Spanning the globe for insights into human behavior and persuasion.
For his 1985 novel Ender's Game
, Orson Scott Card conjured up a network system -- called "the nets" -- where citizens debate the issues of the day. It was a tiered system, one where getting access to highest eschelons meant being noticed in the lower eschelons. To get noticed, you needed to have great ideas and great arguments. Ender's older siblings, Peter and Val, gamed this system as children and got access to the network's highest level. Peter eventually was elected the planet's multi-national leader -- essentially, he ruled the world.
The blogosphere is shaping up like Card's "nets". It's much more democratic than the nets -- anyone can post their own blog or place comments on millions of others. But stand out bloggers get noticed because of the currency of linking. Bloggers acknowledge each other by referencing a blogger's idea, scoop or report, and that is done with a link. Most sites include a "blogroll" -- a list of links to other blogs that the author regularly reads (grokmart will have a blogroll soon).
Tools are emerging that measure the impact of blogs:
- There's the traditional hit counters: Sitemeter, for one
- Bloglines and Feedster offer a quick search of the pages that are linking to a blog.
- Technorati offers a more involved service. It determines a blog's rank based on the number of links from an external source.
For those of you keeping track, GrokMart has a grand total of zero external links and a Technorati rank of 871,307. No chance of me ruling the world any time soon...