Researcher: a PR-spin in the blogosphere tells the rather odd story of recent ongoings in the Swedish blogosphere, which is still small enough to serve as a medicine ball in PE.
The story begins when the national tabloid Aftonbladet publishes an article about "the biggest blog in Sweden", which is supposedly their own journalists stop-smoking blog, according to numbers dug up by the bloghost he is using, BlogSoft. Clearly, independent objective parties haven't even touched that article and it fails to explains whether blogs that aren't using BlogSofts solutions were even counted at all. You with me so far? Blogsoft says, to Aftonbladet, that the biggest blog is the Aftonbladets journalists, who hosts his blog at BlogSoft. Aftonbladet publishes it, congratulates their own journalist and mentioning his blogging software company Blogsoft repeatedly. (more inside)
This article raises more than one brow in the Swedish blogosphere and soon postings that question the validity of this obvious PR-kissass-release regurgitated as "news" crop up at many many blogs, like at Klocklös i tiden, MyMarkup and Månhus Beta to name a few.
This is where the strange thing happens, after many people throwing their two cents in, wondering how these numbers have been collected, asking if only BlogSoft hosted blogs were counted, wondering if the paper is insane and so on, the "Blog-responsible" person of the newspaper responds (!). When Malin Hendriksen 'returns from vacation' and spots the blogchatter she joins in the comments of each blog that has posted their misgivings on the article.
In the comments of the above mentioned blogs she actually apologises for the "wretched and unnecessary brag-article" and tries to explain the numbers Blogsoft has gathered - but not how they gathered them or from where. Who's blogs were counted? Clearly not everybody's. As Researcher points out in his summation of this storm in a blog-PR-coup, sorry, cup, that it's "a pity" there is no retraction in the newspaper. It would even be odd if it were a decent newspaper but Aftonbladet is not the New York Times and corrections and retractions shine in their absence from that tabloid.
And there still isn't a clear explanation of which blogs are counted. All blogs written by Swedes? All blogs physically hosted in Sweden? All blogs on Blogsoft hosting? The latter would be equal to counting only LiveJournal blogs as blogs in some planet wide brag article about the worlds biggest blog.
If Aftonbladet wants to keep their blog-banner-know-how reputation that they somehow miraculously managed to gain high, they should not only print a retraction, they might also consider trying to get some real data on Sweden's blogs today. As a National tabloid newspaper they have the resources and can get all Swedish bloggers attention to participate. The only real research to date has been done by bloggers - who else? - such as Swedish PR&Media Blogger Media Culpa, who's pretty graphs shows us that 43% of Swedish bloggers have their own domains, and only a puny 9% of Swedish bloggers host with Blogsoft. While another count done by Christian Davén puts BlogSoft at only 2% of Swedish blogs. Laughable journalism indeed.
Mats from Klocklös i tiden sums up his thoughts after Malins comments nicely: "I wonder how many more "brag articles" have been published by Expressen and Aftonbladet etc, which have gone unnoticed as nobody has bothered to attract attention to it or cared."
I agree with that. Since some journalists seem terrified that bloggers somehow will take over and put them out of work, may I advise, don't make it so fucking easy for bloggers to be more trustworthy than the paper where you work.