FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, November 18, 2004

BlogExplosion: My Take So Far

Several weeks ago I signed up for BlogExplosion, the service for bloggers to increase their traffic by looking at fellow members' blogs. Now that I've had some time to get to understand how the system works, I have some thoughts...

Overall, my experience has been positive, though I wonder what surfers who view FutureWire really think of it. If they land on it at random, are they really interested in reading it, or do they just want to move on to the next blog to rack up their credits? A lot of the blogs I come across are (to me) boring as sin... so I'm suspect those bloggers aren't exactly turned on by FutureWire.

The lack of any kind of preference-based surfing -- in which you would see only those types of blogs that interest you -- has both its upside and its downside. On the downside, I see a lot of blogs that don't interest me in the least. Not to say that they're bad... they're not just my cup of tea. On the other hand, I'm being exposed to a lot of different perspectives and approaches to blogging that I likely wouldn't see otherwise. I'm also learning about techniques and tools that other bloggers are employing to increase visibility, or just for fun.

The rating tools have courted some controversy, especially the ability to see who rated your blog and what rating they gave it (a feature that has since been disabled). I like to give high ratings to blogs that are clever and original, even if I don't personally agree with their content. As for blogs I genuinely don't care for, I follow my mother's advice that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything. I've only given low rating a couple of times to blogs that I felt were too stupid or sloppy to ignore.

Perhaps the best indicator of BlogExplosion's success is that, since I've been a member, the overall quality of the member blogs has improved tremendously. The blogs seem to be more focused, and the writing more crisp and compelling. Many others are pushing the envelope with design, with varying results.

Overall, my goal with BlogExplosion was not simply to increase traffic, but to reach out to others who might find what I have to say interesting. To that end, I haven't yet been able to "connect the dots" and learn how many have added FutureWire to their list of must-read blogs as a result of having found it on BlogExplosion. For instance, a reader may only visit a blog's website once, but subscribe to that blog's RSS feed, making him/her a loyal reader who is under the radar. Hopefully, BlogExplosion will add improved metrics to help bloggers learn that.

If you're a blogger, you have nothing to lose by signing up with BlogExplosion. You may not get huge numbers, but that might not be what you're looking for anyway. If you hook up with even a few readers who genuinely like your blog and will read it regularly, that's what matters.