Technorati’s wheels are grinding again, and /Message has been updated, moving from 242 links from 140 sites and a rank of around 10,324 to 340 links from 182 sites and a new rank of 7,379:
Yesterday, I predicted a jump below 5,000, based on the recent surge at BlogPulse. I looked more closely, and the BlogPulse ranking climb was slightly more gradual than I had thought, so changes in one of the two systems are still a fairly good predictor of the scale of changes in the other.
Since Technorati is a hotbed of innovation on authority (see Technorati Authority Filter), it would be sweet if they supported BlogPulse-style graphs, indicating the rise (or fall) of ranking over time, and the comparison of different blog’s rankings over time.
Note that Technorati rankings are that: rankings of blogs. They are not really linked to individuals, except that we know the blogs are written by someone, or some group, by inference. The worst example of that is group blogs and individuals with multiple blogs. Technorati handwaves at the problem, merely associating a person’s profile to the blogs they claim. So, by that approach, one individual — the one that ‘claims’ the blog — gets all the authority associated with a group blog, and the others get none. The worst situation would be a person who has worked long and hard at several group blogs, and who apparently might have no authority at all!
So Technorati needs to create a real personal authority model:
- Blog authority and personal authority are closely related, and in the unique case of a blogger who only writes on one blog and has no collaborators, they are one and the same. But in every other case, they are different. Perhaps very different.
- Personal authority is tied to the individual, not the blog. That means that an individual should by some means be able to claim their own posts, and own them. This would allow collation of links and references from multiple blogs into a personal authority rank. This would require author identity to be established, in a way similar to blog claiming, and Technorati would have to learn to read the “by Stowe Boyd” elements of blog posts.
- Personal authority is not just a matter of links. Those who are authorities in their field are widely cited without direct attribution to specific posts. In my own case, just as examples, in the past week Steve Gillmor wrote a post called Idiot Wind that suggested I was a loon without linking to /Message or the post he was incensed about, and something I wrote in early January at Get Real was quoted by a writer at the Guardian. In both cases, my authority in the field should have been impacted. (Of course, Gillmor’s withholding a link might have been calculated to avoid offering me a boost to my authority on the subject, since his contention was that I am all wrong about the subject in question. In my view, it makes an argument like his hard to follow for the reader, since he is referring to comments that the reader cannot click through to read. What he should have done was use a link with a “nofollow” attribute, which is a way of linking without conferring authority, more or less.)
- Personal authority is linked on the cascading of influence, which systems like memeorandum leverage and display, but which is not well-captured in Technorati. I wrote a post recently about the Conversational Index. Technorati dutifully noted the number of links to the story, and their originators. But that post led to a really large bloom of thought and argument, where ultimately hundreds of posts were written, many of which did not refer back to the initiation point at all. True, Technorati does capture the first order indicator of that meme bloom, but its conceivable that some of the second and third tier authors in that explosion of thought around the CI wound up with similar link counts from similarly ranked referrers. But the originator of a thought and its secondary critics and admirers should are not in general gain the same degree of authority. The innovator should be recognized in a different way, perhaps on a different scale. I think discovery of the source of these blooms is a critical element of authority in the real world and one that is absent in Technorati, today.
By no means an exhaustive list, but is only an indicator of where Technorati (or others) will have to go before we have established a true baseline for personal authority.