Stowe Boyd has introduced the notion of a Conversational Index to measure the effectiveness of blogs. I agree completely with Stowe on this. In fact, several months ago my managers at Microsoft asked me to establish a monthly report on page view statistics and blog effectiveness. I used the exact same measure that Stowe has coined as the "Conversational Index".
The Conversational Index measures how much conversation is happening on a blog by comparing the number of Comments and Trackbacks versus the number of Posts. Meaning, there should be more comments and trackbacks than posts to show that it is a conversation, not a one way broadcast.
I haven't been blogging for too long but here are my "CI" numbers from TypePad.
Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing
Posts: 83 | Comments: 166 | TrackBacks: 90 | Authors: 1
I have been tracking these numbers closely since the very beginning of my blog. The Comments have been running 2 to 1 to my posts, and the Trackbacks have always been slightly more than my posts. So, my Conversational Index = (166+90)/83 = 3.08 I think this is a very good ratio of conversation to broadcast.
Note, I have calculated the number differently than Stowe, but the meaning and measurement is the same. Using my formula and Stowe's blog stats his blog has a CI of (71+31)/80=1.27. Stowe Boyd has several blogs, and is a very well known writer, so my guess is that these numbers are from one of his newer, and lesser known, blogs.
Zoli Erdos adds to Stowe's theme "Tracking the Complete Conversation" Here is an excerpt:
As Stowe points out, for truly vibrant blogs the CI will be <1, which means there are far more comments than blog posts (I am cheating a little, ignoring trackbacks). This will likely be the case for all the Technorati top 100 or even 500 bloggers – from their viewpoint most of the conversation happens on / around their own blog. However, for the the rest of us, the other 26 million (?) bloggers chances are the conversation really takes place outside our own blog, and I for one certainly can’t keep track of all comments I left on other blogs.
The current crop of tracking / linking services all have a top-down publisher-centric view, where everything revolves around a blog and its related posts, totally missing this other, “bottom-up” half of the conversation. So please, somebody give Stowe his badge , but we also badly need a way to show by subject matter an integrated view of all conversations where we are participating whether we started the thread or someone else.
I am curious how other blogs Conversation Index might compare, and if this is a good measure of blog effectiveness. How might we develop tools to answer Zoli's request to track the "complete conversation"? Is this a relevant measure?
Anyone care to share their CI numbers?