Back in January, when I had been blogging for five months but was still a blogosphere fledgling, I am embarrassed to say that I made a post that purported to present the top 30 edublogs as measured by Technorati rankings. The more time that passed since that post, the more chagrined I became at how laughably naive I was (I only analyzed 66 blogs!). So I decided to try again…
Step 1: Define the size of the education blogosphere
This in itself is a challenging and important task. No one knows exactly how big the education blogosphere is because it’s both dispersed and hidden. Here’s how my two phenomenal research assistants, Jenni Christenson and Eric LeJeune, and I tackled the issue:
- We started with CASTLE’s participant lists from LeaderTalk and our Principal Blogging Project, January’s education blogosphere survey, and the messages I received from my aforementioned January post on top edublogs. This garnered us a few hundred blogs.
- Then Jenni and Eric combed scores of education blogs’ blogrolls. We found over one thousand blogs this way.
- They dug through blogger lists like the ones at Support Blogging, BlogBridge, and ScotEduBlogs and got hundreds more.
- With the gracious assistance of all three organizations, Jenni and Eric scraped blog URLs from November Learning Communities, Edublogs, and Class Blogmeister and found hundreds more.
- In the area that Edublogs uses to communicate with its users, James Farmer posted a link to an online form for us and we got another 224 that way.
- And so on… In other words, we tried to find every list, edublog hosting service, blogroll, etc. that might have new blogs that we hadn’t found yet.
Then we had the joy of finding and eliminating duplicates. Ugh.
Technorati lists 14,854 blogs with a tag of ‘education.’ It lists 23,807 blogs with a tag of ‘school.’ James informed me that Edublogs alone is hosting over 50,000 educator blogs, most of which are private and classroom-oriented. As you’ll see, we didn’t get anywhere near that many URLs.
How many edublogs are there? Over 50,000. How many are in this analysis? Over 3,600.
Step 2: Rank the blogs we found.
This was easier. Jenni and Eric copied each blog URL into the search box at Technorati.com and then entered into our spreadsheet the blog’s Authority (i.e., how many blogs have linked to it over the last 6 months) and Rank (i.e., overall rank among the tens of millions of blogs that Technorati monitors; lower is better). For example, at the time we checked, Patrick Higgins’ blog, Chalkdust, had an authority of 40 and a rank of 153,160. Many blogs had an authority of 0 or had nothing listed at all for either factor.
Step 3: Sort and present the results.
After doing a lot of cleanup (eliminating more duplicates!), we sorted by rank and authority. Here are some example results (click on the images to see the full-size charts)…
If you look at the Authority of the top 204 edublogs, you’ll see the classic long tail distribution. The top blog, Inside Higher Ed, had nearly 2,400 other blogs link to it over the past six months. In contrast, the blogs near the end of this graph only had 45 blogs link to them. About two-thirds (2,542) of the blogs on our list had 0 blogs link to them in the last half year. Only 264 averaged more than 5 external links per month.
Caveats and disclaimers
- Exactly what constitutes an ‘education blog’ is a matter of interpretation. Jenni and Eric looked for blogs by teachers, principals, superintendents, school librarians / media specialists, technology coordinators, education professors, education critics / commentators, and the like. They had to make some tough choices but tried to include anyone that blogged regularly and often about education. If you think they included a blog that shouldn’t be on the list, get in touch.
- As hard as we tried, I’m sure we still missed a bunch of folks. If you’d like to be included in our next analysis (hopefully January 31, 2008), please complete the online form.
- There are many reasons why educators blog and Technorati numbers are just two of many metrics of success. If you’re happy blogging, by all means keep it up! If you’d like more traffic, this list of tips is a good place to start.
- Technorati numbers were compiled over a 2–week period in late July. All blog rankings and authority numbers are approximate and already out of date.
I’d like to do this twice a year, so the next time should be in January 2008. As the list grows bigger, it gets more unwieldy and time-consuming. If you’d like to lend a hand, get in touch. If you have any suggestions for how to expand this analysis or do it differently, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
8/1 Correction: The data for Education Week, The Fischbowl, and eSchoolNews were erroneously omitted. The two graphs above, as well as the downloadable Excel file, have been updated to reflect the data for these two sites.