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A Random Walk Through the Blogosphere

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In a March 10, 2005 post entitled Wandering the Weblogs, DrPat described the results of a random walk through Blogspot blogs that was accomplished by clicking the “Next Blog” button. I have used this method myself on a number of occasions and have found some interesting (and a lot of uninteresting) blogs this way. As simple and fun as this is, it limits one’s exposure to Blogspot blogs.

For those willing to invest only slightly more time, a true random walk through the blogosphere can be had fairly simply. Here is what you will need:

1. A list of random numbers. I found a fill-in form for generating this list here and printed a list of 20 random numbers between 1 and 20. There were some repeats but this is not a problem. The numbers will be used to select the next blog from the list of links on the blog you are on. If they do not have as many links as the random number calls for, take the last one on the list. You can have a greater range of numbers to choose from, but how much counting do you really want to do?

2. A starting point. What better place to start than Blogcritics.org. I used the random number generator once again to produce a few numbers between 1 and 1000, the current number of blogcritics. (Actually, it has now increased to 1001. Adjust accordingly.) I selected the author with this number from this list, clicked on the name, and went to the author’s web site. This was the starting place for the random walk.

This is a description of my random walk. I started with Blogcritics.org author Tom Bux and was taken to his blog The Age of Reason. My list of random numbers said to take the 15th link. This was the blog of Michelle Malkin. The 5th link on her blog was to The American Thinker. I had to hunt a little to find the links, but selecting the 3rd one from the list took me to The Corner on National Review Online’s site. There were no further blog links, so that was the end of the walk.

One of the merits of this approach to discovering new blogs is that it follows the logic of Google by limiting the random walk to blogs that someone else found interesting enough to include on his or her list of links. Starting with a randomly selected Blogcritics.org author might expose you to blogs you have no desire to read whatsoever. If that is your concern, start with a blog you like and take a random walk from there.

Edited: bhw

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About Gregg Guetschow

  • The Six Degrees of Web logs, of course.

    It’s equally as fun to try and do this through the comments left at Web sites.

  • While random wandering can be fun, Gregg, I have to note that my BlogScan reports are anything but random. In fact, even “Wandering the Weblogs” (thanks for the link!) involved rejecting far more blogs than I included.

    I like developing a theme, then searching for occurances, and grouping them as seems logical to me. Sometimes (as this week’s late BlogScan shows), the process is more difficult than others.

    You know what the easiest BlogScan was? The one that almost wrote itself was Do Blonde Bloggers Have More Fun? – dunno about them, but I certainly did!