Thursday, April 26, 2007

British Blogging Power (Part 1)

A lot is made about the disparity between British political blogs and their American counterparts. American blogs have hundreds of thousands of visitors while British blogs get just a couple of thousand. The British population, we're told, is only 5 times smaller than the American one and so our blogs should receive around a fifth of the number of hits. Seeing that this isn't the case people desperately seek explanations for it; American politics is more international, American media is less partisan etc etc.

However, I would like to disagree with the essential analysis of the figures. Of course, it is undeniable that American blogs get more hits, but does this matter? The purpose of a blog isn't to make money (where overall sales is all important) it is to influence people. So, any effective measure of blogging power should be a measure of the blogs ability to influence.

Let us establish a measure of this ability and call it "capacity to influence", CI, and let it be a measure of minutes/day spent on a blog. The basis for this measure is that people have to actually read a blog's content in order to be influenced and the more they read the more they will be influenced. And, of course, the amount they read is determined by how long they spend on the blog. So, let us find the CI of some blogs. We can do this by multiplying the average number of hits per day with the average time spent per hit. Here are some results:

Daily Kos: 563,477 hits per day, 2 seconds per hit = 18,782CI

Little Green Footballs: 100,673 hits per day, 9 seconds per hit = 15,100CI

So, British blogs should have CI's roughly equal to one fifth of this, i.e. around 5-6 thousand:

Tim Worstall: 2,577 hits per day, 1 min 29 seconds per hit = 3,822CI

Pickled Politics: 1,919 hits per day, 2 minutes 19 seconds per hit = 4,445CI

As you can see, the British blogs are slightly behind ahead of their target, but not by that much. The blogs chosen here to represent British blogging are not necessarily the biggest because, for some reason, some British blogs seem to keep those facts hidden.

What we find is that British blogging isn't far behind is actually ahead of our American cousins. The next question, to be dealt with later, is what is the power of the blogosphere?