Technorati recently announced that they are now tracking more than 35m blogs around the world - and that number is doubling every 6 months. Now the Guardian adds weight to that story.
Bloggers and internet pundits are exerting a "disproportionately large influence" on society, according to a report by a technology research company. Its study suggests that although "active" web users make up only a small proportion of Europe's online population, they are increasingly dominating public conversations and creating business trends.
"We're seeing this growing," said Julian Smith, an online advertising analyst with Jupiter Research and author of the report. "The strongest part of their influence is on the media: if something online suddenly becomes a story in the local press, then it matters."
Although unprompted contributors are generally younger and more vocal than the wider online population, they are increasingly important as opinion formers and trend-setters. Mr Smith says businesses, media organisations and advertisers reading blogs should be wary of making assumptions about their wider significance, but that their muscle cannot be ignored.
"They're not representative of the larger audience, but what they're saying does matter," he said. "It's a good straw poll - a snapshot of the verbal conversations going on that we can't measure."
Nova Spivack over at Minding The Planet is trying a little experiment to see who is reading his blog. Anyone who posts a link in their blog to the permalink of his blog entry will get a reciprocal link back to their blog from within the body of his blog entry. He'll search periodically for sites that link to this entry, and when he find new ones, he'll add links back to them from his entry.
Well, OK. So I'm posting this at 21:16 French Time on Thu 27 Oct 2005...
UPDATE: 23:16 French Time, and the Linkback is there on Nova's website. Neat. And some interesting synergy with the other websites listed there.
The blogosphere is continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate. There are more than 17 million weblogs currently available online, up from 14.2m blogs in early August, in turn up from 7.8m last March. Technorati suggests that, on average, the number of blogs is doubling every five months.
Bloggers are gaining a higher profile alongside traditional news sources with Yahoo including blogs in its expanding news search system.
The decision could reignite the debate over what constitutes news reporting and whether blogs are as valuable a source of news as that from professional journalists.
So-called citizen journalists are increasingly dominating the headlines and user-generated content has proved invaluable in breaking news stories.
Pete Clifton, editor of the BBC News website, thinks blogs have a valuable role to play.
"Embracing the value of what people know, and what they are saying, should be central to the proposition of any news site these days," he said.
"Giving readers easy access to what is being said by bloggers is another way of doing this.
"I don't believe blogs will eclipse trusted sources of news journalism like the BBC, but the two things can live very happily together, as long as readers are clear which is which," he added.
Leading web firms are beginning to sit up and take notice of blogs. In September search engine Google unveiled its own blog search engine. And at the beginning of October, AOL agreed to buy leading web journal firm Weblogs Inc.
Microsoft have acknowledged the significance of the "ClueTrain Manifesto" so "Markets are Conversations"...
Scoble (Microsoft, Blogs...) is on stage to talk about Blogs. He hasn't really prepared anything (he's got some scribbled notes on his tablet), but he's running IRC on the screen and taking a fair amount of flak.
Audience comment: "Is a blog a place, a performance or a 'cast with traffic"
Blogging works because:
* It's easy to publish
* It's easy to change
* It works in near real time
* RSS Feeds
* Google links you to the world
* It builds conversations (both on and off the weblog).
IanNote: Scoble is clearly a huge part of the Microsoft PR machine.
Microsoft needed to change the perceptions that are out there. WebLogs and Channel 9 are doing that by opening up conversations.
WebLogs are now the quickest contact mechanism out there. If friends aren't bloggers yet, they will be soon...
Audio programming has become cheap and easy to make and has led to the rapid spread of the podcasting phenomenon. Ben Hammersley reports...
"Podcasting is the name for a new combination of technologies that automatically downloads audio files to your MP3 player via your computer. Instead of ripping CDs, or manually downloading files, you can now use a special application to subscribe to a website's "feed", which directs your machine to the location of the new audio. By checking these feeds regularly, your podcasting application can keep you stocked with fresh audio goodies.
In the case of my dogs and me, it is the first hour of the Today programme, ripped from the BBC's live stream and converted to MP3 by something I hacked together in an afternoon. For others, however, podcasting is the beginning of a revolution in homegrown media: a system by which anyone can create radio-style programming and deliver it directly to their audience, in a way that makes it painless and convenient to consume.
Hundreds of feeds have been made available since podcasting's first appearance earlier this summer. PodcastAlley.com, a site dedicated to listing and reviewing all the available podcasts, has collected more than 450 feeds in the three weeks it has been running. This is a new idea, but it has caught on in a big way.
For years, technologists have talked about newspapers that are unique to the reader's interests - personalisation; about applications that allow anyone to create previously specialist media - mass amateurisation; about systems that allow content producers to connect directly to their audience - disintermediation; and for systems that allow their owners to dictate the order and time they listen to things - timeshifting. Podcasting is a perfect combination of all of these things. Expect to hear a lot more, in both senses of the phrase."
"I firmly and unshakably believe that all men and women are created equal, regardless of race, nationality, sexuality, number of limbs or anything else, and thus have equal rights to live their lives any way they choose to, as long as it doesn't interfere with other people doing the same. And it genuinely flummoxes me how anyone could think it could possibly be otherwise."