The Chaos and Complex Systems Colloquium speaker today was Prof. Ann Althouse speaking on blogging. She seems the same in person as she writes herself in her blog. No doubt there's a paper waiting to be written about linking and self-organization in the blogosphere--I wonder if it will be published online first?
Most of her talk was driven by questions from the audience, and so covered such things as what seems to motivate bloggers, how politically oriented they can be, whether there is the risk of self-absorption, and the echo-chamber effect you sometimes find. I thought it telling that one of the audience held up Hewitt's book Blog and described him as "the enemy." How do you get yourself noticed? How do you know how many people read you? Are bloggers influential? (Write good material and let a big name know about one of the best articles; use sitemeter; and yes, sometimes: think of the success of candidate Dean's blog, and the fall of Dan Rather and Eason Jordan, of Trent Lott's remarks, etc.) I think you'll get a better feel for the talk by reading her blog than you will by any summary of mine.