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The unlinked EU blogosphere

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Soon, a blog post of mine titled “On The State of EU Blogging” [link updated] will be published on the new LSE EUROPP blog. One of the claims I make there – without actually proving it – is that EU blogs “mostly coexist without too much interaction (in the form of links and comments)“.

I will show this empirically with the last 50 blog posts (as of 8 March) we have highlighted for the Editors’ Choice on Bloggingportal.eu (most links available on @bloggingportal2). It is just a sample, but in this sample only 20% of posts link to other blogs.

Blog posts without a link to any other blog or blog post:

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-five, thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine, fourty

Blog posts with one link to another blog or blog post:

One, two, three, four, five, six

Blog posts with more than one link to other blogs or blog posts:

One, twothree, four

You might say that this just reflects our choice of articles on Bloggingportal.eu, but I feel that this pretty much represents the way most EU blogs are written.

There are many good articles, great analyses, thoughtful pieces, but there is very limited interest in fostering debates among each other in the Euroblogosphere. Even though many write about similar or the same topics, they do not refer to each other. Instead, most bloggers opt for debates with abstract entities (the EU Parliament, a DG of the European Commission etc.) instead of other bloggers with who they could enter into real interaction.

Finally, it is probably revealing that among the three most commented articles of all those linked above are this one by the EU-sceptic former MEP Daniel Hannan on the platform of a British newspaper (with over 200 comments) and this one by French eurogurujournalist Jean Quatremer (about 50 comments). En passant, this also kind of proves a second claim I have made on the EUROPP blog, i.e. that “[t]he most read euroblogs are probably those written by journalists“.

Update: I call on every EU blogger who reads this to link and actively refer to at least one other blog in the next post she or he writes. Let’s get a little social in the eurosphere!



20 Responses to The unlinked EU blogosphere

  1. avatar Craig Willy says:

    Hi Ronny,

    Good post. Quatremer and Hannan are both incredibly read, I think, in part because they effectively speak to a national audience. The typical Euro-blogger usually writes in English but not specifically for the British or Americans. So his or her audience then becomes rather limited.

    I’m not sure I agree my post you highlighted was particularly “unconnected”. I mean, regular news articles one links to (with their comments sections) can be just as interactive as blog posts and it is important that EU blogs interact with national blogs/media outside the bubble

    The Draghi post links to and is based on an FP piece, a previous post on same blog, a WSJ article, and an OECD blog (as well as linking to non-interactive sources). Not quite existing in a vacuum ;-)

  2. avatar Ronny Patz says:

    My point is that euroblogs quite often do not refer to discussions on other euroblogs. Linking to some newspaper article, even with a discussion section, does not create a two-way discussion like my link to your blog post right now creates here. And linking to articles on your own blog is nice, but not really a sign of an interlinked blogosphere. On a multi-author blog it at least shows that those writing there actually feel some kind of connectedness (which not all multi-author blogs have).

    What this means is that it is difficult to speak of a “euroblogosphere” in the narrow sense, because this implies some kind of level of interconnectedness. I don’t really see that in our sphere outside a narrow circle of people.

  3. avatar mathew says:

    I had 2 gut reactions to your post.

    One was that you’re right, but that it’s new, bad, and linked to the (probably) Twitter-driven decline in commenting. My most recent post is the first in ages to get a respectable number (25, incl me) comments, which used to be pretty common (the previous year’s average was 11-12). This transfer of the conversation from blogs to 140ch-limited snippets pisses me off – one can’t have an depth exchange through Twitter-chatter.

    My second reaction was “but that can’t be right” – I’ve always linked to other bloggers. This is despite the fact that I am one of the few to blog about EU social media itself, and not actual EU policy & politics (there are others who focus their blogging on EU social media, but with the exception of Cedric and I they are in the Institutions and almost never comment on external blogs. Normal when you think the Universe revolves around you, I guess).

    So anyway I just went and checked my last 4 posts:
    - In my last one I linked to blogger Olivier Blanchard, you (“… just about everything written by Ron Patz”), and, in the ensuing comments, to cedric
    - The preceding one linked to Bloggingportal’s anniversary post, and through that to 11 others, and to you,
    - the third was a rant about Sony, so doesn’t count
    - the fourth last linked to blogger Laura Shields

    I used to link to other bloggers more than that, so I guess you’re right. I think this (at least for me) has a lot to do with the drop in comments and the rise of twitter.

    Of course, given that I’m building strategy up post-by-post, the blogger I link to most is myself. Something I will self-parody in my next post! ;-)

  4. avatar Ronny Patz says:

    @Mathew I think I can observe similar things in my blogging – a reference from time to time to other blogs and often several links to myself to create a continuous story on this blog. But as I wrote: In the sample I used there were about 20% posts linking to other blogs, which – if it was a representative figure – would mean that there are always some who link more and some who do not link at all.

  5. avatar 10 COM - says:

    1. Your website runs Google Analytics – most other blogging sites probably also run an analytics tool. It becomes more interesting to see how many visitors blogs have, how long people stay on a blog. Can you search for those numbers?. Maybe there just is no audience.

    2. A lot of blogs ask people to open an account at an online platform so they can be followed everywhere. Lots of people don’t like to have their opinions tracked and used to make profiles.

  6. avatar Ronny Patz says:

    @ 10 COM

    On (1): Whether a blog links to others has not much to do with the amount of readers it gets. I can have 5 readers per day and still read other blogs that write about my topics and reference them when I post something. So I do not really understand the argument. If it was just to say that this website runs Google Analytics, I can confirm that this is the case. Not sure whether this keeps anyone from linking or commenting.

    On (2): Many of the blogs linked in the post above don’t seem to have an obligation to register for comments and those that need registration (like the newspaper platform blogs) often get more comments than other blogs. But even if not, having closed comments section is rather an argument for even more linking: If I cannot comment on another blogs, I can still put up my reaction on my own blog with a link to the other blog.

  7. avatar mathew says:

    @10comm’s comment does remind me of an old idea to quantify the size of the Bubble by trading traffic statistics. I wonder how many bloggers would reveal their stats, along the lines of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours?” ;-)

  8. Good point – maybe if Bloggingportal ever develops an “official” EU blogs ranking we should consider how often a blog links to other posts…

    Did you know that the “related blogs” list (in right-hand column) on bloggingportal takes into account the links from your blog to others? http://www.bloggingportal.eu/reader/blog/706

  9. avatar jolyonwagg1 says:

    Insightful, thoughtful and very true. Are we not all just euro bloggers, either anti or pro just all talking to each other. Thank God for twitter and tumblr to help bang the drum outside this cocoon of euro good manners. Very civilized, but who is really listening?

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  17. You are right, and I think that your conclusion may be extended to scholarly writings in general (even if with valuable exceptions, luckily). I would like to draw your attention to a new EU law blog that we started recently here at Örebro University in Sweden. The aim is to involve students in discussion about current issues and to reflect on the opinion of one another. That’s why most of the posts are actually reflections on what other authors have written. I hope that it will be a small contribution to a dialogue in the blogosphere.

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