John Kelly's map of the blogosphere
John Kelly's map of the blogosphere

What works

Oversimplification makes this a surprisingly legible collection of tiny dots.

What needs work

I have no idea how to trust this graphic. The labels seem arbitrarily applied – that could just as easily be food blogs, design blogs, and gossip blogs. Or maybe if you left the labels blank it could be a Web 2.0 Rorschach test.

The article is built around these key findings:
+ “The Web sites of legacy media firms are the strongest performers. The top 10 mainstream media sites, led by,, and, account for 10.9 percent of all dynamic links.”

+ “By contrast, the top 10 blogs account for only 3.2 percent of dynamic outlinks.”

In other words, old media (still) rules. Not exactly sure why, if those two points are the primary arguments, the story ran with a graphic about politics and tech blogs dominating the blogosphere.

[As far as I can tell, the author agrees with me that it’s not even all that interesting to talk about why politics and technology dominate the blogosphere. Tech geeks are comfortable in cyberspace (they may even prefer it). So that’s a no-brainer. Blogs are perfectly designed to facilitate the dissemination of opinions what with the casual tone and the comment features. Politics is heavily rationalized opinion. Thus: blogs + politics = eureka.]

I would love to see someone write about the relationship between recipe trading and the development of the internet. THOSE are the blogs that are inexplicably everywhere. And the early users of the internet were happy to use primitive bulletin boards for trading recipes.

Bottom line

Just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s relevant.


Kelly, John. (2009) “Mapping the Blogosphere: Offering a Guide to Journalism’s Future” The Nieman Reports. Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.