Class Warfare And The Blogging A List

March 17, 2007

I feel the need to chime in on this, even though it’s a rather odd subject: Whether a blogging “A-List” exists and whether there is some conspiracy to keep lesser bloggers in the doldrums. You might consider the former “blue collar” class bloggers.

It seems the blogging D through Z list uses this mythical A-list as a justification for gaming or singing up for nefarious, link-destructive schemes programs like PayPerPost or 2000 Bloggers to get ahead.

I commented a bit on Tony Hung’s Deep Jive Interests (I suggest checking out the comments there) but here are some further thoughts, using my own experience as an example.

This Webomatica blog is proof positive that you can start a tech blog from nowhere and get ahead. I’m nowhere near A-list (and never will be) but am somewhere in the B-C list territory. Occasionally, my posts show up on Techmeme and I’m around the 20,000 level at Technorati. You can read about all that here. And this is after less than a year of “serious” blogging.

First, I do think Jason Calacanis has it partly right. A lot of getting ahead in blogging is to put in the hard work. I would add these tips for anybody looking to move forward in the blogosphere:

  1. Blog often. You have to blog at least once a day if not more, in the beginning. I’m still shooting for three posts a day.
  2. Figure out a niche and stick to it.
  3. Learn the technical stuff. Get up to speed on all the means of aggregation to your disposal, Feedburner, Technorati, pinging, trackbacks.
  4. Read other people’s blogs regularly. Check out Techmeme, Megite, and Tailrank. Find some blogs you like and do what they do. Blogging in a vacuum sucks (no pun intended).
  5. Comment on other blogs. Follow the golden rule. If you want blogs to link to you, link to blogs. It will seem one-sided at first but we all start somewhere.
  6. Read up on how to write. Meaning, how to write a good headline, how to make a post interesting, how to hold people’s attention. You can’t just blast poorly structured thoughts out there in rough draft form and expect anybody to take you seriously.
  7. Write posts that you want to read. A big YouTube link and one line saying “This is cool! Check it out!” pisses me off. So I refrain from doing that as much as possible – write actual content.
  8. Figure out why you’re blogging. For money? Attention? So you can be seen as the expert on aluminum siding? Don’t waste time on tactics that conflict with your purpose.
  9. Set some goals for yourself. Right now I’m trying to crack 20,000 in Technorati and get 1,000 uniques a day. That’s what is important to me; and I don’t worry about other blogs “keeping” me from doing it.

But… that said, do I think a blogging A-List exists? You bet I do. Someone famous like say, Robert Scoble, or Leo Laporte, can blog about clipping their toenails and get links and comments up the wazoo. But are they out to “get” all us less connected bloggers? Heck no. Do they have some conspiracy to not link to us? No. But do I care? Not really.

I think about the A-list this way: Will I ever, in my first life, hang with Donald Trump, be a self-made millionaire, or hang out with Parker Posey? I’d lay some safe odds, no. Do I care? Does it ruin my day? No. So why would I expect with blogging would it be any different?

As far as blogging goes, I’m happy where I’m at right now. Everything else is icing on the cake. As I’ve often said, I’m not trying to start a business here and quit my day job. I’m just having fun and every once in a while, someone comments on a post and that’s awesome. For example, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine Mark Andreessen would comment on this blog, and one day: wow.

Additional Reading: Lorelle on WordPress, Jim Kukral, WinExtra, The Last Podcast, afewgoodpens

Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Mr. K, you’ll always be A-list in my book!!!

    Well, maybe not, but this blog still R0XorZ :-)

  2. webomatica says:

    I’m shooting for the B+ list! But wait – aren’t you buds with Guy Kawasaki? Or is that just the other Dave… :)

  3. I definitely like your list of tips a lot better :)

  4. webomatica says:

    Hi Steven, cool, thanks! I try to answer my phone calls, too :|

    Keep it up at WinExtra, you’re in my feed reader…

  5. Dale says:

    Great tips, very nice post, especially useful for those of us in the early stages (like me) who are trying to figure out where to put our energies and what to learn.

    And thanks loads for the trackback; you and Lorelle are my first two! Yay!

  6. webomatica says:

    Hi Dale, cool, I try to link to folks that have different opinions on the topic at hand. And thanks for commenting – I’ll make it a point to check out your blog in the future…!

  7. Dempsey says:

    I’d just like to say I hope you do get to hang out with Parker Posey. As far as the other stuff, what’s is it the commenters say? …. Meh.

  8. webomatica says:

    Hi Dempesy, I just love it when people notice my little jokes I leave for the “in” crowd. I’ll have to do another post (or a series) on Parker Posey movies. I at one time had a slight fanboy obsession. I think I should get through my Prisoner and Radiohead series before I tackle that, though.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  9. Dempsey says:

    Yeah, right. “slight fanboy obsession” You can lie to me brother! (insert wink here).

    Since I’m a librarian… well you can guess what Party Girl means to me. I haven’t seen all her movies but it is always a treat. Good looking and funny. What’s not to obsess about?

    Blog on.

  10. webomatica says:

    Party Girl = #1. I also like Ms. Posey in Best In Show and Waiting For Guffman. Oh, and this looks totally awesome – possible TV show starring Parker Posey with the former creator of Gilmore Girls. I hope it’s good.

  11. “It seems the blogging D through Z list uses this mythical A-list as a justification for gaming or singing up for nefarious, link-destructive schemes like PayPerPost or 2000 Bloggers to get ahead.”

    Grouping together like-minded individuals and building blogrolls (links) is not destructive. Links are free, like hugs, and should be given and received generously. Links are NOT currency and those who continue to proclaim that links are worth protecting and hording are preventing the Internet from growing to it’s full potential.

    Are you truly satisfied with the current simplistic link counting algorithms that measure website?

    Do you honestly believe a non-human eye can gauge you blog’s worth?

    Don’t you feel we’re capable of producing something better than Technorati and Alexa?

    Don’t we deserve better?

  12. webomatica says:

    Hey Elaine. My paragraph is meant in the sense that, I’ve found the best way to get links is to just write decent content on a regular basis. I outlined the steps that have worked for me.

    There is a subtle difference from the steps I outlined above and joining a group that will give you links just automatically. I find the best quality links and relationships I’ve formed have been from people who linked to my content on their own volition because they read something on my blog and felt it was interesting enough to link to it.

    I have never paid for a link on this blog. I’ve never asked anybody to link to me. I’ve never done a link exchange. I just write regularly and I’ve been very pleased with the organic growth this blog has had.

    Anyhow, thanks for visiting and commenting, I appreciate varying opinions as it keeps everyone thinking.

  13. You may have meant it simply as an introduction, but what you really did was name call. You called the 2000 Bloggers a “nefarious, link-destructive scheme” though I truly doubt you’ve bothered to take a good, hard look at what it actually is. See for yourself at http://www.2kbloggers.com – I recommend the “about” page.

    And the fact is that at a certain point quality links versus quantity doesn’t seem to matter, because if it did the A listers and Technorati wouldn’t be so threatened by large blogrolls.

  14. You may have meant it simply as an introduction, but what you really did was name call. You called the 2000 Bloggers a “nefarious, link-destructive scheme” though I truly doubt you've bothered to take a good, hard look at what it actually is. See for yourself at http://www.2kbloggers.com – I recommend the “about” page.

    And the fact is that at a certain point quality links versus quantity doesn't seem to matter, because if it did the A listers and Technorati wouldn't be so threatened by large blogrolls.

  15. webomatica says:

    Elaine, this is a long discussion that I have probably put more thought into than many of the A-listers out there (check out this previous post that I think you read).

    This is just my personal opinion, which I go through in the linked to post, but I think that 2,000 blogs is inherently less valuable than a list of say, 10 blogs that have been personally selected by the blog owner, from a usability perspective alone.

    The only difference between the approach of 2,000 bloggers and how I’m seeing things is whether a link should be based on just joining a club or whether it’s based on a consious decision by me to include. For example, every blog in my blog roll is one that I personally read on a regular basis. That’s a criteria I came up with on my own, but it’s a distinction from just automatically adding anybody to my blogroll that signs up on a list.

    Secondly, I feel like I’m also doing my part to link to anybody who visits this site by having open comments (no follow on the links). So just by commenting here, you have some links to your sites. However, I do delete comments that I feel aren’t on topic. That’s where the human filter comes in. This in itself may be seen as “link destructive” by A-listers but I don’t particularly care.

    We all have our lines drawn arbitrarially in the sand with whatever we feel comfortable with on our blogs.Yes, I’m straddling the fence between A and Z list. That’s a comfortable place for me.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  16. “This is just my personal opinion, which I go through in the linked to post, but I think that 2,000 blogs is inherently less valuable than a list of say, 10 blogs that have been personally selected by the blog owner, from a usability perspective alone.”

    Well, that’s exactly it. It is your personal opinion. And others have different opinions. The value I see in the 2k bloggers is the varied and diverse discussion. Part of what makes the blogosphere so cool is the diversity.

    Here’s the thing: the people who complain that the 2000 Bloggers is just a link farm are the same people who never took the time to really look around at what it is. They’re not the people who are infatuated with faces, trying to predict what blog will come when they click. They’re not the people with an artistic bent who want to make a mosaic or collage. They’re not the people who spend time “getting to know their neighbors” or contributing to the communal blog.

    They don’t ‘get it’ so they criticize it.

    And for what it’s worth, the bloggers included in the 2000 have been personally selected. Tino chose the first 1200 or so and I’ve chosen the rest. Yes, they are self-selected in that they come and ask to join, but I don’t include every blog that wants to join. In fact, I’ve denied at least 10 blogs in the last two days. And I kicked out the first 300 who didn’t ask to join. I didn’t want the bad karma of stealing photos or including bloggers who didn’t like the idea.

    Moreover, each photo of each blogger has be individually cropped. Again, Tino did the first batch and I’ve done the second. Sometimes I crop them off to the side, sometimes I do them straight on, Sometimes I get in close to their face and other times I leave the wider view with a toy or cat in sight. Sometimes I use the photo they submit and other times I find another photo of them on their blog.

    My point is that project is subjective and you don’t see the value because you don’t want to.

  17. webomatica says:

    Elaine, you do have a slightly combatative attitude that I don’t completely understand. Anyhow, I’m just about to publish a post that I hope will ease your drive somewhat, in response to your “snuffleupagus” post.

    I do hear what you’re saying. In retrospect, I was certainly off the cuff with that “nefarious” remark and I’ll correct it, if that will make you feel better.

    And one last thought, i somewhat think your efforts may be a bit misdirected. There are plenty of A-listers out there who don’t think they exist or wouldn’t even respond to your comments. I’m more in agreement with you than you may think.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  18. Blog Bloke says:

    Is it any wonder why I’ve been saying for years now that the Blogosphere is Rigged!

  19. hermes belt says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new surveys are added- checkbox and so every time a comment is added I get four emails with just one comment.