With millions of sites floating through the blogosphere, who really has time to peek at even a fraction of them? Blogophile reads them for you and presents a weekly roundup of the buzz on must-read blogs. Blogophile appears new each Wednesday, and is written by CBSNews.com's Melissa P. McNamara.
Gamers-turned-bloggers took control at the world's largest video game convention. Find out what the buzz on E3 was all about. And, Al Gore's latest gig and a new bill by Senator Hillary Clinton top the blogosphere charts this week. Plus, what's the greatest new procrastination tool? Find out below.
Bloggers Swarm E3
Bloggers took over this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, which ended Friday, the Washington Post reports. Drawing 60,000 participants from around the world, it is the biggest video game convention in the world, and this year, the people behind the show decided to allow more bloggers into the expo.
Gamers, many of whom are bloggers themselves, recognized the power of the blogosphere to generate early buzz. Xbox sponsored a "blogger bus" with comfy couches and plasma TVs, all available if you would blog about Xbox. The Microsoft Games Global Marketing team even posted photos of the bus on their blog, Gamerscore Blog.The Blog Herald.
Among the many bloggers live-blogging at the convention like CBSNews.com's GameCore, TopTonHammer.com, Multiplayer.it and Gpara.com, Gawker Media's Kotaku.com had 10 bloggers at the conference, and AOL's Joystiq.com had nine. And people were reading all about it. According to the Post, Joystiq.com had over 1 million page views the night before the expo, and this month, Kotaku.com has already had 2.8 million page views.
Allowing bloggers to roam freely at E3 appears to have paid off, with gadgets of all sorts generating buzz among bloggers, as evidenced by key phrases making waves in the blogosphere, which ranged from references to the new Sony PlayStation 3 controller, new video games, and XBox 360.
Bloggers cheered all the new technology on display, as well as the occasional celebrity sightings and interviews with gamers. Kotaku, for example, featured photos of David Navarro and Joystiq captured Steven Spielberg trying out their latest toys. But 4 color rebellion posts photos of the real expo celebrities, the gamers. "E3 is the place to be. If your a geek that is. And we are certainly geeks," Nick at 4 color rebellion blogged. "That's why we attempted to get photos of as many 'celebrities' as we could."
Engadget, which provided minute-by-minute updates throughout the convention, featured its interview with Perrin Kaplan, Nintendo of America's Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Affairs.
"The video gaming industry has become so reliant upon blogging gamers as a trusted source of information that it becomes plainly obvious that these same bloggers should be patrolling the showroom floor at the industry's marquee event," Berhard at Blogging4Business writes. "Who better but bloggers could possibly cover E3?"
Will Bloggers Get A Raise?
When Sen. Hillary Clinton recently introduced a bill that would tie the nation's minimum wage to congressional pay raises, it received scant attention in the mainstream media. But it sure got bloggers talking this week.
The bill Clinton introduced on May 4, 2006, would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the federal minimum wage and to ensure that increases in the federal minimum wage keep pace with any pay adjustments for members of Congress. The bill would immediately raise minimum wage to more than $7 an hour, and provide automatic raises, just as Congress receives.
Alyssa at the American Constitution Society blog thinks this bill has staying power. "In a nation where, for the first time, a minimum wage earner cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment at market rate almost anywhere in America, the bill might just catch on," she blogs.
But politicians may have something to fear. The New York Observers' Politicker blog notes, "If Clinton's proposal proves successful, workers earning the current minimum of $5.15 an hour might actually want wealthy members of Congress to grant themselves raises similar to the 25 percent hike they got in 1991."
But is this really so revolutionary, a Daily Kos blogger asks, noting that "a few states already have minimum wages in place that exceed the Federal minimum wage." Oregon ($7.50) and Washington ($7.63) are the only states that currently have a minimum wage that exceed Clinton's proposed wage.
But others see pure politics at play. "Of course, what's really great about this bill is that it will make Hillary's base very happy, and since it has little likelihood of actually passing, Hillary won't take any financial hits from it down the road (i.e., when she loses the 2008 Presidential election despite trying to pander to her base)," Quizlaw blogs.
The Trend In Google Trends
If you're wondering why your coworker is behind on your team's project, "Google Trends," may be to blame. The feature, unveiled this week, allows users to uncover which cities and countries are searching most for a particular item or subject. It's guaranteed to provide endless hours of procrastination.
You can enter up to five topics and see how often they've been searched for on Google over time. Google Trends also displays how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and which geographic regions have searched for them most often. It works by analyzing a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. The results are displayed graphically.
Over 23,000 bloggers were heralding perhaps the greatest new procrastination tool last weekend. Most bragged to their readers about their search results.
MF_London at The blog with no name admits it's a time waster, blogging, "I know that everyone is playing with it at the moment which is not surprising as it provides hours, well at least minutes of entertainment."
Andrew Sullivan did his own research on a likely popular search term… who is looking for "sex" the most. "The countries with the most searches for that word is - surprise! - Pakistan, followed by Egypt, Iran, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey," he writes. "Hmmm. It couldn't have anything to do with all that Muslim repression, could it? Arabic is the most popular language for 'sex' searches." See his results for yourself.
Most searches were predictable, as bloggers tried to uncover trends related to yes, themselves. For example, if you searched your own name, you would hardly be alone. Others compared trends in their own cities. Gothamist searched and compared New York City neighborhoods.
"BUT, and this is a big but, the results do not include blog posts," B.L. Ochman warns on Whatsnextblog. "Maybe they plan a Technorati-busting blog search engine soon. Or hell, maybe they'll just buy Technorati."
It was probably easy to convince former Vice President Al Gore to take this gig. Saturday Night Live opened its show with Al Gore delivering a mock address from the Oval Office, imagining the country six years after he has been president. And his appearance was one of the most popular search topics in the blogosphere, with over 77,500 bloggers linking to a video clip of the comedy sketch. Gore was also No. 4 among the most-blogged personalities on Monday on Blogpulse.
Among the skit's highlights was Gore's riff on gas prices:
"Right now, in the second week of May 2006, we are facing perhaps the worst gas crisis in history. We have way too much gasoline. Gas is down to 19 cents a gallon and the oil companies are hurting. I know that I am partly to blame by insisting that cars run on trash. I am therefore proposing a federal bailout to our oil companies because - hey if it were the other way around, you know the oil companies would help us."
Reaction spanned bloggers' politics, with liberal bloggers dreaming wistfully of life with a Democratic president, and conservative bloggers blasting the clip as showing that Democrats live in a fantasy land.
Some Gore-voters in 2000 lamented his humor deficit during that election. As Lidane at Sliding on the Rainbow blogs, "What a difference six years can make. Why, oh why couldn't you have been this likeable and funny in 2000?" Bob Geiger agrees. "It's a very funny piece of television that I suspect will also give you a big twinge of sadness at the same time," he blogs on Democrats.com.
But Matt Margolis at GOP Bloggers says the clip shows Democrats have "delusions of grandeur." "In addition to Democrat-fantasy television series like 'The West Wing' and 'Commander-In-Chief' (both now cancelled), it seems that the ultimate Democrat-fantasy was presented on Saturday Night Live last night, with Al Gore appearing on the opening skit of 'Saturday Night Live' playing the role of the President of the United States," he writes.
Jenna at Right off the Shore agrees the Gore skit is pure fantasy. "If Al Gore was our president, our country would have faltered after that catastrophe. We needed Bush to lead us," she writes.
But fantasy land or not, some like Sunfell's Earth Walk, are resolute in their politics. "I have a feeling that Gore just might run for President again. And he'd really win this time," Sunfell writes. "His time away from the political spotlight has enabled him to heal, to grow, and to overcome his shocking defeat."
By Melissa McNamara