confused.pngJuly 29th UPDATE at the bottom.

Not too long ago, I wrote post about memes. Somebody had “tagged” me, and I wondered what that was all about (here). So I looked at their instructions. Oh, just a new-fangled chain-letter, but they are calling it a meme. What is a meme? So I looked up the term meme.

As usual, one idea keeps leading to another.

Why We Blog

Each blogger blogs for his or her own reasons. Some of us are lost in our own little worlds. We write for the satisfaction of expressing our thoughts with some degree of clarity. Others of us want to be read, to have recognition. Still others have a cause.

Since a diary would suffice to put our thoughts down on “paper”, I suspect most bloggers, particularly political bloggers, want to be read. I know I do. So I make a modest effort to see which posts are being read. One way I do that is by checking the ratings on (BNN).

BNN Ratings

Unfortunately, the more I check BNN’s blog ratings, the more mystified I have become. What am I suppose to make of BNN’s ratings? That is, if I want to be read, how can I tell what am I doing wrong?

BNN compartmentalizes its ratings into various categories:

  • Hot Comments
  • Most linked
  • Most clicked
  • Most active
  • Highest rated
  • Highest influence

How BNN rates blogs in the first four categories is self-evident, but how BNN rates blogs in the other categories is not. In fact, I believe BNN keeps its scoring procedures secret. Thus when I found my blog at near the top of the list for Highest rated blogs, I did not know what to make of it — based on what? How can I have one of the Highest rated blogs and still not be in the list of the top twenty with the Highest influence?

The Quality of an Idea

What are political blogs about? Current events and ideas? Do we discuss current events and evaluate these events with respect to the principles we live by? Are we concerned about the moral underpinnings of our society — our religious beliefs? I like to think so.

That is why, when the topic of memes came up, I found myself curious. What is a meme? Does the concept of ideas spreading as a disease have any validity? Perhaps.

Ideas can acquired as entertainment or they can understood only after a considerable amount of work. Entertainment and gossip spreads easily — like a virus. The more complex and difficult ideas found in science, mathematics, and theology can only be conquered with laborious effort. Except perhaps for a passion for learning, most valuable knowledge is not acquired by contact. Instead, the recipient must make a conscious and deliberate decision. To understand the most valuable ideas, we must make a sustained and dedicated effort.

What kind of knowledge does my blog impart? Is it viral entertainment and gossip or the type that requires work. Is this blog occasionally one of the “Highest rated” because someone thinks well of the content? I suppose so, but I guess it also gives them a headache when they read it, and that is why I have don’t have a High influence rating. 😦

Nonetheless, there is a positive side. Because Citizen Tom is amongst the Highest rated blogs and nobody reads it, that should qualify it for a government subsidy — kind of like PBS.

Request for BNN

When I last checked, only one of the top five Highest rated blogs was in the list of the top twenty with the Highest influence. It was number 20. Would you all please explain how this works?

UPDATE: Apparently because I criticized their blog ratings, BNN has decided to undermine Citizen Tom’s credibility. Several of the top five Highest rated blogs, including Citizen Tom, TwoConservatives, and From On High, are now listed in the ranks of those blogs with the Highest Influence. Nonetheless, the Highest rated blog, former Governor Jim Gilmore’s Virginia Patriot, still has no influence. 😉


  1. What a riot! I just got bumped from the top of “Highest rated” by former Governor Jim Gilmore (Virginia Patriot), but he doesn’t have any influence either.

    Thanks for the comment David. I hope you realize this is tongue-in-cheek. People love rating systems, but they can produce the funniest results.


  2. Charles is basically right. The rating is just the average of those 1-10 votes. Ranking is a compilation of a lot of stuff. I am working on new FAQs and stuff as part of the redesign that will make things more clear I hope.


  3. Just think, Charles, when Greg banned you from BVBL, his influence rating went down. LOL.

    BNN does have a fair idea how many page hits you get. They can get that from the “Most clicked”, that is, when you jump to a blog post from their site.


  4. Influence is of course proprietary, but seems to include the concept of other people linking your blog entries, and how many comments you get. If people are talking about what you are writing about, you have influence.

    Ratings are based on what people give you as a number when the read what you write.

    So i f people read something you wrote, and they love it, and it changes their life, and they can’t think of a SINGLE word to add to what you have said, and they don’t have a blog, you could get a 10 rating, and get ZERO influence, because they don’t comment and they won’t link you.

    A lot of the highly influential also have really low ratings. My guess is I’ve personally driven up some really bad blog influence because I link to them to explain how bad what they said is. Apparently you are influential if you write stuff that is so wrong that it drives other bloggers to link to your terrible writing just so they can correct it.

    I don’t know if number of page hits counts, because I don’t know how bnn would know that, but maybe they subscribe to some service.

    Oh well. I really don’t care about my own influence, although I do have a counter, which suggests I’m at least vaguely interested in how many people visit my blog (my counter is a really bad one though).


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