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What Blog Readers Want

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The attempt of this rudimentary study is to determine which topics are most popular with blog readers. The limitations of this study are numerous and so cannot be enumerated here. They include the small N of blogs, which were chosen at random (i.e., those that came first to my mind), the importance or pace of currents news, and of course, the assumption that the comments of a particular post indicate that the post itself is popular with readers. However, I think that most bloggers determine the success or failure of a post based on both their comments boxes and their inboxes. Since I do not have access to their inboxes, I have chosen their comments boxes as the sole variable of post popularity. Other than that, I’ve used my best judgment and many Greek symbols to come up with a mathematical formula (or Microsoft Windows XP Calculator) of post popularity, whose *p, **p, ***p, and ****p should be relevantly significant on at least some level.

The following list comprises the random sample and results of my test:

Little Green Footballs
(1) Foggy Bottom Visits LGF. Comments (206). Topic: Administration.
(2) No Special Programming. Comments (146). Topic: Terrorism.

(1) Justice Roy Moore Inspires Evangelism Leaflets. Comments (93). Topic: Religion.
(2) Congress Makes Law Establishing Religion. Comments (83). Topic: Religion.

(1) Grayed Out Davis. Comments (34), Trackback (1). Topic: Recall.
(2) Torture by Square Pants. Comments (21), Trackback (1). Topic: Pop.

(1) Women Who ‘Shoot to Kill’. Comments (31), Trackback (4). Topic: Guns.
(2) A Reader Asks . . . Comments (12), Trackback (1). Topic: International.

Right Wing News
(1) A Terrorist Thanks to the Anti-War Movement. Comments (43), Trackback (1). Topic: Terrorism.
(2) America Should Get Rid of Their Nukes. What Could Happen? Comments (32), Trackback (2). Topic: International.

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
(1) Meanwhile, In Gallia Transalpina . . . Comments (105), Trackback (2). Topic: International.
(2) A Lone Idiot With a Keyboard. Comments (98), Trackback (3). Topic: Other Bloggers.

Juan Gato
(1) Banana Fana. Comments (9). Topic: Other Bloggers.
(2) No Need to Go On. Comments (9). Topic: Pop.

A Small Victory
(1) While I’m Away. Comments (30). Topic: Religion.
(2) But They Hate Us. Comments (17), Trackback (1). Topic: Iraq.

Winds of Change
(1) Who Will Bell the Cat?? Comments (96), Trackback (2). Topic: Iraq.
(2) Hate Is Not the Answer. Comments (16), Trackback (2). Topic: Terrorism.

The results of my test indicate that almost half of the successful posts (of the last 10 on each of these sites) dealt with religion, terrorism, or other international defense issues, respectively. The latter two may be combined, as they are very closely related, with the 11% figure for Iraq, which would make roughly 44% of successful posts regarding the topic of national security (percentages are rounded to whatever I think best illustrates my point). This is not surprising considering the blogosphere rose to prominence (i.e., with the regular media) as a countermedia for honest information on war and national defense in the wake of September 11.

Religion, perhaps, is an unexpected popular topic; however, the numbers here may be skewed because of the passion that most have concerning this topic (equally on the pro- and anti-religion side — actually, probably more on the “anti” side all in all). Regardless, it seems that God still has a fairly important place in cutting-edge forums.

The other topics are mostly concerning personal blogger issues (however, Moxie’s Spongebob Square Pants problem is a concern for all — this cannot be allowed to go on! Or one day we might all be walking around humming cartoon jingles in our heads like that movie Demolition Man in which Arnold Schwarzenegger is president and . . . uh oh). This indicates that the audience likes to relate to the blogger on a personal level and that the blogger-audience relationship is a good thing to keep going.

Ultimately, this post is probably not valuable or significant in any way, shape, or form. But I provided some cool links and kept it pretty brief.

Suggestions for future research: “What Bloggers Like to Write About.” It would be interesting to compile a list of most popular posts based on blogger topics rather than on reader response. I know, I know, the suspense is killing you. Adios.

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About Chase

  • Interesting study, Chase, but I must admit finding the cut and paste of this character -> “ <- annoying.

  • Yeah, what was that? Well, whatever it was, it seems to be gone now.

  • san

    “…Arnold Schwarzenegger is president and…”

    Can’t happen unless the Constitution is changed to allow it. And boy! would Henry Kissinger be upset about that.

  • JR

    Or, what if we invade and annex Austria? Could be easier for the Republicans than passing an ammendment.

  • san

    Hmm… That’s an interesting proposition. Wonder how we would handle that. Definitely a matter for the Supreme Court. Interpreted strictly, I’d say it wouldn’t matter as at the time of his birth he was not a U.S. citizen. He’s already naturalized and you can’t undo that. But strict interpretations aren’t always the order of the day.

  • Dew

    got milk?

  • Sweet! I’ve been looking for porn all day.

  • Porn spam aside, if a similar study was run in blogcritics it would reveal that a lot of people are interested in top guitarist lists.

  • And Evanescence . . . that one seems to pop up in the “Recent Comments” list every two days or so.

  • With a handle like “viagra” you can pretty much guarantee it’s spam

  • Dew

    I’m one of those people who actually checks their Junk mail because I can not afford to miss messages from new clients who are not on my contact list. Well, my hotmail account does not allow body filters so I get more viagra and prescription emails than the law should allow, literally.

    Spammers be damned!

  • I was looking for a free blog application for my site. Does anyone here have any comments on a good app that is free of charge?

    David Wilson

  • Guess what, “David”? Your off-topic comment that is clearly intended to boost your Googlejuice, isn’t. You’ll not that your URL does not link directly, but instead stops off at a temporary page, and Google doesn’t index those.

    Please, go sell crazy somewhere else. We’re all stocked up here!

    P.S. On the .02% chance that you’re serious, Google for Movable Type or Expression Engine or Blogspot.

  • Shark

    “…if a similar study was run in blogcritics it would reveal that a lot of people are interested in top guitarist lists.”

    I had to laugh. Thanks, I needed that.

    Those list things are always big hits. A powerless, isolated introvert’s opportunity to express himself about his favorite ____ . with something other than spray-paint..

    —they’re lined up for miles.

    As I told Eric on my first day here, he should add to the blogcritics logo “YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO AN INFORMED OPINION” —but we agreed that it might reduce comments by about 99%.

  • Shark


    “The 20 Best Films Ever Made” just appeared. Expect the server to be down for the next six months.

  • g stomberg

    moore is the best film maker ever and bush is the worst president ever so the two were bound to get together sooner or later

  • Alan Hovden

    If anyone is interested I have started publishing a blogel or blog novel. I’m interested in seeing if I can draw any kind of audience to it.

    It’s a little weird publishing daily blog sized bites and having the book chapter contents read backwards in the sidebar but hopefully it won’t be too confusing. It’s almost like a daily comic! If you like it please pass it on to others.

    url: http://virtualnations.blogspot.com


  • Even by AOL standards, this is a sorry excuse for a survey. The blogs chosen should have been selected randomly, perhaps from a reliable blog diretory. Then, one would probably need to look at their Site Meter stats. Instead they are far Right blogs that post mainly Right Wing propaganda because that is what the author of the entry reads. So, it is not surprisingly that, according to Chase, such entries are what blog readers want to read. But, neither is it true. As for measuring success by comments, it doesn’t work for the reasons other commenters have pointed out — they are often meaningless or spam.

    And, an acorn does not fall far from its tree. From Chase’s blog:


    In a previous post, I discussed the significance of the fact that Democratic politicians are so different from the people that vote for them, whereas Republican politicians seem to be elected by those very similar to themselves. Take a look at John Edwards auditioning for Michael Moore’s next film, a political adaptation of the broadway hit “Hair.” Can you even imagine Bush behaving in such an effeminate way? Although if Edwards fights the war on terrorism with the same zeal that he attacks those cowlicks, we might actually be in good hands.

    That’s followed by a sneering attack on Edwards wife for being fat, an unsubstantiated claim that the history of black voter disenfranchisement is made up, and more vitriol directed at liberals.

    For the record, the premise in the excerpt is completely inaccurate. Politicians elected to national office differ substantially from the general population, regardless of party. They are more likely to be married, are better educated and are wealthier. Fewer of them have been in the military, especially as enlisted people. That information is not difficult to find. Posting misinformation instead is reprehensible.

    TDavid, you missed something bigger focusing on the guy seeking Googlejuice. This entire entry is one of those — an effort to attract readers by mentioning larger blogs in an entry that says next to nothing — and that inaccurate.


    “if a similar study was run in blogcritics it would reveal that a lot of people are interested in top guitarist lists.”
    Shark beat me to it, but music polls seem to live longer and generate more heat without light than any political post.

  • “list” posts (and those similar), especially if you actually ask readers for their own, generally get quite a few views and replies. Especially if you demonstrate an interest in the replies.
    Like my request for book recommendations (hint hint) (actually that died awhile ago but i think it got the most replies out of all my posts here at BC)

  • g stomberg

    do you know how they elect the new pope? the priest who molested the least amount of children gets to be pope, or, bush declares himself the pope and refuses to count the cardinals votes.

  • Kind of like how you picked which post to leave this comment under, eh, G?

    There’s a Search tool at the top of the home page – why not use it to look for “pope” or “papabile,” either of which will bring up a list of posts where your comment might be (marginally) appropriate.

  • Linda Mcdonald

    my aol directory is not readble