Based on some comments I’ve received, I just wanted to elaborate on how I arrived at two of my conclusions from my previous post ‘Why are *we* the bottom feeders?’.
The Status Quo of the A-List
Nick Carr had originally advised some bloggers at a conference that the best way to seek the attention of an A-List blogger was to link to him/her.
Assuming that you are mainly defining ‘A-List’ by the number of incoming links a blog has (that’s how the Technorati 100 works) then actually this advice is actually very interesting.
Very interesting because it will probably work (I think everyone runs vanity subscriptions with the blog search engines for references to their blog and name) – and thus you might get that desired post back. But in the process you have not really taken a step towards coming closer to being part of the A-List, or at least decreasing the gap between you.
Sure you moved closer to the A-List when you got that link back, but then you also gave them one in the first place. Net result = no change.
Ok, maybe you get some extra traffic and some extra links from other bloggers. Fortunately sites like Technorati just measure the total number of incoming links, and not who they are from (unlike Google Pagerank, for example) – so you’re quids in.
But don’t forget about all the other links people have made to the A-List blogger that haven’t resulted in a link back. So the A-List blogger is now x steps ahead of you.
Secondly if the A-List blogger has linked back to you but also written something vaguely interesting to accompany that link, chances are the rest of the blogosphere will link to them rather than you – the original poster.
Even if you remove ‘incoming link’s’ as a value model and replace it with a different metric – be it quantitive or qualitive. I still believe that the above scenarios continue to support a status quo in most circumstances.
My Bash of BoingBoing
So look, I find the thought of subscribing to BoingBoing really odd.
I find it an extremely odd propositions in that we (the audience) are being asked to value the aggregation decisions of fairly arbitrary and otherwise insignificant (in the wider context) group of people.
I literally think in the back of my mind “why do I care what three people called Xeni Jardine, Cory Doctrow and Mark Frauenfelder think is witty, amusing, clever or important”?
I’d actually much rather value a list of what my friends think is cool and a list of the overall most interesting on the entire Internet via ‘wisdom of crowd’/etc.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met Cory a few times and he’s a nice guy with some interesting things to say. But the fact that he reckons some ultra violet remake of a Charlie Brown and Peanuts cartoon is important holds little value to me.
Now if my friends James, Leo or Lawrence or my wife Sofia or my parents thought it was funny I’d be far more interested. I value their opinion more than I do Cory’s (on general link goodness anyway).
And if it was the most popular link on the Internet at the moment then equally I’d be far more interested.
The point is we have the mechanisms to facilitate this, but we instead still continue to consider BoingBoing – the link decisions off three arbitrary people – to be more important.
Or, as I was saying my previous post – I actually don’t think we do. I think it’s the status quo we’ve found ourselves in and the flawed measuring techniques we use to track this data that has said otherwise.