Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


A few Typographies of Bloggers

First, a very brief bit of terminology: A typography is a way to organize things, much like a taxonomy. Each item within a typography has clearly distinguishing characteristics, but there’s no hierarchy such as animal, vertebres, mammals, hominids, humans. To be honest, I’m not sure if this is a typography or just some categories. But “A few categories…” would be far less fun as a headline.

At BlogNashville, Rebecca McKinnon discussed the concept of “bridge bloggers,” those bloggers who make an effort to blog about their country in a way that an outsider or foreigner can understand. Its a great concept, but I’m having trouble finding a good link. Anyone? So much of what so many bloggers say is “inside baseball,” things that are hard for folks outside the club to understand (or even understand why you might bother to say them). This doesn’t just happen across national boundaries, it also takes place across organizational or professional lines. Milbloggers and peace bloggers often seem to be on different planets. No one takes the time to explain their orientation.

There are a few information security bridge bloggers: Steven Hofmeyer nthWorld, the mysterious John at “Internet Security: Be Careful,” Deb Radcliffe at “Security Chief.” Some people might stick Bruce Schneier may fit into the category; his last book was intended as a bridge, but his blog doesn’t always seem to fit.

In a closely related post, “An update from the Weblog Workshop” Ethan Zuckerman posts:

Shinsuke Nakajima from NAIST introduces three ways to think about key bloggers: topic-finders, agitators and summarizers. He talks most about the second two types and methods for detecting them. Summarizers, unsurprisingly, link to lots of people. Agitators can be found by looking for a drastic change in entries posted within a thread, or a drastic change in topic.

Its not original, but still important to note that there’s a split between personal life bloggers (the “Livejournal crowd”) and issue bloggers. Many people maintain both.

And look, once again, it’s Technorati’s tag. Isn’t there a way to hide that?

5 comments on "A few Typographies of Bloggers"

  • dbs says:

    I’m still not keen on how the whole technorati tag system works. It seems like a good idea (grouping by subject), but the chaotic aspect of it leaves me wary of it. IE, “I’d like to read about dining in boston” – so what do i look for? diningboston? bostondining? dindinatthehub?

  • Adam says:

    mmmm, chaos.
    What would you look for under the Dewey Decimal system? the Library of Congress classification system?
    All of these systems have costs of classification and use. Tags trade a very, very low cost of classification for a somewhat higher cost of use.

  • petrilli says:

    Um, last I checked typography was the art of type (i.e. print/letters/etc), and has nothing to do with taxonomy. While there is a taxonomy of typography (i.e. styles of type), this seems an absurdly overloaded way to use the word.
    Is there some reason taxonomy isn’t the right word to use here, and we need to overload one that has roots back to the 17th century, latin and French?

  • Adam says:

    When I was studying taxonomies, I came across a number of ontological works that said that a taxonomy had to have hierarchy, and that without you had a typography. Now that time has passed, and I’m more interested in keyword driven systems, and you challenge me on it, I can’t find any of those references.
    I thought it was a neat distinction to make, and so I picked it up. And now I can’t find references for you.

    I’m also trying to run a “bridge blog” for security issues, explaining trends and risk assessments in language that a small businessperson has a chance to understand.
    Keeping it reasonably accurate while trimming technical detail is surprisingly difficult.
    Recently I’ve tried to cover risk assessment and reading security news skeptically.
    I welcome constructively critical feedback on how well I’ve succeeded.

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