Boing Boing Analysis - Part 8

By: Jeff Clark    Date: Tue, 08 Aug 2006

One of the more interesting measurable quantities for a weblog post is the number of inbound links. I have gathered some data regarding the number of incoming links to the posts on Boing Boing for 2005 - thanks Technorati! The incoming links were counted in early August 2006. What does this information show ?

This Radial Treemap shows the topic hierarchy coloured by the average number of incoming links/post. Dark green segments have at least 1 incoming link/post and the dark red have less than 1/2 incoming link/post. On average, it is clear that for 2005 at least, posts on Technology, Society, and Science tend to have more incoming links than Economy, Recreation, or those posts that were unclassifiable by my categorizer (labeled None). Most of the high-level topics do show considerable variation within their subtopics. For example, Music is quite high but Arts in general are just medium.

The bar chart below shows that Cory and Xeni had more posts but that those from Xeni and Mark had more incoming links on average.

Was there variation over the course of 2005 ? Yes ! Note the strong green for December for every author.

What is going on here ? Have a look at a simple time series of incoming links for the year. Note that the date used is when the post was published - not when the link was made to it. This clearly shows that something unusual happened at the end of 2005.

Here are a few theories:

  1. There was a major internal change in the tools I'm using to measure the incoming links. Did Technorati suddenly start including more weblogs at the end of 2005 ? Perhaps non-English weblogs ?
  2. Were there some exceptionally popular/contreversial posts on Boing Boing in this time frame ?
  3. Is this a spike or the start of a trend ? I have gathered data for January 2006 which suggests strongly that it is the start of a new trend.
  4. Is the data just plain incorrect - perhaps I gathered it incorrectly or the source is in error ?
  5. Maybe there was a real change in the blogosphere over that period - maybe the rise of spam blogs ?
Perhaps I will investigate this further but I would be happy to hear from anyone who can support or discredit these possibilities !

Related Links:

Boing Boing Analysis - Part 1 (Posts Over Time by Author)
Boing Boing Analysis - Part 2 (Posts Breakdown over Day of Week)
Boing Boing Analysis - Part 3 (Images/Post over time by Author)
Boing Boing Analysis - Part 4 (Outbound Links/Post and Acronym use by Author)
Boing Boing Analysis - Part 5 (Topic Hierarchy)
Boing Boing Analysis - Part 6 (Topic Emphasis by Author)
Boing Boing Analysis - Part 7 (Images/Post for Topics and Topic Share over Time)
Boing Boing Analysis - Part 8 (Incoming Links)


Boing Boing Analysis - Part 7
The Shape of Song