Here’s a variation on that “they all look alike” phenomenon that seems to afflict the vision of many who look towards the inscrutable East: Linkology – How the Most-Linked-To Blogs Relate.

In connection with a “Blog Establishment” cover feature piece, New York Magazine has assembled a list of the 50 most linked-to blogs and mapped their connections in one of those pretty graphics (pdf here). What’s interesting are the number of Asian sites listed in among the 50, sites the magazine has to admit “donít have any links from the others shown here,” which takes more than a slight bite out of their “blog establishment” angle.

Particularly interesting to me was this: out of nine blogs listed as “Japanese”, only three of them are in fact Japanese; the other six are actually Chinese. (There are a further six “Chinese” or “in Chinese” blogs listed — all correctly so). Of course this is just sloppiness on the magazine’s part, but it makes you wonder how much the magazine cares about these “Asian” blogs (a full 17 out of the 50 listed).

No doubt because they never bothered to find anyone who could read or understand them, most of these blogs are simply tagged “in Japanese” or “in Chinese.” But perhaps more troubling, there’s no acknowledgement of their place vis-a-vis this so-called “blog establishment.” In the magazine’s cover story, there isn’t a single mention of these or any Asian bloggers, perpetuating their own “A-list” bias as it were (“A” in this case most definitely not standing for Asia). They can crash the Top 50 party based on their Technorati data, but the A-list (or B- and C-listers for that matter) won’t even acknowlege their existence.

It could also be that many of the “foreign” blogs in this Top 50 (12 altogether) are hosted on MSN’s My Space blogging platform, which the article refers to, not surprisingly, as a “rather lame network of blog sites.” Granted these “community” sites tend to link and comment with each other, thereby pushing up their “linked to” status, but shouldn’t this phenomenon be part of the story, rather than relegated to the asterisked margins of lameness?


One Response to Asian bloggers all look the same, apparently

  1. Wow! What a bunch of cow patties. (Not you, of course…the original article). There isn’t a huge relationship among the sites; only the top 5 are heavily linked from others in the top 50. Gizmodo, Dooce, Kottke, and Fark don’t show any shared linkage–and they’re not Japanese, Chinese, or European. That excuse seems very thin to me too.

    They’ve left me with the impression that they had a great headline that the data didn’t support; since they had already pitched it, they wrote around the data.

    That they can’t even be bothered to fact-check whether a site is in Japanese or Chinese before going to print makes them look really stupid. That they didn’t do any research to discover why the foreign-language sites were so popular so that they could report back to us makes them look worthless and lazy.

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