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People Power vs. the Folly of Herds


Community-driven websites are a great study in Malcolm Gladwell-esque social epidemics. On the one hand, the so called ‘wisdom of crowds’ acts as a sort of self-administered antibiotic – cleansing bugs and other nasties as they go. They bounce spam and gratuitous adult content etc. and they quickly let others know of the good stuff. We can see how, Digg and craigslist help quickly and effectively spread the word on a great site or blog (sometimes quicker than the search engines or traditional news portals can index or find them) whilst letting the community vote down or even help remove irrelevant content.

The flipside is the irrational exuberance inherent in such popularity contests. People join community websites for many reasons. They question, respond and interact for many reasons. Some have purely altruistic drivers, whereas some are just PageRank mercenaries (not that it’s a bad thing). My point is simply that these ‘Top xxx’ or ‘Popular’ lists should be interpreted with that in mind. Like that tosser that listed his Australian blog last week and used ALL UPPERCASE TAGS…

(In all fairness, we didn’t have the validation rules that we should have…until now.)

‘What’s Popular’ lists and SEP etc take on a mainstream, utilitarian approach to information. They ‘pool’ attention and generate hype and buzz which is very useful for disseminating info to a large group of interested parties. But a ‘cost/benefit’ approach doesn’t always work. There is such a thing as the ‘Long Tail’… is, and will always be, a community-driven site.

We believe and rely wholly on the goodwill of the community that submits bookmarks of Australian blogs, as well as that of the blog readership. We value transparency and believe in the sovereignty of choice.

YOU decide:

  • which blogs interest you
  • what’s popular
  • which feeds to subscribe to
  • which applications to use in reading, writing or using blogs
  • what tags to use to describe your blog will have imperfections. The blogs submitted might not use the relevant tags or may contain typos. These imperfections will be minimised using technical means however such imperfections are part of the double-edged sword that is the community-driven website.

In short, we believe that people power (warts and all) provides that best combination of hype + long tail OR mainstream vs niche.

We’re not your WHEREIS street directory. All we can give you are fuzzy directions.

(In compiling this post, I referenced Delicate Genius Blog “Popularity does not equate to relevance”)

HELP AustralianBlogs HERE


  1. genevieve

    Awwh, hurrah for us all. Just nice to be able to find the literature, the librarians, the politics, the music, the Melburnians – all in one place. And to be invited to do so – those tossers over at the Australian Index listed me without asking. Thanks to the Australianblogs team.

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