Home » Archive » Blog pulse: flatline

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

I was just playing around at BlogPulse. They’ve got a nifty tool for querying the frequency of blogging topics. Now I’m not sure how many sites they scan, but still, the idea is cool even if it’s not statistically valid.

I’ve been reading/blogging a lot lately on the relationship between major societal challenges (education, terrorism, global warming, etc.) and the potential for innovation, insight, and creativity to address them.

I thought it would be interesting to query BlogPulse for key societal issues, some of the potential solutions we’ve already identified (biotechnology, alternative fuels, recycling, etc.), and then my favorite three words – innovation, insight, and creativity. The results were unexpected.

Again, I’m not sure how many sites are searched by BlogPulse, but it looks like bloggers aren’t too worried about these issues, at least not the representative ones I chose. About one percent wrote on education recently. One percent! Around half a percent discussed terrorism. And basically no one is talking global warming.

The big surprise for me was the dearth of thinking on innovation, insight and creativity. I expected high numbers here, what with all the raves about the promise of blogs.

Given the absence of discussion of mechanisms to solve these issues, it wasn’t too surprising to see close to zero conversation on the previously identified solutions.

Want to know what the top phrase was? “Today is December 1st.” Good grief. Even a day late! The first big issue, health care, slouches in at 27th place.

Well I might talk more about this later. For now though I’m sort of excited; there’s no one on the field I want to play in. Maybe I’ll get to make up the rules.


Jon Husband, who is no slouch in these areas, put me onto your excellent site. I wonder if at their heart blogs are mainly driving small communities of like minded friends who as much as anything gossip. While many that I enjoy visisting do indeed talk about issues such as health education and trhe environment, I can’t do this all the time and there are a few sites that I go to first, to have fun on.

There may even be a serious part to the fun – Robin Dunbar’s theory about the development of human language roots it in gossip as a form of grooming. Might blogs be in effect “grooming” over time and space?

Robert, thanks for this.

I didn’t expect to find people blogging constantly on these issues. I was surprised to find less than one percent of all blogs discussing these issues over nearly three months time.

Your comments on gossip and grooming are interesting. I agree that this blog is mostly gossip in the word’s most liberal sense. A lot of chatter. And I am always pleased to discover others that share my enthusiasm for gossiping on these issues.

I’d like to ponder some more your ideas (or Robin Dunbar’s) on grooming.

By the way: Breezed by your blog. Noted you’re in environmental consulting. I’m an environmental economist. Even better, I’ve got a good friend (also an environmental economist) that is close to retiring and very interested in doing consulting when done. He’s a work-horse in his field. If you ever need that kind of help, drop me a note, I could hook you two together.

Thanks again for your note.