There is a distinctive quality of this map that strongly interests me:
Within the central "nucleus" of connections, there tends to be a relatively even distribution of connections. That is, there is no small handful of blogs that are substantially more linked-to than others. This is a big surprise, because conventional wisdom says links should create a power curve of influence with a long tail of isolated blogs.
But something different seems to be happening here, and I'll float two theories about it:
- Blogs seem to link to other blogs of equivalent connectedness
- Networks of linkages form loosely around discrete and related topics.
This observation suggests a change of emphasis for businesses wanting to engage the blogosphere from seeking exposure on the top blogs to seeking engagement with the most relevant blogs. Whereas the traditional PR model might seek out the biggest, most widely read blogs, and a newer, targeting-based PR approach might look to respond to specific mentions of a brand or exec, there could well be a Middle Way:
Find the people who care the most about your stuff, engage with them, and stay engaged over time. In other words, focus resources on targeted, relatively narrow sections of the blogosphere, rather than trying to curry favor with the so-called A-List or scattering ephemeral attention across the whole Internet. You might have heard of this. It used to be called relationship marketing.