Home Trendwatching – Wired Or Tired In The Blogosphere

Trendwatching – Wired Or Tired In The Blogosphere

By Alex Iskold

Last week Apple’s iPhone made a stunning
. There are very few people who were not blown away by what Steve Jobs showed to
the world, from the stage of MacWorld 2007. The irony was that beforehand, we didn’t know
what exactly the iPhone would be, but most of us knew it was coming – because there were
rumors and lots of blogosphere chatter about it in the weeks and months leading to the

Today’s blogosphere is a unique playground for trendwatchers who are seeking to find
out what’s wired or tired. Check out this image of the Blogosphere core, from the
fantastic DataMining blog by Matthew

Basic trendwatching with Technorati

Technorati is much more than a vertical search engine for blogs. It’s a service that
provides indispensable tools for bloggers, readers and trendwatchers. Technorati keeps
the finger on the pulse of the blogosphere and gives us access to the news, both new and
old. Perhaps the most interesting tool that Technorati offers to trendwatchers is the
historical chart. Here is the chart of all blog posts mentioning social
over the past year:

If you believe that high blogosphere activity indicates popularity, then this chart
shows that social bookmarking is wired. You may recall
that in our recent post about Trends
in Seth Godin’s Alexa data, we concluded that social bookmarking sites grew substantially
over the last six months. So both data sets lead to the same conclusion.

Comparing trends

We can also use Technorati charts to compare trends. We need to be a bit careful about
this, because each Y-axis has different numbers – but otherwise it is insightful. For
example, people have been talking about the rising popularity of virtual
. Let’s see how this upcoming trend is comparing against its “daddy”, social

Virtual worlds is on the left, where maximum mentions is 200. Social Networking is on
the right and maximum mentions is 1200. So what can we say about both trends? They are
both wired, although it seems like virtual worlds has only just started
to pick up momentum – while Social Networking might be peaking (but this is not so

Zooming into a trend

Next, we compare the companies that make up the social networking trend. Below are
Technorati trends for MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Orkut.

MySpace is above on the left, where the maximum number of mentions is 30,000 (Whoa!).
Facebook is on the right and the maximum number of mentions is 2,200.

LinkedIn is above on the left and the maximum number of mentions is 240. Orkut is on
the right and the maximum number of mentions is 800.

So if we ignore the scales for a moment (at this point MySpace violently protests), we
see that all of these trends put together explain the overall growing trend for social
networking. Also, these charts reveal fairly substantial events – for example you can see
in Facebook’s chart when rumors started to spread that Yahoo! might acquire it.

Finally, notice that people are starting to talk more about LinkedIn. Curiously, this
is at odds with the Alexa chart that was part of our recent analysis
– at least if you believe that page loads correlate with mentions in the blogosphere
(they should).

Seeing a trend go by

Most of the things that we have looked at so far have been wired. But the next one is
not. And it’s Ajax. 

Looking at the chart below, we see that the Ajax buzzword is getting
tired. This is probably not surprising to developers, because we are
seeing the rise of libraries like jQuery that hide
Ajax and take it to a whole new level. So the new trend we can perhaps call MetaAjax.

Ego Trending

Of course no blogger can resist ego surfing, or in this case ego trending. It is human
nature to feed the ego with mentions of cross links. Here is my modest chart (I take
comfort in the fact that my presentation at DEMO went well).

Comparing trends with BlogPulse

Technorati allows you to track a single trend. Comparing two trends is not easy
because of the difference in scale. For comparisons, you should head over to Blog Pulse, a service offered by Nielsen BuzzMetrics.
Also Google Trends is a useful comparison
tool, but in this post we’ll focus mainly on BlogPulse.

In addition to basic blog search, BlogPulse allows you to compare up to 3 trends. For
example, below is the comparison of Social Networking vs. Virtual Worlds over the last 6

There are a few things to note. Firstly, BlogPulse shows you the trend as number of
mentions relative to all blog posts. It is likely to be the number of posts mentioning
the term divided by the total number of posts that day. The fact that this is a relative
number is a good thing, because it allows us to distinguish the growth due to rising
number of blog posts, from the growth due to popularity. Another thing to note is that
this chart does not quite agree with what we have seen on Technorati. For this reason, it
is really important to understand the data and the method behind any chart. Given the
two, it appears that Nielsen’s data is normalized and hence more accurate (assuming there
are no bugs).

Here’s the same trend comparison in Google Trends (for 2006), which shows a similar

We close this post by pointing out that Blog Pulse has a page that features interesting trends across topics like
news, entertainment and technology. There is also a section called ‘Bizarre stuff’ that,
naturally, caught my attention. The first featured trend there was comparing mentions of
the Seven Deadly Sins:

Now here is something interesting… the two most popular ones are
pride and anger. If only envy was up
there too, as then we would be able to nicely explain the origins of Ego Trending!

On a more serious note, quantitative analysis and trending are really important tools
for measuring success, explaining the past and preparing for the future. We are eager to
hear your trending methods, tools and the sites that you find useful. Let us know in the

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.