(Author's note: This post is a golden oldie -- or moldy oldie, depending on your perspective -- circa 2006. If you happen to stumble upon this 10 years or more after its original publication, it will give you an idea of how the PR blogging universe has evolved, and exploded, since this time.)
In response to my reference to Steve Rubel as "the leading PR authority among bloggers, according to Technorati and just about any other quantifiable measure,"Usher Lieberman has suggested that I have confused "leading" with "loudest."
I realize that not everyone is a fan of Steve, but Usher's comment does beg an interesting question: Is there really an objective way to determine blog leadership? Jeremy Zawodny has pointed out how difficult it is to follow online conversations at all -- let alone to establish recognized authorities.
The measurement tools are just not that reliable at this stage. Personally, I use several tools to track my online footprint, all of which return fairly disparate results.
To give you an idea of what's out there, here's Technorati's list of the top 25 blogs tagged "Public Relations," sorted by authority. (I've eliminated duplicate mentions for blogs that were listed twice.)
1. Micro Persuasion
3. Global PR Blog Week 2.0
4. Duct Tape Marketing Weblog
5. ALLIED by Jeneane Sessum
6. POP! PR Jots
7. hyku | blog commentary by blog consultant Josh Hallett
8. Media Guerilla
9. B2B Lead Generation Blog
11. Media Culpa
12. PR Meets the WWW
13. Marcom Blog
14. Marketing Begins At Home
15. A PR Guru's Musings
16. Beyond PR
17. One By One
18. On Message from Wagner Communications
19. Across the Sound
20. Morgan McLintic on PR
21. Phenix Rising
22. Media Orchard, by the Idea Grove
23. Shotgun Marketing BLOG
24. Kinetic Ideas: A Marketing Blog
25. ZnetLady: Modern Media Modo
For anyone familiar with the PR blogging community, this list is problematic for a number of reasons. For example:
1. Some of these blogs aren't really about public relations. Their authors simply tagged them "public relations" because they occasionally touch on PR issues.
2. If you search under a different term, such as "PR," everything changes. My blog standing goes down a bit, while excellent blogs like Piaras Kelly PR, Phil's Blogservations, and Niall Cook's Marketing Technology jump into the fray. Piaras, Phil and Niall simply didn't tag their blogs "Public Relations."
3. Other top PR bloggers aren't listed at all, because they've never signed up with Technorati.
4. Different tools, such as FeedMap, are required if you are interested in sorting U.S. from non-U.S. blogs or creating other categories. (I'm proud to say that John Wagner and Steven Phenix are fellow Texans, but I had to stumble upon that fact on my own.)
So we prove Jeremy Z.'s point: Trying to figure out where your blog, your company, or your clients stand in the blogosphere is hard work. It requires a lot of guesswork and triangulation. Let's hope -- with the infusions of cash we're beginning to see in the Web 2.0 world -- that this will change.