Technorati: A New Public Utility

July 15th, 2005

Technorati: A New Public Utility
By Adam L. Penenberg, 02:00 AM Jul. 14, 2005 PT

When former Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael K. Powell watched television coverage of the London bombings last week, he noticed that most of the significant pictures didn’t originate from professional photographers employed by news agencies. They came from witnesses at the scene using cell phones and digital cameras to document the tragedy.

Before, blogging was largely fixated on the failure of mainstream media. Now it has become a necessary supplement, and in some cases, a substitute. But Powell takes this a step further. To him, London showed that blogging has morphed into the art of raw, personalized storytelling.

Powell was far from the only one who turned to the blogosphere for perspectives on the London terror attacks. David Sifry, founder of Technorati, a real-time search engine for blog content, reports that traffic to the site in the hours after the attacks was so heavy that its servers had trouble handling the load, causing performance problems. The number of posts on blogs tracked by Technorati increased 30 percent, from about 850,000 a day in July to 1.2 million on the day of the attacks. Nine of the 10 most popular search requests involved the unfolding tragedy in London. If you think about it, Technorati has become a public utility on a global scale.