Founded in November 2002 as the first ever blog search engine, Technorati was founded to help bloggers and blog readers succeed by collecting, highlighting, and distributing the global online conversation. It can be accessed here, or by entering [www.technorati.com] into your browser.
The name “Technorati” is a conglomeration of the words “technology” and “literati,” a Latin word literally meaning “educated people” or “intellectuals interested in literature.” Created and owned by Dave Sifry, Technorati is based out of San Francisco, California, and exists as open-source software, or software that is developed by a community of users.
Why Should I Use Technorati?
As the number of blogs on the internet continues to grow exponentially, blogs are becoming an increasingly important source of information when researching topics of a wide variety. Unfortunately, as internet search engine users know, the more information available the more difficult it is to get the right information you are looking for. Enter Technorati to the blogosphere! Technorati is a blog search engine tool designed specifically to help users sift through the wealth of blogs and weblogs available on the internet. Technorati users can find blogs pertaining to their topic in two main ways:
- By entering a specific search query and viewing the results
- By browsing pre-sorted blogs and blog posts organized by topic and authority
This chapter will cover both of these methods in depth, but first will show you the basics of Technorati and how to get started on the site.
Technorati Basics: Making An Account and the Authority System
Making An Account:
If you plan to use Technorati only as a blog search engine, you won’t need to make an account to access all of the search features. If you’re interested in contributing to the Technorati blogs, commenting on the support pages, or publishing your own content to the site, you should make an account. Membership is completely free and very easy to set up. To join simply click the “Join” button in the upper-right hand corner seen below.
They ask for basic information and an e-mail address to which they will send a verification e-mail. Once you’ve verified your account, you’re ready to go!
One great feature of Technorati is it’s Authority system. Technorati assigns an Authority level out of 1000 to blog sites based on the site’s standing and influence in the blogosphere. The calculation is based on the site’s linking behavior, categorization, and other associated data over a short, finite period of time. The more the site is talking about a popular topic or being linked to by other sites, the higher their Authority. These rankings rise and fall regularly as the hot topics of the blogosphere change.
In the wake of the recent presidential election, for example, this blog on American Politics had a high Authority score of 797. If this is a blog primarily used for election stories, this blog’s Authority score will likely fall unless they continue to write about the hot topics.
Within the Authority System, Technorati also assigns “Topical” Authority scores which measure a blog’s influence within a specific subject category. You can view the rankings of all blogs by Authority scores within a category, as well, which enables you to view the most perceived “influential” blog about a particular subject. Below, for example, you can see the ranking by Authority of blogs related to finance. It also shows you which blogs are moving the most, so you can keep an eye on the potential up-and-coming blogs.
Check out this page if you’re interested in learning even more about the Technorati Authority system!
Searching for Blogs Using a Search Query
If you know exactly what you’re looking for, it may be most helpful for you to search Technorati using a search query. Similar to most search engines you’ve probably used, Technorati will search the site and return results according to their relevancy or recency. You have lots of options for refining your query within Technorati, but the easiest way to understand the Technorati search is to see a quick example:
Let’s say you’re looking for blogs about President Barack Obama. You can start by entering the query [Barack Obama] in the main search bar. At this search bar, you can choose whether to search for specific posts about your topic or whole blogs about your topic. Technorati will automatically search for posts, but you can switch this by clicking on “Blogs” shown in grey below.
This query search brought up 490 posts relating to Barack Obama. At this point you can search through the blogs and hopefully find what you’re looking for. If the results aren’t ideal, however, you have options to refine your query. Click on the option “Click to refine this search” button to bring up this menu:
Many of the options on this menu are self-explanatory and perform as you would expect. One of the best features of the refining toolbar is the “Filter by” option. Clicking on the drop-down menu, you can choose to view blogs that are about Barack Obama but relate to a certain topic, such as politics or business.
This is a great tool because it allows you to view blogs about your topic through a variety of lenses. You could search for blogs about the “Euro Crisis,” for example, and view very different results as you filter them by blogs about business, politics, and living. This is a great opportunity to obtain unique perspectives on your topic and is certainly one of the best tools of Technorati that I would encourage new users to explore.
Similarly to many major search engines, Technorati also has search operators you can use to help refine your search. The operators that seem to work best include the “quotes” operator and the “not” operator. Examples of queries using these operators might look like:
- [Barack Obama “hope campaign”]
- [Barack Obama -Romney]
Overall, searching for blogs by query is a great option for users who know exactly what they want to learn about, and Technorati makes it easy to refine your search and find the blogs you’re looking for.
Browsing the Site by Topic and Authority
If you’re searching Technorati without a particular topic in mind, there are two great ways to get started:
- Search by Topic
- Search by Authority
Search by Topic: Channels
Search by Authority:
Comparison with Google Blog search
Google, of course, also has a blog search engine. There are some key differences between the Google Blog Search engine and Technorati:
Advantages of Google Blog Search:
- Searches More Blogs, Returning Larger Volume of Results
- Works with all Google Search Operators for greater search precision
- Easy to link with all other Google Applications (Drive, Reader, Etc.)
- Filters blogs to return higher quality results (Authority system)
- Has a great home page organized for browsing users
- Creates a community for users to ask questions and contribute
Google Search Operators: Like many of their other specialized search engines, blog search operates on the same standard Google interface as the main Google Search Engine and, accordingly, all of the Google Search Operators work for refining your blog search. This is an undeniable advantage of Google Blog Search over Technorati, as Technorati has limited search operators that work with their site. Because of this, it may be more difficult to obtain super specific results with Technorati like you could with Google Blog Search.
Breadth of results: With Technorati’s focus on quality, they filter out what blogs can appear in their search results. You can read about how Technorati filters blogs by quality here, but essentially they won’t allow any blog on their site with things such as excessive and irrelevant tags, plagiarism, and auto-generated text. Google Blog Search has less strict standards, so you may be able to access a greater number of blogs with Google than you can with Technorati. This lack of breadth in Technorati is likely its most limiting feature, although it may be made up for in the quality of blogs on the site. To continue to be a competitive blog search engine, Technorati will need to continue using its authority system but perhaps open the site to more blogs yielding more results for the users.
Site Browsability: Another difference is that Google Blog Search has nothing similar to the Technorati Authority system or the Channel system. They do not rank blogs based on their influence within the blogosphere and their Blog Search homepage does not highlight popular blogs or topics. This is a disadvantage of Google, particularly for blog searchers who are just looking to browse around and see what’s popular in the blogosphere.
Community Feel: Technorati is very different from Google Blog Search in the sense that Technorati’s site is designed to create a community for it’s users. They offer an extensive support community for users who have questions about the site, they have options for users to contribute to the content on the site, and they even have their own writer who contribute and write exclusively for the Technorati site. Collectively, all of these features give the Technorati site the community feel that Google Blog Search engine lacks.
Recommendation for Use
Overall, there are several different resources you can use to search for information in the growing blogosphere. If you’re doing research on a very specific topic, the standard Google Blog Search engine may be the best option for you. It searches through everything the blogosphere has to offer and has several different search operators in place to help you obtain specific results for your topic.
If you’re looking to do research on a more general topic, seeking topic inspiration, or just looking to browse all that the blogosphere has to offer, Technorati is likely a better tool for you. The people and resources that Technorati has dedicated to sorting out quality blogs has created an easily navigable home page ideal for skimming, top-notch results, and great topic channels that highlight the hot blogs to be reading. As a fairly new tool that’s constantly changing and improving, it is certainly worth spending the time to get to know Technorati and discover all that it can offer as a blog research resource.
Technorati, www.technorati.com: Used for exploring the site and writing summaries about home page appearance, navigation, and comparison to Google Blog search.
Technorati, http://technorati.com/about-technorati/: Used for learning about the background of the site and its history.
Technorati, http://technorati.com/support/: Accessed to view the support community that Technorati offers for users.
Technorati, http://technorati.com/what-is-technorati-authority/: Used for details on the Technorati Authority system.
Lesson by Dr. Scott A. Moore “Blog Search”: http://bk4a.com/bit330f2012/lesson-unit/856/blog-search: Not referenced directly, but used for initial ideas and gaining site familiarity.
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technorati: Used for dates of beginning and general background information found in the introduction.
Google Blog Search, http://www.google.com/blogsearch: Explored for drawing comparison between Google Blog Search and Technorati.
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