their audience shows, the more they get into their blogging.

Before blogging, they were bombarding friends and co-workers with ideas, references and opinions by all other means (particularly email – these guys are notorious for bulk emails).

Can’t live without: Akismet, a well subscribed RSS reader, and a login to ACM.
Blogging Gold: The network – getting feedback (emails and comments) from others who are interested in/passionate about the same subject area(s) that they blog about.

2. Banking Blogger – this blogger will blog about anything that will generate traffic. It doesn’t matter if it’s Lindsay Lohan, the World Cup (football), some baseball team, or fashion – as long as it pulls the traffic and gets the Adsense revenue up, they’re happy. When they blog depends on when they’ll get the most traffic rather than when they have an idea. (They actually *know* when to blog for traffic).

Of course these bloggers have passions beyond the dollar… they more than likely have a blog about something they’re *really* interested in, but this is rarely the money spinner. These bloggers are fluent in the language of partnerships, affiliate programs, and networks. They design their blogs around the advertising and they know where you put an ad to maximise revenue.
Can’t live without: ProBlogger and Adsense.
Blogging Gold: The traffic – the more traffic, the more clicks, the more cash.

3. Hollywood Blogger – These guys (and they mostly are men) are blogging for fame and glory – the blog is their soapbox. They stalk the ‘a-list’ in every manner imaginable. You’ll see their comments scattered far and wide. They are constantly writing about the A-List, or what the A-List are writing about – either with stomach turning adoration or, often as a last resort having been ignored one too many times, controversially attacking the A-Lister – all in the hope of a link or too.

You’ll see these guys at conferences and unconferences everywhere. They’ve worked out how to game TechMeme, and they argue with Technorati about how their rankings are calculated. These are the bloggers most likely to opine about the A-Lists habit of linking to each other or not at all. Or about how they’re not getting the audience that they deserve. Or that they’re going to quit blogging.

They’re the reason that I even started thinking about this post.

Can’t live without: Technorati Top 100, TechMeme
Blogging Gold: The Ranking – which is achieved by gaining links.

So, why was I thinking about this post? Because in the last week or so there’s been more carry on about traffic and who deserved traffic. There’s a general assumption that we’re doing this blogging business for the numbers… but I think there are a lot of us out there who are much more interested in the conversation…. but perhaps that’s just me?

What do you think? Is it all about the numbers? The links and the traffic? Or is there something more about a blog, it’s ecosystem, it’s place in a network, that can make it valuable without getting the big numbers?

Image Credit: Econbrowser 

20 Comments

  1. This split of the bloggers in 3 categories sounds interesting and I think it may be pretty accurate. Nevertheless, I think that most of the bloggers have features of all three categories, one of them being the most powerful, thus giving the trend for that blogger. Even if it is not all about numbers, it is very rewarding to see that people are interested in what you write, to see that they link to your blog, or to see them coming in big numbers to read your latest post. I’m new to blogging, I started one month ago, and I can tell you that I had two very pleasant moments which I’d remember for a long time: one was the first time that I saw somebody linked to my blog and the second was when I had a spike of traffic generated by one of my posts. I write for pleasure and fun, but I can also see the funny side of playing with statistics or with ads. Experiments are always fun and we need figures as a measure. Comments also are valuable when they give good feedback (I’m still waiting for a comment on my blogs, as nobody felt the need so far to stop by).

  2. Leisa,

    Very interesting post. There are probably more than three types, like people who journal their lives or just have the compulsion to write—but I like your simplification as it helps make a point.

    I just tackled a similar issue on Logic Emotion with framing it around the idea of influencing people. Personally, I started my blog because I fell into your catagory of spamming my co-workers with information and ideas—and a blog is a much better place to do things like this. :)

    But back to the whole “A-lister” thing. When I talked about this recently, what I found out is that bloggers come out of the woodwork to remind us all that it’s not about link backs and it’s not about “fame” and it’s not about recognition. Yet the funny thing is that most of the influential bloggers out there (Kathy Sierra, Steve Rubel, Seth Godin, Hugh) all have astronomical link backs etc.

    The thing I found out while discussing (and visualizing) this topic is that many bloggers go out of there way to evangalize the “right way” to blog (translation, don’t blog for fame)

    Which I agree with! But I think it’s also valid to study the social hierarchy that exists in the social media network. It’s fascinating and it needs to be understood. Since I’ve only been blogging for a little over six months now, it’s taken me some time to even come to this point.

    Good post here as usual. They always get me thinking.

    PS, here are the posts I was referring to.

    http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2006/08/influence_rippl.html
    http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2006/08/levels_of_influ.html

    Lots of intersting comments.

  3. For my personal blog, I definitely see myself in the “Sharing Blogger” category, although it would be a blast to be linked to by a B-lister, let alone an a-lister (I was stoked when Jim Moore linked to my blog).

    But for work, where we are looking to introduce blogging, we’d definitely be the “Banking Blogger” mode – except instead of ad revenue, we are after the traffic for mind-share and meme-spreading rather than pure $$.

    I agree with Simonne that there’s probably a bit of each of those bloggers in all of us, leaning one way or the other. The whole “A-lister” debate I think is a bit bunk – but it would be nice to get linked to once in a while.

  4. Hey Simonne and Grant,

    If you’re not getting as much traffic or comments as you’d like, it’s probably because your content is booooooooooooooooooooooring. Toast is more entertaining.

  5. oh cool. a troll :) I don’t think I’ve had one of those yet.
    well… not one that actually uses people’s names. We’re cool to ignore Crooky right? seeing as they didn’t even bother leaving a blog for us to bag?

    Grant & Simonne – thanks for leaving a note :) I think you’re certainly right that all bloggers are pleased to receive at least links and traffic – almost like the bread and water of blogging I guess. Personally, I rate a comment higher than a dozen visitors who find me accidentally via Google (you can pretty much tell from their search query if they’re going to find what they’re after here, and many times, they won’t).

  6. hey David,

    yes, I’ve been reading what you’ve been writing about the spheres of influence recently and I almost included some thoughts about your latest diagram in this post… but then it got a bit confusing :)

    The A-Lister thing is interesting… (although I kind of hate talking about it). We can pretend as much as we like that it doesn’t matter and that it’s boring, but the fact is that for a little ol’ blogger like me, a link from someone in that list makes a tremendous difference to our traffic – and, on the rare occasion that I’ve scored a link like that, it also introduces a whole new flush of people to your site who are kind of pre-qualified, and as such I find that you tend to get a great conversation going on. (Unless the conversation is all happening over at the a-lister’s blog, but there tends to be enough to go around).

    One thing that I did wonder in your diagram was whether it was true that there was only one pool of influence… some people who are not so big in the land’o’ blog have a huge amount of influence in their subject area…. I wonder if it’s necessary or if there is some way to reflect that?

    Anyways – thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Look forward to seeing where you head with this. (I’ve been blogging for about the same amount of time as you – it is certainly interesting to see how your thoughts change over time – mine have quite a bit I think!)

  7. Leisa, I’m really enjoying your posts lately :)

    Your description of ‘Hollywood Bloggers’ really had me laughing – it’s so obvious who they are, you see their names all over the blogosphere with short comments like ‘Cool’ and ‘That’s really good’ with links to their blogs straight after (The Superficial is a good example of that).

    I also liked your point about blogging for traffic vs. blogging for interaction. In that vein, like Grant, I more readily identify with the ‘Sharing Blogger’ type. Really, blogging is all about the interaction!

  8. ” We can pretend as much as we like that it doesn’t matter and that it’s boring, but the fact is that for a little ol’ blogger like me, a link from someone in that list makes a tremendous difference to our traffic – and, on the rare occasion that I’ve scored a link like that, it also introduces a whole new flush of people to your site who are kind of pre-qualified,”

    Thank you for the honesty. And that’s what we really need to be evangelizing (or better yet—just doing). Blogs are a great place for frank dialogue. For honestly. Like chatting over a cup of coffee with a friend.

    I don’t want to be lectured about the morality of blogging. I just want honest conversation. I tend to post comments on the blogs that offer that.

  9. I think you’re definently on to something there about conversation. I love the fact that my blog tend to attract people with similar interests to mine and sparks good conversations. I learn a lot from the people who link, vist or comment and I think bloggig is a good way of staying informed (and you always get straight feedback if you’re off track:-) ). Also it’s always interesting to see what posts generate a lot of traffic, overall I love the interactivity of a blog, and even though I do get a few links from MSM since I blog a lot about media, links from news sites are rarely what generates most hits.

  10. hey Yvonne – thanks you! :) I’m having a lot of fun blogging at the moment too!

    as you and Kristine both suggest – I think that ‘sharing’ bloggers get more out of blogging. Well, obviously not more money, but more value. I wonder how many of the people that we identify as ‘Hollywood Bloggers’ would actually call themselves ‘Sharing Bloggers’. I reckon there would be a few.

    David: Yes, I think there’s a blog post brewing somewhere about where honesty fits into blogging. Obviously, when you’re blogging you need to be aware of the fact that people are going to read what you’ve written in contexts different to what you might have intended. So, your clients and potential employers could be reading your honest account of doing something silly, or making a mistake, or failing… maybe not necessarily what you want to admit to when you’re also creating your ‘virtual identity’.

    But, short of making yourself look incompetent or foolish (and provided you can illustrate what you learned from a silly mistake or a failure, you’re not either of these things), I think that it’s better to err on the side of openness and honesty. There are too many people making themselves out to be superheros on their blogs… it’s boring.

    Reminds me of when I used to read the discussion forums on the Australian Vogue magazine website – all the girls claimed to be sub 60kgs, size 6-8 (Australian) and regularly buying incredibly expensive handbags, shoes, clothing and cosmetics. Knowing the average size and income of Australian women, it was obvious that this was utter rubbish… and so the pressure to get into debt and to develop an eating disorder increases.

    Same with bloggers. Blogging honestly can only promote positive outcomes for other bloggers – whether that’s encouragement to continue, to try new things, to not care about traffic or technorati rankings. To talk about mistakes and what they’ve learned from them.

  11. Personally, I think banking bloggers are a funny breed. I’ve only been blogging about a month or so, but I have no idea where to put ads on my blog (www.drewmeyersinsights.com). If I wanted to make money quickly, it seems there are plenty of better uses of time than to spend all day blogging. Maybe I’ll experiment with Adsense at some point down the road, but I highly doubt I’ll ever make a considerable amount of income from blogging. I think I’d categorize myself in the sharing blogger breed of bloggers given that the network is the most interesting part of blogging in my opinion. I’ve met some fascinating people from around the world through blogging and hope to continue to meet more. Thanks for the insightful post!

  12. Hei, Drew M,

    If you want to put ads in your blog, all you need is to type adsense in google and you’ll find lots of advice on this. Regarding the money, blogging is not supposed to make one rich over night. It takes time, it is like building your own small company: in the beginning, you put money and efforts into it and it pays back only after a time (or never, in some cases). But if you succeed to have a blog that attracts the interest of millions of people, if they come back regularily to check on your new posts, then blogging can make a living. Nevertheless, I would not expect this to happen in the first year of a blog’s life.

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  15. Nice list. I definitely identify with number one – and as someone with five blogs on the tumblr community, i think we are all ‘sharing’ bloggers, however with ‘tumblraity’(popularity) and number or reblogs, you find yourself posting items you know will drum up reblogs and followers to increase tumblarity postings…

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