Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Are you an Amablogger-blogger?
The above ranking lasted about 2 minutes... ;-)
Get sorted at Amatomu.com
David Bullard won’t be reading this article. He recently quit blogging. For the rest, if you’re one of the 25 037 bloggers out there (11% active apparently), then you need to get yourself sorted at Amatomu.
Amatomu is basically a local-is-lekker version of Technorati, but I’m inclined to say it’s a lot better than Technorati: it’s zippy, it’s dynamic. It should be; it’s run by the geniuses at Mail & Guardian.
The site is very practical, useful and interesting. What’s nifty is you get to see a ranking of the local blogs according to a number of criteria. You can also see where the local Zeitgeist (what everything is thinking about) is going. Google has recently launched a South African version of their Zeitgeist, but it’s nice to have a one-stop-shop for all things Blogging.
Amatomu also provides overall stats for the South African blogosphere: you’d better believe it is expanding at a PHENOMENAL rate. To give you an idea, August’s tally of unique blog visitors is 621 204. This puts blogs in the top 5 of South Africa's most popular websites.
These statistics and others have urgent implications for mainstream media. But some websites are responding to the changing playing fields. Johncom’s The Times.co.za is decribed on Amatomu as: “… the first mainstream newspaper to embrace blogs and the social media and social networking environment in general in its print pages.”
Amatomu have also ranked The Times.co.za as their ‘Player of the Week’.
Arthur Goldstuck writing for M&G’s Thought Leader defends the nomination as follows:
“The Times… serves almost as a manual for social media. It gives bloggers a print platform to flex their blogging muscles as “blogumists” and expand their audiences dramatically.”
I agree. The Times.co.za is the only South African News website I know of that allows you to embed video onto your blog. Are there any others right now? Plenty of overseas sites (like Metacafe and YouTube) have provided this option for some time.
What Blogs Are About
Bloggers want to have a conversation within their communities, and sometimes, outwards, as they attempt to engage with a wider audience. So being able to post news onto facebook, or your own blog helps get these conversations going. I’ve been experimenting lately with my own blog, but I’m not always sure I want too many strangers reading my content. The more people who visit my blog, I’ve started to realize, the more cagey I have to be about personal revelations.
Be Careful What You Blog
What you blog I suppose depends on what you’re prepared to etch in stone. It’s true that once you post to the web, it’s very difficult to erase. Just ask Amy Polumbo how she felt after being crowned Miss New Jersey, and then having some skimpy Facebook pictures emerge in a tasteless (and unsuccessful) blackmailing scandal. I’ve also ranted on my own blog and reaped the whirlwind. Bloggers and those who read them forget that once the emotion has passed, the words remain, so beware that you’re venturing where angels fear to tread.
Forever and Ever, (Web)men
The phrase ‘carved in stone’ will soon be a less articulate expression, than ‘carved in cyberstone’. The good news is you can pay some companies (like Namyz, Defend My Name and International Reputation Management) to erase questionable content. This usually involves negotiation with webmasters. But in reality, once information is on the internet, it can be downloaded onto computers, and even if erased off the net, copies are likely to remain and even resurface.
Now, How It Works
So here’s how Amatomu works. In order to track your blog, whose visiting and how popular it is, you need to embed an HTML tag onto your site. Don’t worry, it’s invisible. You might want to add a ‘Schmaak This’ button so that people can rate your posts and you can check how popular you are in the blogosphere. Another useful tool to either consult or attach to your site is Amatomu’s Zeitgeist.
Posting articles relating to the Amatomu Zeitgeist means you’re tapping into the stream of consciousness of the crowd. Being relevant is more important than ever if you mean to be an interesting blogger. Amatomu enables your blog to be all that it can be.
*Vincent Maher, the M&G Online's strategist