Celebrity in social networks: how can we avoid the power law distribution?

March 1, 2006 | Leave a comment

In any information ecosystem, there is an observable tendency for a few sources on a topic – be they journals, websites or people – to have a massive following, a significantly smaller number to have a medium number of followers, and then a final, largest group to have a much smaller number of regular readers. This can be witnessed in the Technorati Top 100: the top 100 blogs range from around 80,900 unique links to 4,900 (quite a decrease), yet Technorati track 26.6 million sites. If the downward link trend continues across all 26.6 million, most weblogs have at most one a handful of links – and therefore a correspondingly small number of readers. I’ve been wondering for a while how best to verbalise this.

Following this article in New York Magazine – an interesting read in itself about the new breed of commercial blog media, and how the only really profitable commercial blogs are the first to cover a topic – I came across Clay Shirky’s 2003 article about Power Laws, Weblogs and Inequality.

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