UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

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Evidence, Even If Flawed, For Blog Metrics

Posted by Brian Kelly on 25 Jun 2010

I recently co-facilitated a one-day workshop on “Engagement, Impact, Value” which was organised jointly with Mimas.  The day explored ways in which JISC Services and projects could seek to engage with their users in order to maximise the impact of their services and demonstrate their value.

The Government’s announcements of cuts across the public sector, including the news about the forthcoming withdrawal of funding for Becta, provided a sombre tone to the day’s presentations and discussions, with a clear understanding that the issues addressed during the day will probably also of significance across the HE sector.

During the day we heard about the need to provide evidence of value. We also heard that, despite the many limitations related to metrics for networked services, we should be gathering such evidence in any case. And hearing today’s news that the Government [is] to scrap three quarters of its websites to save £100million I’m more convinced than ever of the need to be able to provide evidence to cost-cutters – even if the limitations are self-evident to techies.

What evidence, therefore, can be provided which demonstrates the value of a blog?  And, perhaps equally important, what evidence can be obtained with minimal effort?

The Technorati service has information on over one million blog (note that since 2009 Technorati has been analysing English language blogs only).  Technorati provides information for a blog’s  authority which is described as a “measures a site’s standing & influence in the blogosphere”. In addition Technorati also provides information on a blogs’ ‘Rank’ which is “a site’s rank among the Technorati Authority of all sites. 1 is the highest rank“.

A search for blogs with the keyword ‘jisc’ provides the results which are shown below.

Technorati ranking for the JISC keyword

The MASHe blog is to be commended with its high profile in this search :-)  And it would appear that the first two blogs are in the top 1% of all blogs Technorati has indexed with the next two blogs in the top 5%.

Back in November 2006 I described how I had registered this blog in Technorati.  I would suggest that other blog authors do this as it provides a simple way of getting statistics. I would advice claiming the blog shortly after it has been launched although if you have an existing blog it can be claimed although you will need to create a post containing a Technorati code in order to validate that you own the blog (the post can be deleted afterwards).

Yes, Technorati’s approach will be flawed but if the government moves on from Government Web sites and threatens the survival of Web sites across the educational sector I will have some evidence why this blog should be spared.  And I’d like other blogs in the sector to be able to make use of similar evidence themselves.

6 Responses to “Evidence, Even If Flawed, For Blog Metrics”

  1. Martin said

    As you know I’m all for metrics (after a fashion) but Technorati is a prime example of their dangers. It seems to have degenerated into a random number generator – it hardly ever picks up links to my blog, it ignores twitter links, the authority changes suddenly, it lumps everyone in together etc.
    I know you said it was flawed but we should stick with it, but I fear that it undermines the very case you want to make – if it is almost entirely meaningless and this can be shown in a couple of minutes then why bother with metrics at all? A simple Google measure of number of links in is probably better.

  2. Martin said

    Yes, the implementation is flawed. I think there is definitely something in metrics, but my angle is for it to help the individual, not to be used as a measure of performance (‘get a Technorati authority of over a 100 or you’re sacked’), as it will simply be gained if it’s the latter.

  3. […] Even If Flawed, For Blog Metrics [web link]UK Web Focus (25/Jun/2010)“…blog is to be commended with its high […]

  4. Agree with Martin about the Technorati case. Web metrics / net statistics can be pretty much inaccurate and scarcely reliable if there is no security in place to preserve the consistency of the datasets.

  5. Measuring ‘value’ or influence is always going to be controversial and I look enviously at other Martin’s Wikio Top 41 ranking for technology blog (I’m coming to get you ;-).

    For me the Technorati’s and Wikio’s of this world are not tools for measuring value per-say, but tools to make sure my work is visible to the widest possible audience. When Brian contacted me many months ago to congratulate me on my entry to 3rd spot on the ‘jisc technorati search’ one of my first thoughts was how could I get higher on the ranking. My solution – as the technorati blog search appears to return results partly ranked on relevance I edited my blog profile to include a liberal smattering of the term ‘JISC’. This led to MASHe initially hitting the top spot with a lower ‘ranking’ and ‘authority’ than Brian’s blog (subsequently my authority/ranking has gone up, I prefer to put this down to good writing rather than my manipulation of the results ;-)

    So while we all agree the system is flawed, I’m sure we would all agree making sure your site is ‘visible’ is good practice.

    Martin

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