I've said it before – blogging is like high skool.
Geeks, Nerds, Sluts, Preps, Jocks, Cheerleaders, Band Fags, VoTechs, Farm Boys, Skanks & the completely Clueless…welcome to the blogosphere!!!
The high skool idea is gaining traction. From the WONDERFUL (lame kiss-up attempt, I know) Brand Autopsy site comes this gem:
Blogging = High School
"yep – this entire riff makes my point. blogging = high school. and i don't just mean it's petty – its about top dogs and popular people (Top N Lists and A-list bloggers), sucking up (link love), bullies (riffs, spam, and dinkheads), exchange students (like "smurfette") reinventing themselves, and pedagogue teachers (kawasawki) who make too many rules and lists." — Kirsten Osolind.
…which was a follow-up to highlight the comments of the Wretched Conversations post at the same site. Basically, some of the famous bloggers got involved in a dust-up. Sides were chosen. Things were said. It was just like high school…
The Famous Bloggers (A-Listers, Big Dogs, BlogStars, etc.) are no different than the popular kids in 11th or 12th grade. They are cool. They hang out at hip conferences like SXSW. The get massive traffic. The rest of the kids (non A-List bloggers) want to be just like them.
The uncool kids would do anything to get their attention. Trackbacks. Linky Love. Comment Fairies. Offline emails. Anything at all, short of gawker stalking, in order to pwn some of their traffic…bask in some of their GLORY…gain T-100 status.
Start whining if that glory and status doesn't happen? Then there is this response – Top 10 Reasons Nobody Reads Your Blog:
8. The very fact that you're whining about traffic makes people not want to read your blog.
Instead it makes them want to emulate the champagne-swigging A-Listers currently mocking you.
9. You've only been writing the damn thing for a week.
And you're already whining. See Point Number Eight.
But, since Hugh is a true Zen-Master Visionary he provides the insight of multiple viewpoints, forcing the supplicant to achieve enlightenment on her/his own…and also posts this – Top Ten Blogger Lies:
7. I've never liked the unegalitarian term, "A-Lister".
Even though I am one. Oh, the irony.
(Note to self…don't forget to include trackbacks to all the links in this post…)
People want blogging to succeed because of the perceived potential for continued (or better) democratization of thought. And, the class system as exemplified by the A-List/Big Dog Aristocratic Blog Elitism appears to kick that democratization in the teeth.
The famous bloggers were first-movers. They were already famous. They are paid to blog. They are in positions in their various companies that would guarantee their notoriety anyway. Something. This situation didn't happen magically. Sure, they worked hard to get where they are. But, lots of other people work hard too…
The attitude that the fame for the BlogStars is because they are better writers is a little suspect too. It's not fair to those writers that are good, but haven't adopted blogging. It isn't fair to those writers still struggling in obscurity. And, it isn't fair to the A-Listers themselves because it sets the expectation artificially high. Writing one award-winning book and then retiring is surely no more difficult then maintaining blog traffic on a global scale EVERY DAY.
More like What Have You Done For Me Lately? (WHYDFML?)
Besides, in a year or two every one of the Technorati Top 100 will be written in the lingua franca of the various developing countries of the world. (Hello Asia and Latin America! The Jamoker is your friend! Note – There's already 5 Asian Blogs in the Top 30)
And, the A-Listers are victims of their own success. The simple economics of the situation prove that. Who has time to answer emails and comments from 1000 people a day? Clay Shirky writes here about PowerLaws and Economies of Scale. And, although it includes an argument against the existence of an "A-List", the article does explain how the disparity in traffic and links and comments between sites can and does occur…just like in any market economy. From the article:
In systems where many people are free to choose between many options, a small subset of the whole will get a disproportionate amount of traffic (or attention, or income), even if no members of the system actively work towards such an outcome. This has nothing to do with moral weakness, selling out, or any other psychological explanation. The very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution.
Ergo, the existence of the Blogging Elite proves the democracy of the system.
But, since the BlogStars only link to each other…kind of like the high skool clique…then maybe the blog democracy has a little electoral college thing goin' on???
My blogroll has replaced the old "browser favorites" folder. The links are not there just to gain attention from the famous. And, I have never requested reciprocal links. I read what I like. I read to educate or entertain myself. And, it's the same for comments. If I leave one, I don't expect it to earn me a return visit/comment.
Would I love to be rich, famous and blogging for a living? Sure. No one does anything without considering the potential for gain. But, I'm blogging for personal reasons. And, I'd rather earn blogging elite status (if ever) through my own efforts…and not because I got some linky love from Boing Boing. Also, I'm not just blogging about one topic. I have opinions on everything. I guess if I were to be the only (or first) person to blog about nekkid coed underwater basket weaving, then I should expect massive amounts of fan devotion. As it stands, I'm getting great traffic…especially after moving from Clogger to WordPress…and would prefer to be doing this for the right reasons…and not just to be a sycophant to the BlogStars.
The skeptics will read this and call it whining of a different sort. Reverse Psychology. I know that they know that I know that they know. Whatever. Fortunately High School came to an end for all of us. The nerds/geeks went out into the world after graduation and found their status and fortune. The band fags and skanks found a nice career in advertising. The jocks get to relive their glory every weekend. And, the cool kids are probably still cool. Wouldn't all of us have rather been the class clown, though? The cut-up, the card, the wise-guy? Maybe even the fool of Shakespearean fame? I think we would.
So, with all this talk about democracy and blogging for personal reasons…what about this sexy Indie Virus idea? Basically, the idea is to have a viral campaign where lesser known blogs gain attention. From the site:
The experiment, henceforth referred to as "The Indie Virus," has two goals:
- To bring exposure to lesser known blogs (especially those outside of Technorati's top 100)
- To explore the metrics behind a viral linking campaign launched by the "little guys" (less popular blogs)
How democratic is that? If blogging is all about democratizing communication, then searching for new viewpoints and perspectives is surely important to the process. Some of the most interesting things I have learned in the past 6 months have come from some un-famous sites. But, lack of fame should not a) invalidate the veracity of those opinions at those sites or b) keep the voice(s) from being heard. The authors of those sites are just as entitled to their opinions as the next person. So, I think the Indie Virus is sexy…because it's democratic. Everybody pulls for the little guy, right?
So, I'm going to participate in the Indie Virus experiment and list two new sites I have recently found and like. They may not be little sites, for all I know they get great traffic. But, they are not in the T-100…and they are just as cool. Here they are…
Go check them out…and help spread that democracy…