Post details: A Woman's Place is in the Blogosphere

A Woman's Place is in the Blogosphere

Posted by Andrew on August 1st, 2006

More on yesterday's post, from Sunday's Argus (Calif.) Daily Review: another take on the unfair distribution of the blogosphere:

The developers of blogging software, mostly men, didn't make it easy for newcomers to break into the tightknit network of popular bloggers at first. "They built the technology for themselves and linked to each other," [ co-founder Jory] des Jardins said.

If the upper echelon of the blogosphere has a measuring stick, it's the Technorati Top 100. The San Francisco-based blog search engine tracks the number of incoming links to a blog and ranks it accordingly. The BlogHer site itself has been linked to by 1,856 different blogs, placing it at 301 in the rankings.

Currently, the Top 100 includes only 12 blogs with a woman as the primary author. BlogHer panelist Arianna Huffington's site, which posts entries on political topics written by dozens of bloggers, ranks eighth, while conservative commentator Michelle Malkin comes in 13th.

Men occupy about two-thirds of the Top 100.

But if the blogosphere is supposed to be a meritocracy, where the most interesting people gain influence and popularity on their way to the top, then why has it been especially difficult for women to get their fair share of attention?

"I think a lot of the people who got in early are traditional early adopters — white men interested in technology," said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist for the Pew Internet & American Life Project.


Interestingly, all of the above observations are consistent with Clay Shirky's points about the freedom of bloggers to publish and link, but lead to a different conclusion as to the blogosphere's fairness. It seems likely that Shirky and des Jardins would take very different views as to whether the prevalence of white males among early blog adopters (and the bloggers they linked to) is in part a reflection of social injustice in the offline world.

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