Maps are an important tool for visualizing data and space. New York City is blessed with one of the most comprehensive and well-designed maps of public transportation and biking. The city is also home to a highly educated population, which means a healthy, local blogosphere. The website NYCBloggers.com shows a map of where bloggers are located and organized by subway stop. For readers in search of bloggers at a geographically specific site, such a website is an excellent resource — if well-researched and publicized — and has the potential to reveal the broad cultural, economic and social dynamics of a city. Where are the writers, watchdogs and engaged populous located? And what do they choose to write about?
For the NYC map, you can zoom in to reveal the number of bloggers by subway stop. Once you click a stop, the site lists the blogs in that vicinity. In some cases there are hundreds of blogs for a single subway stop. The map’s creators, Liz Maryland Hiraldo and Mike Everett-Lane, say that randomly finding a blog that you like is a fun experience, but shouldn’t there be another way to find blogs in your city? According to their website: “While there have been efforts to map the blogosphere in virtual space, or to list blogs by city, state, and country, this is (as far as we know) the first effort to physically map blogs on a local level.”
At the very least, it’s way to further localize information and think about blogs not simply as cyber entities of information but as based in a physical location. Perhaps other efforts to build the localization of blogs will amplify accountability and build the “weak-tie world” of bloggers and internet-based social networks that Malcolm Gladwell recently wrote about. Plus, for urban planners, transportation advocates and citizen watchdogs, mapping blogs strategically can be a useful resource that further contributes to placemaking in both the virtual and physical world.