The Value, Not So Hidden, of Blogging

The evolutionary sequence is:

1. Facial expressions and vocalizations.

2. Language (speech and writing).

3. Blogging.

Each makes clearer to everyone else what is inside us. Human nature being what it is — closely tied to occupational specialization — it should be no surprise that blogging is very useful in getting a job, as Penelope Trunk says. To get a job you need a skill. Your skill is inside you; blogging makes it much more apparent. Blogging shows not only that you have a skill but that you have an emotional attachment, too: Bloggers write about what they care about. Not only does blogging help you get a job, it helps you get a job you want.

There should be software that creates networks of blogs based on similarity. I wish I knew which blogs were most like mine, for example.

6 Replies to “The Value, Not So Hidden, of Blogging”

  1. That should be possible. For music, there are sites like where you have your mp3 player log the music you listen to. Since it collects listening habit data from lots of people, it can tell you what people who like the music you like also like (or you can just type in an artist and it will show you what other people who like that artist like).

    For bookmarking, there are social bookmarking sites that also collect the bookmarks and folksonomy tags for lots of people, but the focus there is more on the tag-to-bookmark relationship rather than on figuring out what sites are similar. Still, you might be able to figure something out. On, 19 people have tagged your blog using tags like ” blog diet food health psychology science statistics weightloss”:

    If I search delicious for exactly those terms, I don’t get much:

    But if I search for fewer terms, I get:

    Explore that 2nd link and you should find sites that are similar to yours.


  2. One could set up a blog similarity rating machine using Latent Semantic Analysis. LSA does similarity ratings based on co-occurrence of words between (and within) multiple texts. The only hard part (programatically, from my perspective as a linguist rather than a web coder) would be crawling the blogosphere for the appropriate texts. Then you’d have a list of keywords that you could use in a way similar to how the tags were used above. You could also get a rating of how internally consistent a blog was, e.g. whether the next post was more likely to be on the same topic as the last 10 posts, on a different but related topic, or on a completely irrelevant topic.

  3. Seth, connecting this to your post about Golden Handcuffs, the more people blog and blog well, the less we look at the press. But when you hear people in the press talk about blogs, they’ll often focus on the bad ones or the outright eccentric, rather than understand the sheer volume of content now available, and so much of it good fun, from people in whom we learn we can actually put our trust. For instance, this blog and Andrew Gelman’s represent that for me in spades in the areas of the blogosphere where I hang out.

    With blogging, my own experience suggests that it takes time to feel comfortable and enjoy it, and that it might not suit everyone. But that might have more to do with my being a journalist, steeped in the caution of the news agency ethos.

    I came across the expression “curating a blog” the other day, and it seems to me it fits rather well, particularly as it was applied for students in the context of preparing them for employment.

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