Let’s get it understood

I recently happened across a blog called Broadband Stars (“Covering the social media revolution”). This series, in particular, impressed and irritated me in equal measure. The author, Colin Donald, begins with this quote:

We were talking about how much the UK (and Europe) was lagging behind America in blogging terms. For example, how many British CEO’s are blogging? How many “A-Listers” are British? How many British ad agencies are using blogs to alter the marketing landscape? How many Brits are blogging to radically improve their business’s fortunes? The Brits have a lot of catching up to do.

There’s a real question in there somewhere, but it’s hard to make out – and Colin’s attempt to substantiate this ‘lag’ doesn’t do much to clarify it. (Some questions which came to my mind: are we talking about the British blogosphere in general, about professional/corporate bloggers, about ‘creatives’ in particular, or what? If there is a ‘lag’, is it measured in addition to the time it took for blogging to get established over here? (If so, how does the blogging lag compare to the Web lag or the e-business lag?) Which “A-Listers” are we talking about, and why are they relevant?)

To give Colin his due, he does end up with a fairly precise focus (“British blogs about new media”); unfortunately, he goes in search of these ‘missing’ blogs by means of “a systematic click-around of British blogrolls”, and rapidly finds that lots of the people he already knows already know other people he already knows. (I do like that ‘systematic’.) He then gives this unstartling finding the heading of “Britain’s Missing Bloggers”. Yep – it’s not just a matter of Britain’s Arguably Under-blogged New Media Sector, it’s a definite shortage, affecting Britain as a whole.

In comments, I wrote:

It’s not so much “find Britain’s missing bloggers” (although if you’re really bothered about the health of the British blogosphere, I can give you 50-odd URLs to get you started); it’s more “help me find the British bloggers who I’d recognise as candidate members of my online social circle, because all I can see is bloggers who are members of my circle, because the bloggers I link to only link to other bloggers I already link to”. It’s Lawson’s Fallacy all over again – “I can’t see anything! There’s nothing there!”

Colin took my comment in good part; in fact he called my bluff, the swine. Which is why I’ve spent the last hour and a half compiling the following: the last fifty British blogs I’ve visited. (Not counting this one, my other blog and our thing.) They’re all good; they’re all different (and some are very different). They’re not all political; some of them are even about new media. And several of them have got blogrolls which would defeat the most systematic click-around.

It really is a big blogosphere out there. Even in Britain.

A few words before we go
Antonia’s blog
Blithering Bunny
Blood and Treasure
Boob Pencil
Chase me ladies, I’m in the cavalry
Chicken Yoghurt
Consider Phlebas
Dead Men Left
Ephems of BLB
Fair Vote Watch
From Despair to Where?
Gnus of the World
International Rooksbyism
Kitty killer
Lenin’s tomb
Liberal England
M C Harper’s musings
Matt T
Our word is our weapon
Owen’s musings
Pessimistic Leftist
Pub Philosopher
Reasons to be impossible
Shot by both sides
The Apostate Windbag
The Billblog
The inside of my head
The Law West of Ealing Broadway
The Sharp Side
The Virtual Stoa
The Yorkshire Ranter
This Leaden Pall
Tim Worstall
What you can get away with
Where there were no doors

Share and enjoy.


  1. Fair Vote Watch
    Posted 23 June 2005 at 17:28 | Permalink | Reply

    _the bloggers I link to only link to other bloggers I already link to_

    Huge amount of truth there. Just counted your list and at least 24 would be in the last 50 I went to.

  2. Katie
    Posted 23 June 2005 at 17:44 | Permalink | Reply

    Take a look at this
    Loic is “A-list,” and european. The wiki is a little dismissive of the british blogosphere, but it’s a start, and I would like to see people add to it.

    As a far as corporate blogging goes, the french really have taken corporate blogging (private and public) to a whole new level and have much stronger offline networks (and not just for beer-drinking)

  3. KathyF
    Posted 24 June 2005 at 08:19 | Permalink | Reply

    I have to say, from a straddler’s position, I’ve thought Britain was under-blogged as well. There’s simply nothing here like the huge American blogosphere, but I kinda like it that way.

    Quality, not quantity. (See “Yoghurt, Chicken” and “NoseMonkey” vs. “Atrios” and “Kos, Asshole”)

    My guess is Brits are working much harder at their tiresome real jobs and getting pissed much more frequently than slacker Americans.

  4. KathyF
    Posted 24 June 2005 at 08:19 | Permalink | Reply

    By the way, I originally landed here from an American blogroll.

  5. Justin
    Posted 24 June 2005 at 09:37 | Permalink | Reply

    But it’s also down to the old chestnuts of the UK not having the same level of household connections to the internet as the US, and us having a national newspapers that the vast majority of people are still happy to have as their primary source of news – which the US has never had.

    You can address the former I but I think the latter is a huge barrier to any chance of the British blogospere (can we have a better word please) taking off in a big way.

    (Cheers for referring to me as “quality”, Kathy! I’m not sure about working much harder put pissed is about right.)

  6. Phil
    Posted 24 June 2005 at 17:47 | Permalink | Reply

    _the bloggers I link to only link to other bloggers I already link to_

    Huge amount of truth there. Just counted your list and at least 24 would be in the last 50 I went to.

    I don’t think this is a problem. Blogging is basically a form of conversation, & conversations happen in groups. What is a problem is the assumption that there aren’t a lot of other conversations going on out there – and other groups of blogs with overlapping link lists. (Try following a few links from Clare Sudbery’s blog Boob Pencil, for example. “Mad musings of me” links to “My boyfriend is a twat” links to… Not entirely my thing, you understand (although I do like Clare’s blog), but it’s just as much of a ‘blogosphere’ as the one where you link to me and I link to Justin.)

    I’ve heard people say “there isn’t anyone out there” a few times, and it often seems to mean “there isn’t anyone out there like me” – or even “there isn’t anyone out there as important as me“.

  7. Phil
    Posted 24 June 2005 at 17:54 | Permalink | Reply

    There’s simply nothing here like the huge American blogosphere, but I kinda like it that way.

    Quality, not quantity. (See “Yoghurt, Chicken” and “NoseMonkey” vs. “Atrios” and “Kos, Asshole”)

    But is that a big community or just a big audience? Are there 100 times as many US political blogs as we have here? Or are there (say) twice as many, only ours get fifty hits per day and theirs get fifty million squillion hits every five minutes? Because if so, our way is fine by me. (The kind of thing I write will never get a mass audience, and I wouldn’t want to write the kind of thing that would.)

  8. KathyF
    Posted 24 June 2005 at 22:44 | Permalink | Reply

    You want numbers? Okay, for instance, a couple of weeks ago Big Brass Alliance was formed to publicize the DSM–there are now 500 blogs affiliated with it, and most of the a-list blogs didn’t bother to join. That’s just on the left, mind you.

    So, there are probably at least ten times as many American polibloggers, conservatively. But the population is also greater–by about 5 times, isn’t it?

    As for the audience–a typical post at Eschaton gets around 400 comments. Smaller American blogs might get 20-40, whereas here I rarely see a comment thread with over 30 posts–or am I missing some really big blogs? A lot of blogs have been “celebrating” their one millionth visitor, if that’s any indication of audience.

    Also, the frequency of posts is much higher on US blogs.

    But, like I said, you guys have better beer–I mean blog.

  9. Phil
    Posted 25 June 2005 at 13:17 | Permalink | Reply

    Oh. Those are quite significant differences. Never mind.

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