I am increasingly interested in network science and the possible legal implications of power laws, symmetry-breaking and other network phenomena. One area where the application of scale-free topologies can be experimented and measured is online through the complex mesh of blogs.
There have now been several studies on the replication of information throughout the blogosphere. Perhaps one of the less surprising results is that blogs display a power law, where a very small number of blogs make up the head of the blogosphere, while the rest of us inhabit the tail, a relationship that follows an increasing power distribution. Another study from HP Labs charts the flow of information through blogs as if it were a virus, and following the rate and nature of the infection. Interestingly, this analysis has determined that bloggers are largely plagiarists, and that big blogs recycle news (and entire paragraphs) from smaller and less-read sources. Damn you BoingBoing!
What does this all mean for the internet? One could argue that those of us who inhabit the long tail of small readership and occasional links (comparatively that is) should not even bother. As somebody once said, the vast number of blogs online means that the blogosphere is full of people shouting at walls. However, others believe that diversity is good, and that even if something is not clicked often, it does not mean that it is entirely futile, as the richness of the internet relies on the wealth of information and opinions out there.
Nevertheless, we live in a Technorati-oriented environment. Give me more links. Muahahahaha! (I need to work on that evil laugh).