Category Archives: Popularity

A Coyote a Day

My search for a popular and interesting blog began with the blog referenced in Risdahl’s Chapter 3 under recreation blogs, the fishing and outdoors blog hosted by the Billings Gazette. While I could not find it under the address listed in the book (www.outdoorweblog.com/), I did find a tab at the newspaper’s homepage for blogs hosted by that sight, which led me to GazOutdoors. The GazOutdoors blog is co-written by the Gazette’s outdoors gurus and has been posting outdoors info, advice and events since November, 2004. While the blog meets most of Risdahl’s criteria of a popular blog, I didn’t feel so compelled to make it my choice for this assignment.

Instead my search continued through an “outdoors blog” browser search until I stumbled upon The Daily Coyote. This blog grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let go, and what grabbed it was all the amazing pictures. Now, if you’ve had the inclination to stop by my little creation, you’ll know that I have somewhat of a fetish with the subject matter of outdoors-related photography. But the next thing I noticed about The Daily Coyote is that this blogger, Shreve Stockton, has only been going about this blog since September, that’s September of 2007! During this time she has established an incredible following by usually simply posting a single photograph of her life with a tomcat, Eli, and an orphaned coyote, Charlie, in Wyoming. A following may be an understatement. By searching on through the site, you’ll notice that she has built up a daily, weekly, and monthly subscriber base; the popularity of this blog has seemed to explode exponentially in less than six months. In that time, the blog has also been named a finalist for The 2007 Weblog Awards.

While Shreve’s stunning photos, most of which feature Charlie the coyote, is what immediately demands your investigation of this blog, it also meets much of Risdahl’s criteria for what makes a blog popular. The two criteria that Shreve glaringly meets are focus and personality. The focus is undeniable, it’s about her life in Wyoming with Charlie and Eli. Period. As for her personality, that becomes very apparent as you begin to dig through the blog and may be best exemplified by the Five Dollar Stetson….. I wonder if I can get this in poster size?

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Popularity Contest

So what’s it take to make it in the big WWW? In today’s now, I believe all it takes is to be flashy, pretty, shiny and to have the deep dirt on famous people. That’s right: Gossip Blogs. I honestly think that we all thrive on it. If someone comes up and says “Paris has a new tape…if you know what I mean,” we’re not going to relpy with a “hold on, I don’t gossip.” I will proudly admit that I am a gossip fiend. This is why I LOVE PerezHilton.com This guy has the down and dirty. His sight is flashy and it is complete with pictures with catty comments crudely written in Paint. I pretty much can’t get enough of it. It really satisfies my guilty pleasure of celeb gossip. Perez is flamboyant and fun to read and has made a name for himself doing the blog scene. He now does TV commentary on both MTV and VH1 (and we all know that  you’ve made it if you’re doing that…am I right? 🙂 ) If you’re looking for a good laugh, please, check him out. You won’t be disappointed.

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What makes a blog popular

There are many ways to make a blog popular. How we present the blog, the writings in it, the titles (whether or not it’s capturing), and the layout. Blogs can be written in a short or long manner. The layout has to be simple, readable with writings that strike out from  the background.  The writings should be interesting and don’t beat around the bush, because the readers might get bored. Pictures can be added to make the blog more creative and inventive. This can be eye-catching to the readers. The blog should be categorized and well organized so it’ll be easier for readers to pick and choose their preferability.

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It’s all about the content

This may seem a little simple but for me there are three factors in a popular blog.

The first being the content or subject of the blog. Being a twenty year old male I obviously don’t want to look at the hottest prom dresses of ’08 or Hilary Duffs new handbag. Although I’m sure there are people who are very interested in that, these blogs wouldn’t be of the highest interest to me. I would be more interested in a blog about sports, the outdoors, or Jessica Alba (for her great acting of course) and therefor be more likely to return to it. The more people that are interested in the content of a blog the better. The 2008 Presidential Election is appealing to most everyone in the United States. Because this subject is of interest to a greater mass of people than other topics, it’s popularity will be greater.

The second is the visual aspect of a blog. If it is appealing to my eyes I am more likely to stick around and check things out. Although the content of the prom dress blog above isn’t exactly what I want to read about, it is (in my opinion) visually appealing. This is a definite factor for me when I am digging through blogs.

The third is reliability of the content. I was searching through some WordPress blogs and found this blog. If I was going to buy a gaming system and was looking for some guidance, I wouldn’t want to spend $400 or so dollars on a system that someone says is better than another if he doesn’t even know anything about them. The creator of this blog seems to know what he’s talking about. I say this based on looking through other posts and such. He has a well set-up blog, with links of interest, solutions for problems, and is obviously dedicated to helping others with his knowledge.

These are the three factors I think contribute (in my personal case) to the popularity of a blog.

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Penny Arcade

When asked to think of a popular blog, my mind goes right to Penny Arcade. To be honest, besides all of my classmates’ blogs and the occasional Scientific American article, PA is the only other blog I read consistently. The more I think about it, the more Risdahl’s qualifiers for blog popularity apply to Penny Arcade. I’ll get to that, but first, an introduction for those who haven’t heard of Gabe and Tycho. Wikipedia gives a pretty concise rundown of their operation:

Penny Arcade (webcomic) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Penny Arcade is among the most popular gaming webcomics currently online, and it hosts both a children’s charity (Child’s Play) and a gaming convention (PAX) each year.

The two characters [of the comic, representing the authors] spend much of their time playing and commenting on computer and video games, forming the basis of the humor in the strip. Another theme, albeit less common, is the use of conflicts between the two in real life. The strip also sometimes refers to other Internet subcultures, and often features in-jokes that are explained by the news posts accompanying each comic, usually written by Holkins.

With more than 2 million pageviews daily, the sway of these two men in the online gaming sphere is undeniable. (It’s typical for juggernauts such as Microsoft and Nintendo to send free products to the pair in hopes of a favorable mention in one of their posts.) Though the comic was the duo’s ticket to popularity and remains the ‘star of the show,’ the Penny Arcade main page – the first thing a visitor sees – is their blog.

In terms of content, Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik delivers some amazing material nearly every day. He is a literary swashbuckler who can made the English language dance for him and communicates some very complex and abstract ideas in bizarre yet canny ways. It’s no surprise to me that the blog’s readership is so high. The following paragraph appeared in this post.

The user interface, which I have heard decried, is the only serious point of contention. The game has a very persistent internal logic, and is very explicit in how it presents itself. The shortcuts we expect as a player today aren’t really present. It’s a very literal interface, clearly designed by a programmer. It wants to tell you everything, and it never wants you to feel as though something went by too fast for you to take it into account. It’s also written in Director, so it’s not as responsive as it it could be. I can’t really apologize for any of it, the complaints are entirely factual. I can only urge you to see it as a kind of “peel” one must manage to devour the paradise fruit within.

If this had been my game, having it be so interestingly dissected and interpreted would be an honor. It seems that this kind of perspective would deliver a critique worth so much more (to the gamer and the developer) than a professional gaming magazine’s “the interface could be better.”

Penny Arcade has become one of the leading influences in the gaming sphere and have acquired a thriving community of their own. Their message boards are remarkably active, populated and managed by about 70 moderators. The comments on their blog have a home here. My impression of PA in general is that their comic, blog and forum all feed off of and contribute to each other.

As for controversy, Penny Arcade goes out and gets it. There was a fiasco a while back with the notorious Jack Thompson (that’s worth a read) and lately some small-time reporter from Townhall.com. (As Gabe notes in the same post: “Blogspot for nut jobs.”) Holkins and Krahulik know that they have a large community behind them, that they represent thousands of gamers, and when the gaming community is attacked, they don’t hesitate to defend their folk intelligently and scathingly.

I’d talk about personality at greater length, but that’s something that really comes across after reading PA for a while. Suffice it to say that they have it in spades and that, even with enough of a presence to be a question in a New York Times crossword puzzle, they directly share their personal lives with their readers through their blog and podcasts.

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The Birds and the Beads

So, I started this assignment with a heavy heart. I must honestly say that I do not read other blogs, besides the ones here from our classmates. So I had set out to find an interesting blog. I didn’t feel like going through pages and pages of search engine results, but I did check out the first couple of pages. I searched for what I love- birds. Well, parrots actually because I knew there would be a large amount of birding (you know, that thing where you go hiking or sit in your kitchen and watch the wild birds eat from your feeder…) blogs and that just doesn’t interest me. So, in searching for a parrot blog, I had to weed through some of the generic bird channel information blogs that, while greatly informative and well written, just don’t have that entertainment value and humor that I crave.

So I came upon this blog. It is called “The Birds and the Beads.” It is not just a parrot/bird blog, in fact, it has very little reference to them (it would probably have even less but the author is in Australia and the amount of native parrots is massive). It contains humor, colorful pictures, and just stuff. Sometimes a blog entry will just have a picture, sometimes it will be a small quip that leaves you hanging. I think that is what makes it interesting. It is colorful, funny, spontaneous, and it always leaves you wanting to know what is next.

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Popular Blogging

I think that there are a number of factors that make a blog popular, but there are a few characteristics that I think are more prominent than others. First off, I like to see personality come through in a person’s blog, but at the same time the subject matter has to be relevant to the majority of the audience. If the blogger speaks about things that only he and a few others may know about, then the blog becomes lame and hard to comprehend, which makes for a not-so-popular blog, in the ever-expanding blog world.

Anther characteristic that I look for is validity on the bloggers page and feedback from other people. If you have a lot of feedback on a person’s blog, then obviously their blog is pertinent and therefore popular. I don’t necessarily think that a popular blog has to have overwhelming numbers of people who respond to the blog, but it does have to have a good core of people who respond everytime there is a post. This creates validity in having a popular blog.

A great example of this is a blog created by a fan of celebrities in which a simple website became an overnight sensation and now is viewed thousands and thousands of times a day. Perez Hilton’s perezhilton.com is a gossip blog that has made him into a celebrity of sorts as well. I really don’t like him personally, but if it is a popular blog you are looking for, then this would have to be considered one of them because of the huge number of loyal followers who post on a regualr basis.

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