I’m coming to this one a little late – Wired reports that according to HP researchers, the most popular weblogs aren’t necessarily the ones that come up with the interesting new ideas first:
topics would often appear on a few relatively unknown blogs days before they appeared on more popular sites.
and often bloggers fail to mention the sources of their ideas:
when an idea infected at least 10 blogs, 70 percent of the blogs did not provide links back to another blog that had previously mentioned the idea.
You can try out the software that they used to do the research – the “Blog Epidemic Analyzer”:http://www-idl.hpl.hp.com/blogstuff/index.html
If you want to read their (pre-print) paper about their results it’s “here”:http://www.hpl.hp.com/shl/papers/blogs/blogspace-draft.pdf and there’s a thread about their work on “Slashdot”:http://slashdot.org/articles/04/03/05/152244.shtml though before you read it you should probably read the researcher’s own “comment”:http://www-idl.hpl.hp.com/blogstuff/faq.html#10 on that thread.