MIT Blog Survey

Dear Raed, the Iraqi blogger made headlines, wrote a book and is now a celebrity of some sorts. All he did was blog! Blogs have exposed major scandals; they ask critical questions which the conventional media does not ask or bothers writing about.(I am sure Chomsky is pleased to see the effect that blogs are having.) Now people are writing books on blogs and on topics as specific as what it can do for your business, organization, etc. In short, a concept that did not exist 5 years ago is becoming more and more 'de-nerdified'; the rest of the world has begun to notice. So much, that a scientific study on it is being done by MIT.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

I took the survey and was very impressed with its format. It has a neat method of grabbing stuff from your blog and asking questions adaptively depending on the context. It grabs links from your main page and sidebar; a good idea since these links are more indicative of the general nature of your blog than some specific post.

Lots of really good questions:
'How long do you think you are going to continue this blog?', ' How many blogs do you update?',
and the real scorcher: 'How much time do you spend on blogging?' .

The survey revealed stuff that I don't really analyze.
'What % of the content of your posts are: personal, informative, or on a specific topic ?' I write on whatever topic I feel like, but now I will be more conscious.

I think that their survey questions on blogger location, nationality or ethnicity were not well-phrased. The way the questions were asked, I have been counted as an Asian-American blogger than as an Indian student in America. Also, the last part of the survey would redundant for any Indian, since any Indian would know all kinds of people as 'acquaintances' (by the loose definition provided). Such surveys that tap into a global audience need to be given more thought. It is quite obvious that the cultural, social assumptions were America-centric. There was a similar problem with the Harvard morality survey on which I wrote about here. However, I felt that the creators of this survey would be more prepared for global nature of blogging and the differences in countries and cultures. Answers to these questions should have changed the nature of the subsequent questions.
Also, it did not directly ask if blogging has really changed your life in some ways apart from the time spent on it! Like:
Has it changed your outlook?
Have you changed/reinforced your opinions on certain issues after reading about what someone wrote?
Have you learned something informative as a result of your blogging?

I learn a lot about myself and about things that I blog about because I have to think, research, think and then write about stuff. I felt that the survey overly emphasized how we meet different people and what means we choose to do it - SMS, email, blogs. That, is just an epiphenomenon - meeting different ideas and thoughts is what blogging is really about. Blogging has created these micro-communities that orders the vastness of the internet into some sort of shape that makes sense; or, maybe not since it gives 100 more interesting/distracting links to follow!

3 comments:

Ajay said...

One of the interesting things is that I realized that there are people I've met only online( you for instance) or people I haven't met for years now (Ramanand, Harish), and this kind of survey will give a good indication of new synapses being fired across the online world - like-minded people meeting on the web. There's a social phenomenon happening here, I'm sure.

Ashutosh said...

For me, the best thing about blogging was to (re)meet people (such as you!) who I 'ideally' would have loved to meet much earlier (and should have met earlier, thereby adding a flicker of sanity to my otherwise tortuous existence in those days...), but because of complicated and mundane reasons could not, inspite of being in the same city...I call it the 'redemption of acquaintance'!

Hirak said...

Ajay:
It's great to meet like-minded people and I wished the survey tried to capture that more actively

Ashutosh:
Yes, thanks to blogging that we met again. Given that I did not meet you more than 2-3 times in Pune for the 21 years we both lived there. Even if we had bumped into each other in this 'small world' it would be unlikely that a short meeting would have revealed that we had many similar ideas.