I'm a moderator at the Linkedin Bloggers group on Yahoo!. Linkedin is an online professional networking group with more than 5 million members worldwide.
Linkedin Bloggers is a members-only sub-group of Linkedin members who have created the group to discuss issues related to blogging and professional networking. The group is growing. We've decided to try an experiment we call "blog boosting." We've randomly selected one of the group members' regularly updated blogs -- in this case Itzy Sabo's Email Overloaded -- and group members have agreed to write about and link to Itzy's blog today, March 1, 2006. Those services reporting blog and web links will thus see a "bump" in mentions of Itzy's blog, and this may in turn impact Itzy's rankings from various services.
How much will this "bump" mean to Itzy and to anyone who takes the time to also comment on Itzy's blog and leave a link back? In Itzy's case, he experiencede quite a bump in his traffic. To hear what he said about the experience, and for an excellent lesson in site traffic analysis, check out the podcast Robyn Tippins and I made when we intervewed Itzy for The Podcast Roundtable:
In this podcast Itzy describes the powerful impact an initial 13 linkers had on his blog’s readership. Also discussed are the various stages the boost process went through, the different measures used to track the impact, and the “ethics” of the blog boost process itself.
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As a follow-up to LinkedinBloggers' first "blog boost" experiment, we selected as a followup the blog ME MYSELF AND I. Here is what I initially published on the front page of my web site:
Do you like trick pictures? Here's a good one - find the nine faces. This links to the target of the latest "Blog Boost" by members of LinkedinBloggers, a members-only group affiliated with Linkedin that I co-moderate. To learn more about our group, send me an email.
We're now at week 4 of the LinkedinBloggers Blog Boost. This week's target blog is Writing Great Ezines & Blogs from Patsi Krakoff. I had never heard the term "ezine" before so I did a little research. Here's how Wikipedia defines "ezine":
An ezine is a periodic publication distributed by email or posted on a website. CULT OF THE DEAD COW claims to have published the first ezine, starting in 1984, with its ezine still in production more than 20 years later. While this claim is hotly debated, the ezine craze certainly began in the BBS days of the 1980s. Phrack, which opened its doors in 1985, is another surviving ezine of unparalelled technical quality. Unlike CULT OF THE DEAD COW, which publishes articles individually, Phrack publishes collections of articles in a manner that is more similar to a print magazine.
Ezines are typically tightly focused on a subject area. Ezines in concept are reworkings of the popular magazine format of monthly, or weekly topical publications, in an electronic format.
That makes sense to me: an "ezine" is an electronic magazine.
I have to admit that I'm not much of a fan of traditional magazines anymore; why I should pay good money for the privilege of having someone advertise to me seems bogus given what I see day in and day out on the web. But packaging a group of articles and sending them out periodically via the Internet makes sense if the grouping is intelligent.
Do I currently "subscribe" to any ezines? I don't think so. For a time I subscribed to the electronic version of The Economist but I dropped it since I also got the weekly paper version, which seems backward, I know, but we liked the idea of having our kids being exposed to reading matter like that. (It worked -- my son is at college and subscribes to The Economist; my daughter subscribes to The New Yorker.)
Back to ezines. RSS feeds may have made the concept obsolete. You can now construct RSS feeds to reflect very specific interests and, as I recently found, you can construct RSS feeds to merge multiple RSS feeds. In effect, you have the ability now to construct your own specialized magazine that is constantly refreshed and that makes more static concepts of electronic magazines a bit old-fashioned,
But I'm an old-fashioned guy, anyway; why, my digital camera only boasts 2 megapixel resolution!
Fellow Podcast Roundtable member Jeremiah Owyang's blog was selected as this week's Linkedin Bloggers Blog Boost target. I say "was selected" based on the following process:
- A numbered list of Blog Boost participants for the past three weeks was generated from the database (the "Boost Tracker Database") used by participants for registering their participation.
- A random numberer list was generated using one of the many random number generators now available on the Web.
- The first random number in the list was used to identify the target boost in the numbered list.
This week the process of generating a random number was done three times. The first two times, potential "boost targets" were selected who did not appear on the group's Member Blog Directory, and inclusion in that list is one of the eligibility criteria for being selected as a Boost target.
Coincidentally, Jeremiah's 's blog is already on my "read regularly" list. This link should come as no surprise to him, although I do tend to leave comments on other blogs more often than I link to them.
This week's target for the LinkedinBloggers Blog Boost is Susan Reynolds' Case-Notes from the Artsy Asylum. This is one of those blogs I check out periodically, ever since Susan came out of the blue a couple of months ago, commented favorably on my Christmas trip writeup, and announced that she, too, lives in Virginia.
Susan's blog appears at first glance to be about topics that are removed from my day to day consulting and professional interests. I say "at first glance" since there is much to learn here and much to explore, especially for someone like me who is "all thumbs" when it comes to "art."
Probably my most powerful reaction to Susan's blog is the overall look. It has a look of careful and thoughtful layout, design, and color. I like the greens and blues, my favorite colors. There are illustrations throughout the blog, some with borders, some without, some placed diagonally or at a slant. This makes for a visually rich design that complements the text and the art that's displayed throughout.
Another impressive characteristic is the thought that has been put into the placement of the numerous linked objects such as buttons to various feeds, Amazon album cover links, advertiser badges, Technorati, and other elements directly or indirectly associated with this artist. On some blogs this stew of elements looks hideous and intrusive. Here the look is organized and clean with plenty of white space. The artist seems to be saying, "OK, I know I gotta advertise and link to all this stuff, but I'm going to do it on my own terms."
Finally, an interesting item is the copyright notice (which, by the way Susan, still says 2005). It links to statements provided by Susan's attorney. While I.m personally a firm believer in intellectual property rights, what I'd really like to see, or rather hear, when I click on a linked copyright notice is not a legal warning, but rather the voice of the artist explaining why he or she believes in copyright.
This week's LinkedinBloggers Blog Boost target is Personal Money Tips, a very green blog that's about ... money. There's a lot about basics here -- basic concepts, managing your money, definitions, money making ideas.
And there's also philosophy.
What I like about this blog is that it's relaxed, down to earth, and patient. The author even refers in one entry to his "morning devotions." I find that refreshing. It represents the personal touch in a blogosphere that is at least partly filled with people jumping up and down and screaming about something.
I'll pause here now and then and pick up some tips. Thanks, James!
This week' Linkedin Bloggers Blog Boost target is The Everyday Economist. This is a very interesting blog that comments on a variety of economically related topics. One series concerns the economics of open source. Another discusses taxation and digital goods. While the topics are not discussed in any depth (this is a blog, after all!) it is a pleasure to see such a variety of interesting topics discussed in such a readable fashion.
Want an education in blogging technology? Spend time with Robyn Tippins' Practical Blogging. I have the honor to know Robyn from Linkedin Bloggers (she and I are both co-moderators) and from The Podcast Roundtable (she and I are both members). She has the best mix of technical and marketing knowledge of just about anybody I know, and I am constantly amazed at her ability to keep so many high-quality balls in the air at one time. And some day I hope to meet her in person!