Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Next Blog"? Not So Impressed.

Once upon a time, I wrote a little something about that "Next Blog" link you see on the banner across the top of most Blogger Blogs. (I think you can hide the banner, but why bother). Anyway, I noted that it was pretty useless and took you to blogs in foreign languages you couldn't read and all of them seemed to be about Futbol, Asian Teen Heartthrobs or Mid-Western Families (with Family Values).

I noticed this morning that Blogger said they were making it more useful (announcement dated November 10th). Here's what they had to say.

"Some of you must have wondered what the Next Blog link on the NavBar does, and clicked on the link once or twice. Next Blog used to take you to a random blog, written by a random blogger. Your fellow blogger could have been writing her blog in a language that you don't know how to read. Or you might be someone who likes to read about food and restaurants in Germany, but your randomly chosen next blog could have been focused on sports, and written in Tagalog.

We've made the Next Blog link more useful, by taking you to a blog that you might like. The new and improved Next Blog link will now take you to a blog with similar content, in a language that you understand. If you are reading a Spanish blog about food, the Next Blog link will likely take you to another blog about food. In Spanish!

You might discover a cool blogger who has hobbies similar to yours, has similar taste in electronic gadgets, likes sports that you're into, or has similar curiosities and interests. We will finish rolling out the new and improved Next Blog link over the next week and hope that you will enjoy discovering blogs that are likely to interest you."

Of course, I decided to give it a try since:
A). I was bored.
B). It might give me something to write about.
and C). I had already read the rest of the Internet.

First, I thought I'd see what happens when navigating from my own blog. What would Blogger's algorithm decide my blog is all admittedly difficult proposition, since I'd be a little hard pressed to tell you what it's about.

First stop? The Womack's website.

Now, I'm sure Jeff and Melissa are just lovely people, but this doesn't seem like the place for me.

If the first stop had been even a vaguely similar blog to my own, I'd have hit the "next blog" button again. I decided that since we were so far off the mark I'd go back to my own blog and start all over again.

Second try lead me to a blog called Her's Story. There's no "About Me" page, so I'm not sure who writes this blog, but the writing and the sidebar lead me to believe that English is not the writer's first language.

A quick click on "Next Blog" from that one took me to a Gospel Music Site. Go Figure.

I figured I'd give it one more shot starting from my own place again.

Arggggghhhhhhhhhh! Another Uber-Christian Mommie Blog!

What the fuck does Blogger think my blog is? Have I been watching my fucking language too fucking much lately? Well, that's right out for the immediate future. Fuck!

Anyway, three strikes and you're out.

I decided to give it another try from a ... shall we say...more focused blog? I decided to see what would happen when my starting point was Stonekettle Station. That's Jim's place...or is it?

Rumor has it (OK, I started the rumor) that Jim is not the macho retired Chief Warrant Officer spewing bile...and vile Liberal Propaganda, but really an 11-year-old Mongolian girl...spewing bile...and vile Liberal Propaganda. Whatever. The point is that Blogger should only know the words on the blog and should send a reader to another opinionated foul-mouthed blog...right?

Well, spewing something anyway. Go visit The Nelsons. Scroll down and immerse yourselves in ...dirty diapers. Now, really. Nothing against the Nelsons but I doubt somebody looking for another blog similar to Jim's is going there. Let's give it one more shot. OK, I cheated...I gave it seven more shots. Guess what. Every time I clicked "Next Blog" from Stonekettle Station, I was led to another site chronicling someones recovery from addiction.

I figured I'd give it one more shot. Let's try it from a website with a very clear focus. I went to DollyGrippery.

This is a website exclusively devoted to operating camera dollies and cranes. It's about camera movement and dolly track. It's about all of the hardware and finesse associated with getting a lens from A to B to C smoothly and in the right time. I've been reading it for a bit more than a year and I can't remember once reading about anything political, medical, maternal, theological, or psychological. It's a blog that's focused on one narrow part of filmmaking. Where does "Next Blog" lead to from there? GrandMommy Blogs. Six in a row.

Blogger, I've gotta tell ya. At least the previous version of "Next Blog" was sometimes entertaining in its randomness. This thing doesn't work at all. I'd tell you myself, but that doesn't appear to be an option.


WendyB_09 said...

Well, it must be you...I tried the next blog button from Polybloggimous and was sent to a blog for a photographer/mountain-bike adverturer on the first try and a local neighborhood bar somewhere in Minnasota on the next.

The photographer was po'd because blogger was giving her fits and she was having to migrate her blog to WP. The folks at the bar however, looked like they were having way too much fun.

WendyB_09 said...

OH...tried it from Stonekettle Station and got one titled Resistance is Useless!
Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians...
written by a British blogger whose motto is This blog has no confidence in Her Magesty's government, does yours? They seemed to have ass-chappage issues with their political leadership.

Must quit now, have packing to do.

Eric said...

Seems like maybe the problem is the "next blog" feature works too well. Consider what happened to you when you used it at Stonekettle: you went to a site about dirty diapers.

And what can be a side-effect of dirty diapers? I'm not a parent, so I can only guess, but one guess would be:

A chapped ass.

Now, as for why "next blog" from Polybloggimous leads to various Christian blogs and such, I have no idea. Perhaps there's something subliminal in your blog I need to be more attentive to. Perhaps you're really proselytizing for the Cult Of Nice. Perhaps, indeed, the foul-mouthed language you use is supposed to be some kind of cautionary tale!

Also, apparently you're very girly. Just sayin'.

Who knows?

But I can answer one other question for you: why get rid of the header bar? Because if you're using a custom template, it can totally mess up the look of your blog. At least that's why I bother--clearly that's a YMMV situation right there.

Nathan said...

Well, it must be you.

Since your results are so much better than my own, when is Blogger going to install the "Be someone else" button?

Maybe that'd work.

And Eric,

I'm just not going to dignify that "girly" comment with a response. I've got a quiche in the oven!

MWT said...

Hmmm... I just tried that from my blog, and ended up at Life in the Preseli Hills. Which is written by a 2009 Nanowrimo winner, and talks about ponies in its first post. The other posts do look about like stuff I'd put on my blog. ;) So yeah, maybe you need a "be someone else" button...

As for me: I'm just glad that the search blank finally works right again. For a while it was impossible to find anything. Literally. I'd type in a keyword that I could clearly see in the most recent post, and it wouldn't even find that. :p

Megan said...


I moved my site from Blogger over a year ago, but I just HAD to try it out. Here's what I got:

Attempt #1: Akuajam. Not English. OK, maybe a few words in English. But still. I have no idea what it's actually about.

Attempt #2: Cuma.kaw.aku. With hearts on each side of the name. Also not in English. And please don't tell me that this is similar to my blog.

Attempt #3: Kangwublogger. I think it's a Chinese food blog. FAIL.