Mathew Lowry

Hmm, any survey which lists my blog as a Top 20 ‘influential’ blog (see Stuart’s post and interview with the authors, and Jon’s post) must be either very generous or not have more than 20 blogs to work with, given that I post rarely, haven’t posted in months, always post too long, cover a subject of interest to a microscopic number of people, and seek to influence noone (until just now, my blog has basically been me figuring a problem out in public, asking for help as I go).

Most of the bloggers cited and rated (and plenty that weren’t!) were pretty critical about the whole exercise, particularly those – like me – that didn’t attend (see Twitter). Jon Worth did attend – his post (get the study there) is the only other post on it I’ve seen, and was more balanced.

[Update: Just saw a devastating demolition by Eurogoblin, which no post on this subject can ignore.]

I was one of those sniping via Twitter from afar, possibly because the authors sent me and a few others to the wrong address. Upon reflection, however, I remembered something:

Everyone’s a critic

It’s just so much easier to criticise than actually doing something, isn’t it? After all, if this survey has to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find 20 blogs to rate (and it must have, given that I’m rated), then that’s because there are still so few quality blogs covering EU affairs out there.

One has to take a long view – people criticise Blogactiv for not being better than it is, but at least it’s there, making it easier for new bloggers to find their first audience.

So while it’s definitely very easy to criticise this survey – EN only (huge problem), hence very Brussels bubble (I suggested the #BxlBbbl hashtag), and a very debatable order of influential blogs – it’s a start. It just might stimulate more and better analyses of EU social media by more people. And that will help grow the EU social media ecosystem further. Which has to be a good thing. Every Bit Helps.

As I said previously, I’m trying to keep my post-length down, so I’ll take a closer look at the results in a future post.

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  1. Completely disagree (not surprising, seeing as I provided a harsh review of the report). The “report” was based on poor research and opaque methods – produced by a PR firm trying to demonstrate to clients they can help “leverage” the “influence architecture” of the euroblogosphere. Why should we encourage this sort of thing?

  2. I didn’t see your comment before I updated my post to link to your article, to which I then commented, so maybe my answer is there as well.

    Surely the answer to your question is in my post? I wrote, above: It just might stimulate more and better analyses of EU social media by more people.

    I’m not saying only PR firms should do this – BloggingPortal would probably do a better job. The point is this: the more the merrier. It’s all about enlarging the ecosystem, currently pitifully small.

    Ecosystems cannot be monocultures – you need a diversity of creatures, occupying different niches, for all within the ecosystem to thrive.

  3. Your comment’s now been published – for some reason it got blocked by Akismet, sorry about that.

    I wasn’t at the conference, but I did read the report and hunted down the links (not provided in the original report) to verify that what was being said on Twitter was true. I hope W-E does produce a second report, and I hope they do a better job. I was more critical than I might have been otherwise because there were so many problems with their research.

    I would have loved a well-produced report on the state of the euroblogosphere, but what we got was W-E claiming (to potential clients) that they had the tools and expertise to interpret and understand the EU’s blogging ecosystem, and then patently failing to do so. Perhaps the eurobloggers and twitterers could have been nicer in pointing out the holes in their research, but there were just so many holes! The worst excess was placing in the #3 spot a blog which has only been updated four times this year, and only 12 times in total. Isn’t that slightly controversial?

  4. You’re right of course. If my post sounded like I was defending the quality of the research, it wasn’t my aim. After all, what I actually said was “while it’s definitely very easy to criticise this survey“. Not exactly a stout defence.

    Possibly I’m just a bit tired at the moment of people criticising initiatives without ever actually doing anything themselves – there’s always been a lot of talk, and very little action, in this world.

    But you’re right – noone should expect bloggers to pull their punches, particularly when it comes to PR companies, and the report could have been much, much better. If I was W-E, I would make sure of it.

  5. It’s funny – the W-E report has kicked off a flurry of activity and new ideas around the euroblogosphere – everyone’s united in their criticism of the report. I’ll give it plenty of credit for achieving that much.

  6. Probably not what they intended, but it illustrates my point perfectly. Activity creates more activity. Ask any student of natural systems. 😉

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