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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Self-Metrics and Blog Metrics Using Google Reader

If you're still reading blogs the old fashioned way, by separately accessing your "favorites" on a regular or irregular basis, you sure are missing out!  The days when you had to understand what an RSS feed was in order to subscribe to blogs are done thanks to user-friendly applications like Google Reader.  You can sign up to receive headlines using Reader (from the "more" tab at the Google home page), and each of the many blogs you may want to casually follow appears in a "gmail"-like inbox when you log into Google.  You see the various headlines for the blogs in your in box, and can click on a post to read the first few lines and decide if it's worth the time.  If it is, you can open the blog itself with little difficulty.   For another call to join the Reader bandwagon, see this post at the Conglomerate; for a skeptic's view, consider Michael Risch's post from this blog.

One of the more amusing aspects of Reader is the "Trends" feature, which you can use to obtain sometimes revealing information about your own readership habits.  Your trend statistics can help capture information about which blogs you find most helpful -- by revealing the percentage of posts on particular blogs you access.  Although they aren't updated as regularly as some other "law blogs," both Leiter's Law School Reports and Moneylaw, for instance are at the top of my list in terms of percentage of posts read (29% and 27% respectively).  By contrast, although I've read more posts on the gossip site above-the-law than any other blog, I've read just 8% of that site's total posts.

One obvious impact of increasing readership of blogs through feed aggregators is that the traditional measures of blog influence (page views and visits) may no longer pack the same punch.  I've been trying to find an easy way to generate a ranking of blogs by Google Reader subscriptions, but so far have had no luck. It seems the way to do this is to "add" a subscription in one's account, which reveals the information about how many subscribers there are to a particular blog.  For instance, of the blogs in my subscriptions, the subscriber numbers reveal the following information:

Above the law (9,277 subscribers)

WSJ Law Blog (7,280 subscribers)

Volokh Conspiracy (3,012 subscribers)

Prawfs (725 subscribers)

Concurring Opinions (722 subscribers)

Tax Prof (647 subscribers)

Leiter Law School Reports (481 subscribers)

The Conglomerate (480 subscribers)

Is there a faster, or better way to generate such information?

Posted by Geoffrey Rapp on December 16, 2008 at 01:46 PM | Permalink


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