Team up, find a niche, be alert with good content. "Great content is out there, but it's often drowned in a sea of garbage," but Sphere "offers good results uncluttered by the blogorrhea," says Chris Sherman, the executive editor of Search Engine Watch. Sphere is a recently started, beta search engine that aims to specialize in blogs. How do they filter the blogosphere and what conclusions can we make to (Newsvine) blogs based on their soon to be launched practice?
Naturally, they intend to adopt the general web search logic: so No. 1 goes for link structures: the number and quality of links. You link me, I link you, and we both have one vote to get closer to the top list. Also, if the big gorilla links you, its link is more powerful than no name mousy blog's link. Now on Newsvine there is no clear suggestion if you have another user on your watchlist it counts as a link.
Initiation as algorithm
No. 2 goes for alpha bloggers: "crucial to this analysis is an attempt to understand who's starting or leading discussions in contrast to those bloggers who are simply commenting on existing conversations." Now this is a truly blog-specific search logic: initiation yields more votes than simply joining. So, if you look into yourself and discover that, due to time/ personality, you are not the sort of blogger who launches (dynamic) conversations, you may need to consider to team up with a more dominant type of blog/ger. What is more, if you wish to be heard in the cacophony of bloggers, you need to team up anyway, unless you have an already established brand name (like annalog, claus, evano, bford, tjedi etc.). But does it make any sense that you face "the most authoritative voices in the blogosphere writing about a specific topic?" Is it really part of relevance? According to Sphere, people are not merely interested in a certain post, but a whole blog. The bigger the community knowledge/ participation added value to the lion's blog, the bigger the relevance. So harsh as it may sound, it does make sense.
But do we find all branded Viners' blogs on the watchlist relevant? It depends. I would risk to say that we are mostly omnivorous news eaters in a way, so our seedings are versatile, and some even so prolific that it is impossible to follow them. Most present Viners create a rich but much too meandering profile to match it up with our own profile of interests. It takes time to select the bits for us, so it is not effective. Besides, it seems logical that user-watchlists reach their saturation point much faster than tags do. It leads early vine adopters to cling to each other for vote-exchange, which means that community building gets blocked. Whereas tag-based branded team blogs (open team, hopefully) have a lot more chance to include more satisfied tagwatchers rather than leaving them to compete for attention individually.As you have a Newsvine blog, you may consider teamed up specializing (maybe having group accounts), and display the individual author's sig at the bottom.
Many mini magazine blogs
But let's pick out another telling word from the search algorithms: 'specific topic.' "What we're trying to do here is to find things on a topic level and find people that consistently blog on them," quotes Sherman the Sphere CEO, Tony Conrad. Sphere, does not plan to incorporate tags into their search algorithm, instead they test the consistency of given topics. So the conclusion: as the blogosphere is rapidly growing and there are m/zillions of blogs to specialize in z/millions of topics, you may need to narrow down your special interests and transfer a broad topic into something more viably specific. It is not that easy to identify the depth, however. Is it enough to specialize in IT, or should you go down to Apple or just to iPod? It depends on the rivalry for your target group, so it is worth embracing one well-defined group of potential, no, not readers, commenters, after having checked the market. A good example for precision targeting is chinawatcher among Viners. Another important reason for teaming up lies in the algorithm that investigates meta data (how often you post, how long your postings are, etc.) in addition to the semantic analysis of postings. So if you are alone, you cannot improve either the frequency or the length or the overall quality of postings as much as in a team, that is you attract fewer users. Both writing and seeding on a separate 'archeology.newsvine.com' site might attract more regular visitors, while depending on the nature of the archeology newsitems they can still go into science, education, or odd news or mixed. Here some (occasionally impossible) consensus is needed. Lastly, as Newsvine becomes stronger on search engines, keyword search gives more chance to specialized pages, I guess (title pages have more votes in algorithms). So let's have a quick check on 'newsvine & china': the first three are: ________________(fill it in, please).
In short, I do not propose that individual blogs should be eliminated, neither that their future means only teaming up.
But I do suggest founding team blogs with e-mail accounts that are accessible by the editorial group and that can be contacted promptly if anybody wishes to publish a newsitem on the specialized xy.newsvine.com site.
And what do you think? Do you see your future in the tonnes of individual blogs? (considering limited time, interest, social networking, quality and relevance pressure etc.)
Is there anybody already doing team blogs (or split personality blogs as Myk suggested)? Do you find it rational to run group blogs?
PS: sphere.com may not be currently available , but it is well worth checking back if you have a look at the names who are involved in developing the engine.