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Monday, February 27, 2006

Crunching your blogroll

OK, a promise is a promise... no more politics for a while.  Cold turkey.  I can do this!

I'll start by apologizing to an embarrassing number of people to whom I didn't respond over the past week.  Part of the problem is that my Gmail account suddenly decided that about a third of my regular commenters were spammers.  Nice!

Then there was the problem of my being in a really pissy mood (due to people grinding axes here).  I hate responding to comments when I'm pissed off.  Want to know why?  Go read some of my gems from the past few days.  Classic examples of how to sound shrill and lose readers.  Absolutely classic!

Anyhoo, today's little game is called 'crunching the blogroll', and I encourage everyone to play it at least once per year.  If you don't have a blog of your own, you can crunch your favorites/bookmarks list. 

Here's how it works:

1.  Count up the total number of sites on your blogroll (or favorites list).  For those of you who list every single site you've ever visited (or heard of), just count the ones you visit fairly regularly.

2.  Take a piece of paper (or if you're a geek like me, set up an excel sheet), and create some column headers.  I'll list mine later as an example, but you'll see that your headers will vary depend on your reading habits and the topics that interest you.  Just go for the most general headings possible to encompass major identifying traits of the blogs/bloggers you read. 

3.  Now take your blogroll/favorites list and place each site under all the headings that apply.  Obviously there will be some sites that fall under more than one heading... that's perfectly OK.

4.  OK, here's where the math comes in (and feel free to round off to the nearest whole number): Count up the number of blogs under each heading and figure out what percentage of your total blogroll/favorites list each heading represents.  The goal is not to have all your percentages add up to 100% since many of your blogs will be listed under more than one category. 

The point of this little exercise is to reveal neat stuff about your reading habits and assign numerical weight to reading decisions you unconsciously make. 

When I did this last year I came to the realization that I had a strangely high proportion of gay writers on my blogroll (strange, at least, for an Israeli orthodox Jew).  Since my blogroll evolves so glacially, I was completely unaware of that particular trend until I had crunched my blogroll.

So here's what I found out this time around about the people I'm currently reading:

Jewish (content): 59%
Non-Jewish (content): 41%
Gay: 9%
Straight: 91%
Male: 40%
Female: 60%
Political: 25%
Non-political: 75%
Americans/Canadians: 68%
Europeans: 7%
Israelis: 12%

This little game isn't meant to change your surfing habits.  Let's face it, we like what we like.  It's simply an opportunity to examine some patterns in our surfing routine that may be completely off our radar. 

Feel free to try this out at home kids.  The results may surprise you.


Posted by David Bogner on February 27, 2006 | Permalink


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I think your profession may have something to do with your willingness (or ability) to "crunch" your blogroll. Not all of us are so eager to do this sort of math, you know...

Posted by: tnspr569 | Feb 27, 2006 1:41:18 PM

what i have found is that i am attracted to writing and the universal personal experience. the blogs that interest me the most are the ones that communicate beyond borders of things that relate to me, regardless of geography, ethnicity or orientation. those who have a broad worldview probably tend to have a more diverse blogroll, i think...

Posted by: no milk | Feb 27, 2006 3:11:14 PM

Wow - you really do learn some things. I was surprised to see that I read a lot more male bloggers than female ones.

Posted by: westbankmama | Feb 27, 2006 4:59:28 PM

A technical question: how do you make sure the blogger is a) gay/hetero and b) male/female, not to speak about some other less significant parameters.

An re your going cold turkey on politics - how about the latest Khaled Mashaal's speech?

Posted by: SnoopyTheGoon | Feb 27, 2006 5:26:06 PM

Who's got the time to do THIS ?

It would cut into my blog reading. I did it in my head. The only new thing I found out is that I do have a Canadian blogger in there but only because he doesn't talk about Canada much.

Posted by: Scott | Feb 27, 2006 6:59:33 PM

I started to do this a few months ago for my bloglines account, but it got very tedious after awhile. I have hundreds of subscriptions there. Heck, over 150 are jblogs!

Posted by: Ger Tzadik | Feb 27, 2006 7:11:30 PM

or: another great excuse to shrink, errr, spring-cleanse my blogroll. (damn, it's short now.)

Posted by: a. | Feb 27, 2006 7:43:56 PM

Oy, Trepp, you lost me at "Count up the total number of sites on your blogroll"!

Posted by: Randi(cruisin-mom) | Feb 27, 2006 7:45:36 PM

Oooh, a nice story problem to start off the week!

Your demographics were so interesting. I would have guessed your Jewish blogs would be a higher %. And I was surprised to calcuate that my own Jewish blog number is 80%.


Posted by: Stacey | Feb 27, 2006 7:53:04 PM

Oy vey, that's MATH! : D

Posted by: Irina | Feb 27, 2006 8:05:06 PM

tnspr569... Um, so you're saying that my job in marketing makes me predisposed to showing off math skills? Interesting theory.

No Milk... Many people who are very much like me get offended that I haven't blogrolled them. I try to explain to them that I may read them occasionally... but I feel like I learn so much more from people with different life experiences and points of view.

westbankmama... See that... progress on the very first try! :-)

Snoopy... It's not for me to make sure of anything. If someone has identified themselves as gay I take them at their word. As to the Jewish/non-Jewish thing, I went by blog content... not 'who is a Jew'. Ans to your last statement/question: lalalalalalala I can't hear you! :-)

Scott... To spend 10 minutes once or twice a year isn't a lot to ask if it helps me find out where my interests are drifting.

Ger Tzadik... Are trying to tell me you actually read all those blogs on a regular basis?

a. ... I usually 'prune' my list at the same time that I add so it ends up a zero-sum arrangement.

Randi... C'mon, if a functional innumerate like yours truly can do it... so can you!

Stacey... Like I said, the point of the exercise is to surprise yourself.

Irina... Now, now... deep breaths... just sit down 'til it passes. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 27, 2006 9:28:25 PM

wait...you mean you're not an accountant? seriously, I thought you were...oops. oh well.

Posted by: tnspr569 | Feb 27, 2006 9:39:35 PM

tnspr569... An accountant?! I've been called a lot of things in my life, but that really hurt!

Posted by: treppenwitz | Feb 27, 2006 9:45:23 PM

Drifting. Yeah. ;^)

Posted by: Scott | Feb 27, 2006 10:25:21 PM

And another thing: You could have no idea how long it would take me to remember which excell function would give me the individual percentages across the bottom line. Gives me a headache just contemplating it.

Posted by: Scott | Feb 27, 2006 10:29:23 PM

Folks, I interupt my comment-exile to inform you that Hot Fun is showing Animal House tonight at midnight.

That will be all.

Posted by: President, Kippot Srugot for Kadima | Feb 27, 2006 10:30:54 PM

If I heard a literal crunch is that a bad thing.

Posted by: Jack | Feb 28, 2006 1:56:36 AM

what's so insulting about being called an accountant? and didn't i just say you rocked in an earlier comment session? doesn't that mean anything to you? come on, mr. b...heh...things are still cool between us, right? wait, don't tell me you're one of those people who can't bear to drive a minivan because of pride/image issues...then again, in Israel, people don't typically drive those huge suvs instead of minivans or wagons, as in the us...

Posted by: tnspr569 | Feb 28, 2006 2:55:23 AM

Trep: I do indeed. Mind you, not everyonw writes multiple times a day, or even every day...but still, I probably plow through a hundred real posts (and news articles) a day. Bloglines is fantastic. I could never do it if I had click around. If I had more time, I'd crunch it. (As you can guess, I spend a fair ammt of time just reading!)

Posted by: Ger Tzadik | Feb 28, 2006 7:52:09 AM

Scott... No, smarty pants... I know what you are implying and the answer is no. :-)

Jack... I'd have that looked at.

tnspr569... You're just chock full of good information, aren't you? Israelis don't drive big SUVs? And where, pray tell, did you hear this fairy tale? :-)

Ger Tzadik... Wow! I can barely get through my 48, and then only because most of them don't update daily.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Mar 1, 2006 9:25:03 AM

Yeah, you totally lost me there with your last comment. Once again, there's me not getting the sarcasm. And yeah, when your classmates drive SUVs (sometimes huge ones), you tend to have a bit of a different perspective...

Posted by: tnspr569 | Mar 3, 2006 12:08:50 AM

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