Blogo… What? A definition and more

From Wikipedia’s entry on the Blogosphere.

Blogosphere is the collective term encompassing all blogs as a community or social network. Many weblogs are densely interconnected; bloggers read others’ blogs, link to them, reference them in their own writing, and post comments on each others’ blogs. Because of this, the interconnected blogs have grown their own culture. Other terms in use include Blogtopia, Blogspace and Blogistan.

History

The term blogosphere was coined on September 10, 1999 by Brad L. Graham, as a joke [1]. It was re-coined in 2002 by William Quick (quite seriously) [2] and was quickly adopted and propagated by the warblog community. Many people still treat it as a joke; however, National Public Radio‘s programs Morning Edition, Day To Day, and All Things Considered have used the term several times to discuss public opinion. The term bears a similarity to a much older word, “logosphere”. In the Greek roots, “logo” means “word,” and “sphere” can be interpreted as “world,” resulting in “the world of words,” the universe of discourse. The term also recalls the pronunciation and the meaning of the term “noosphere.”

The notion of a blogosphere is an important concept for understanding blogs. Blogs themselves are essentially just the published text of an author’s thoughts, whereas the blogosphere is a social phenomenon. What differentiates blogs from webpages or forums is that blogs can be part of a shifting Internet-wide social network formed by many links between different blogs.

Tracking

Sites such as Technorati, Blogdex, Bloglines, Blogrunner, Blog Street, BlogsNow, PubSub, and Truth Laid Bear use the links made by bloggers to track the interconnections between bloggers. Taking advantage of hypertext links which act as markers for the subjects the bloggers are discussing, these sites can follow a piece of conversation as it moves from blog to blog. These also can help information researchers study how fast a meme spreads through the blogosphere, in order to determine which sites are the most important for gaining early recognition.

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