Weblog networking: two way awareness and different degrees of strength
Still thinking about networking effects of weblogs (weblog as networking instrument, easy way to stay in touch, "fuzzy" profile).
What weblogs create is two way awareness. If I read someone's articles online or check personal pages or "know" a person by reading comment in online discussion, in most cases this is one-way "getting to know": this person is not aware that I'm learning about him or her. Weblogs change it: if another blogger links to your weblog as least ones, he is likely to get on your radar. Of course, it happens if you pay at least some attention to referrers, trackbacks, Technorati, ecosystem tracking tools, but most bloggers do. With a weblog you have the power of tracking an interest to your writing and thinking and links give an estimation of how strong is this interest (related Links and Power: The Political Economy of Linking on the Web).
This awareness creates something that I don't have a good name for. It's close to familiar stranger, but there is some kind of interaction (or, may be linking is similar to looking at person a physical environment, you don't expect a feedback, but another person is likely to notice that you have looked). I would say that this connection is one degree stronger than "familiar stranger" connection. And then this connection may turn into something stronger - "weak-tied" conversations, with one more degree stronger. Then it may result in joint actions and "strong ties" at the end.
So, what we have is a continuum of getting from no ties to weak ties to strong ties and our "around blog" relations. I wonder if someone is looking at it and how it can be studied (there are too many things relevant for my PhD :)
This post also appears on channel weblog research