Dennis Faas's picture

Blogosphere (alternate: BlogSphere or BloggingSphere) is the collective term encompassing all weblogs or blogs as a community or social network. Many weblogs are densely interconnected; bloggers read others' blogs, link to them, reference them in their own writing, and post comments on each others' blogs. Because of this, the interconnected blogs have grown their own culture.

The term blogosphere was coined on September 10, 1999 by Brad L. Graham, as a joke. It was re-coined in 2002 by William Quick (quite seriously) and was quickly adopted and promulgated by the warblog community. Many people still treat it as a joke; however, National Public Radio's programs Morning Edition, Day To Day, and All Things Considered have used the term several times to discuss public opinion. The term bears a similarity to a much older word: "logosphere". In the Greek roots, "logo" means word, and "sphere" can be interpreted as "world", resulting in "the world of words", the universe of discourse. The term also recalls the pronunciation and the meaning of the term "noosphere".

The notion of a blogosphere is an important concept for understanding blogs. Blogs themselves are just instances of a particular formatting choice, whereas the blogosphere is a social phenomenon. What differentiates blogs from webpages or forums is that blogs can be part of a shifting Internet-wide social network formed by two-way links between different blogs. You link to my interesting articles and I'll link to your interesting articles.

Sites such as Technorati, Blogdex, Bloglines, Blogrunner, Blog Street, BlogsNow, PubSub, and Truth Laid Bear use the links made by bloggers to track the interconnections between bloggers. Taking advantage of hypertext links which act as markers for the subjects the bloggers are discussing, these sites can follow a piece of conversation as it moves from blog to blog. These also can help information researchers like MIT Media Lab study new communication technologies.

Weblogs tend to be about a variety of subjects. The form weblogs can take ranges from a simple list of personal links to diary-style. From the beginning, many weblogs have dealt with current events and politics.

Within business circles there is a particular focus on influentials and other forms of early adopter. The challenges of using blogging as a medium for advertising have been covered by Fortune magazine and Forbes magazine. Tools have been developed to track how fast a meme spreads through the blogsphere, in order to track which sites are the most important for gaining early recognition.

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