In an effort to grossly oversimplify the blogosphere, I’ve come up with an analogy. Blog posts that point to other blogs are toothpicks. Posts that point out of the blogosphere (to non-syndicated news articles or other websites) or that are originally authored are gumdrops.
With this post, Blobservations has hit a toothpick:gumdrop ratio of 11:6. This is close to my 2:1 target. Scoble seems to run about 1:1 most days, whereas one of my other favorite bloggers, Josh Legard, is running at 3:2 for the posts that are currently on his front page.
What’s the point? Gumdrops are the gooey goodness of the blogosphere. They are what we actually care about. If I had time to read every news article and original blog post on the internet, then I would acquire all of the information that I need (and then some!) But I don’t have time, and that’s where the toothpicks come in. Toothpicks are the glue, they give shape to the blogosphere, and they’re effectively an organic search that we use to find the information that we desire. Some of the blogs on my blogroll are there because they provide good quality toothpicks. They lower the signal-to-noise ratio and allow me to find what I need. Others are there because they produce lots of gooey gumdrops. I would consider most RSS syndicated news sites to be 100% gumdrop sites. Many of the bloggers in the “MS Bloggers” category on my blogroll are heavily biased towards gumdrops as well. The Moon Gals almost always post gumdrops.
What does it all mean? Blogs are useful because they allow us to find relevant information.. Your toothpick:gumdrop ratio describes how you contribute. Gumdrops add to the content available on the blogosphere. Toothpicks contribute to the organization of the blogosphere. Both contribute to the usefulness of blogs.