The Blogging Revolution has begun! (?)


Kent Newsome has sounded the clarion call for a blogging revolution, and I for one am *in*. Mark July 4, 2007 as the beginning of the revolution that will bring down the tired elite establishment in favor of more prominence for fresh new voices.

I’m tired of reading the same old people who in some cases are too busy chasing dollars to blog nearly as creatively as they did in the old days (ie a year ago). The more ominous case is the new trend in blogging that has “A listers” effectively (even if not literally) shilling for big corporations under the provocative guise called “conversational marketing”.

I’ve already replaced some A listers with some less prominent but more interesting bloggers and over the next week I’m going to remove all the A listers in favor of new voices. In one sense this isn’t fair to the A-list folks who still have interesting and clear voices, but on balance it is sort of like “affirmative action” for blogging. Search engines tend to favor bloggers who have older and abundant links. Early bloggers have both not because they are profound, but just because they were around early on in the linking process when there were fewer voices of any kind and money had not entered (and distorted) the blogging equation. Search ranking quirks have effectively distorted the ranking of bloggers to such an extent that the small number of ‘A listers’ have far too dominant a voice in many tech blog topics. I’d like to see that end ASAP, so I’ll do what little I can to make it happen and encourage others to do the same.

More from Gaping Void

MSNBC on “the A list”

27 thoughts on “The Blogging Revolution has begun! (?)

  1. Robert! First, nice of you to read this and comment. You were one of the A-listers I didn’t want to knock off my blogroll but I think I have to for the good of the concept. After the revolution I’ll put you back because you are still a fine and fresh voice out there.

  2. In that case I’d stay subscribed to my link blog. Rarely do I put stuff about me on there, but you’ll keep in touch with the best of 700 blogs.

    Do you watch Digg or TechMeme? If you watch those you’ll see the A-list anyway. The problem is you’ll miss all the small things from the A-listers that aren’t important enough to cause a media storm.

  3. A really interesting idea Joe, I think were all to blame for taking the easy ride and only listening to the a-listers, because they come up again again in searches they are the first you starting reading, finding new quality blogs to read can be hard work, Scoble and his link blog have helped me discover new blogs, (btw Scoble stop with the bloody iPhone related articles, your link blog should be called ‘iphone link blog’ right now, and most people must be sick of it.)

    I having been writing (or attemping something that resembles writing) for only 2-3 months within the tech arena and it is hard work to ‘get out there’.

    But what is the solution? Technorati currently bases its rating upon the last 6 months links, but because most A-listers are so well established they will still get most of those new links to keep them up there. I guess rule ‘content is king’ still counts, but also understanding how to market yourself is absolutely critical.

  4. Nick: if most people are sick of hearing of iPhone, why do we continue getting stopped in the street when we walk around with ours? Even tonight we were stopped.

    But, I am getting sick of talking about it. Hopefully something more interesting comes along. There’s a vacuum of interesting topics right now. Which is why this is part of a cluster at the top of Techmeme.

  5. I love the idea, but I guess the only thing I have to add is the need for balance. We need to remember that the A-list folks, like mass media before them are great sources for timely, good reporting.

    What I don’t like is the fact that their voices tend to be heard to the exclusion of everyone else. Instead of trying to dethrone our spiritual fore fathers, maybe as members of the new(est) wave we should just spend more time exploring the blogosphere.

    I’ve always found that I am most satisfied after a trip around some of the less prominent blogs.

  6. Steve: I’m all into that!

    In fact, the reason I read so many blogs is so I can discover new voices THROUGH THEM! That’s why I’m actually happy that Joe is unsubscribing from me and is looking for new stuff. That enriches my life.

    Seeing the same old same old discussed on Techmeme makes me cranky.

  7. Robert I think I follow TechMeme too much, which may be partly why I think there is a problem in the tech echo chamber. Also there are plenty of A listers like you who have helped define the whole show and still write good stuff. In fact my beef is not that A listers aren’t good as much as that there are *many other* great voices out there and I want to hear from them too.

    Your challenge to me is a good one – find these voices I say are out there and largely unread. Even defining “A list” may be a challenge.

    Nick I think you are right that some of this is just our tendency not too look around hard enough to find good new stuff. But also important is the difficulty ranking “quality”, esp. for new bloggers. In the same way “old, tired” websites often have disproportionate traffic “old and tired” bloggers do too. Some of the money blogs now have paid staff doing some of the writing and it seems to me this makes them weaker and more like the “official” corporate blogs that mostly just suck because the voices are usually canned and inhibited.

  8. Great post, Joe.

    Over the past few months, I have been diversifying my blog reading diet from primarily A-listers, to occasional A-listers and more hidden gems. In the same way, I’m changing my Twitter following habits.

    Variety is the spice of life and after reading the same voices over a prolonged period of time, one can experience “opinion exhaustion”.

    That said, I would never have found this post without subscribing to Robert’s link blog – a great example of how
    some A-listers continue to challenge their readers.

  9. I have over 4,000 non A-list bloggers on my site, you know what there are thousands really worth reading, take a look, the “A-list” have shunned my site because they can’t find their friends on it..We are just starting blog idols too.

    Kevin

  10. thanks joe for post. read it thoroughly and follow-up comments. hope i can learn something from you guys for my hawaii blog.

    question to kevin..what do you you mean you have 4000 non A bloggers on your list?

    does that mean you link to all these blogs?
    do they all link back to you?

    thanks for your helpful responses. aloha, pua

  11. Great conversation here and I appreciate the ideas. I’m having trouble defining “A listers” even though we all seem to have a sense of who they are.

  12. I think part of the problem is finding quality non A-Listers to read. I agree they are out there, but how do you find them? I am more than happy to read non A Lister content, but what tools do you use to locate these blogs?

    I think people gravitate towards ‘A Listers’ because they have longevity and proven content. Reading newer bloggers can be hit and miss. You have to chaff a lot of wheat to get decent kernels. Will the return be worth the investment?

    I think these are some interesting questions – I am definitely interested to see your progress on this experiment.

  13. We could define the A-List, if we really *wanted* to, but we have to define it in terms of industry I would assume. I good rule of thumb is to look at the non-institutional blogs in the Technorati top 100. That loosely defines the A-List.

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  17. Wow, this topic sure did strike a nerve so I need to get cracking and find the good tech blogs I say are sitting out there, sadly unread.

    Thomas I agree the challenge is sorting through the junk to find the gems. With A list folks you know that they will usually be talking about interesting stuff, but for new voices you could waste a lot of time. However I’m always always intrigued when I venture out of TechMeme and simply surf around. In fact IMHO the best writers from a literary standpoint are *rarely* A listers. My hypothesis is that tech folks are earlier blog adopters but tend to be inferior writers to those who are just now coming online or have yet to come online.

    I’m working on this “project” today …

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