There are hundreds(?) of journals over on use.perl, but if you google for Perl blogs you won’t find any of them easily. In fact, you won’t find much of anything at all. Meanwhile, googling for Ruby blogs will give you an entirely different picture.
It’s things like this that lead people to claim that Perl is dead, when the converse is manifestly true. Thing is, a lot of the conversations about Perl are happening in walled — or at least lightly fenced — gardens that are not very visible to the rest of the web.
So, let’s fix that.
Telling Technorati about your journal
Schwern discovered that Technorati — one of the biggest and best-known blog search engines — doesn’t index use.perl journals by default. If you want it to know about yours, you have to register.
1. Sign up for an account on Technorati
2. “Claim blog”, and give them your use.perl journal URL, eg. http://use.perl.org/~skud/journal
3. Post the provided link
in your use.perl journal in your user profile — the link doesn’t need to be in a post, just somewhere on your journal page, and this will prevent it spamming readers.
4. Click the button back on Technorati to let them know you’ve done it.
You’ll now see that your journal exists in Technorati. It might even have some “reactions” logged already — more on that later. One downside: the title will be something like “Journal of Skud (28)” and there’s nothing you can do about that; it takes the title from the journal itself, and use.perl doesn’t let you change it.
Technorati gives each journal an “authority” score and a “rank”.
**Authority** is based on how many unique blogs have linked to yours in the last 6 months, as a simple integer. Sometimes this is described as “42 reactions to this blog” on the Technorati site. If you click on the green authority link, you’ll see a list of reactions to your blog. It can be interesting to explore them and see who’s been linking to you.
Of course, Technorati doesn’t know about reactions unless it’s also tracking the blogs that are reacting to you. Since use.perl journals tend to interlink a lot, this is one reason why it’s a good idea for as many use.perl people as possible to get onto Technorati: it’ll cause the links to be noticed, and gain greater “authority” for Perl journals.
**Technorati Rank** is basically an ordinal number derived from authority. If you line up all the blogs in order of authority, the first on the list has a Technorati Rank of 1, and so on. This blog, Infotropism, currently has a Technorati authority of 44 and a rank of 137,515.
A case study
For interest’s sake, let’s take a look at Schwern’s use.perl journal. Right now, it appears to have a rank of
If we click through to the authority page, via “Authority: 2″, we actually see more reactions than that:
14 reactions. Why the discrepancy? Well, Technorati sometimes takes a while to update the authority score, and those extra 12 posts are most likely ones that Technorati learnt about just because Schwern, and other use.perl journalists, started using Technorati.
Why do we care?
Meh, Technorati, so what? Many would contend that the entire “blogosphere” is a self-absorbed wankfest, and that obsessing over Technorati rank is one of the worst symptoms of the problem. And they may well be right.
The thing is, Technorati rank both reflects and causes higher visibility for a blog. More visibility means more Google juice. And more Google juice means — hopefully — that when people search for “Perl blogs” they might actually find some. I think this is a thing worth attempting.
What else can we do?
The mainstream blogging platforms — WordPress, Movable Type, Blogger, etc — have features which help contribute to blog visibility on Technorati, Google, etc. These include:
* Pings — When you post to your blog, it automatically pings Technorati and other services to let them know your blog’s updated, thus triggering a re-indexing
* Trackbacks — When someone else links to one of your posts, they ping your blog to let you know. This helps you follow conversations across multiple sites, and provides some two-way linkage to help out the search engines.
* Blogrolls — a list of your favourite blogs, or related blogs, in a sidebar; Technorati counts blogroll links towards Authority
* Tags — tagging your posts makes them easier to find in Technorati’s search engine. For instance see posts tagged with perl.
If we could get some of these going on use.perl — which uses slashcode — then we’d really be in business. That’s a whole project in itself, but it’s worth considering.