The view from the Ivory Tower ain't always the best

Hugh asks an interesting question at Gaping Void, then gives an equally interesting answer:
"Do A-Listers have a responsibility to link to Z-Listers?" I think not. Even if you've got a huge amount readers, it's your blog, not the blogosphere's blog.


Hugh's exactly right. He has every right to totally ignore any blogger that's not an A-Lister.

But my question is, 'Why in the world would you want to do that?'

When you start deciding which blogger's content is or is not worthy of your attention, based on something as arbitrary as their link count, you aren't hurting them, you're hurting yourself.

Which goes back to my original question: "Why in the world would you want to do that?"





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posted by Mack Collier @ 9:34 AM,

9 Comments:

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous hugh macleod said...

I find myself linking more and more to friends of mine. People I know personally, and more and more, have business interests with.

Some are A-Listers, most aren't. But the blogosphere is getting more and more personal to me, and less about "traffic" and "readership".

 
At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Drew McLellan said...

Mack,

I suppose it depends on the purpose of your blog. But assuming it is to serve your readers and add value -- you link to the blog posts that do that. Regardless of who wrote them. You (universal you...not you) might think the blog author is a complete jerk. But, if he/she has something to say that adds to the conversation, you should link to it.

I think Hugh is right. By our very nature, we tend to link to people we know and like, because we spend more time reading their stuff.

But in the end, just like any other aspect of business -- take care of the customer and the rest will just happen.

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"I find myself linking more and more to friends of mine. People I know personally, and more and more, have business interests with.

Some are A-Listers, most aren't. But the blogosphere is getting more and more personal to me, and less about "traffic" and "readership"."

Now if you'd only said that in your original post! I haven't been the victim of a linkbaiting ploy, have I? ;)

If the Z-List meme proved anything, it was that the rules have changed in the blogosphere. The A-Listers as a group have lost much of their influence, simply because there are so many more bloggers now.

The idea that 'I have to link to Scoble/Guy/Jarvis/Seth' because it will boost my traffic, has never been more irrelevant. The best way to grow your blog IMO is to constantly seek out new sources of information and new voices. It grows our community, and it grows our own knowledge base.

Anyone that lets Technorati tell them who they should read, quite frankly gets what they deserve.

 
At 2:44 PM, Anonymous David Armano said...

"Anyone that lets Technorati tell them who they should read, quite frankly gets what they deserve."

Swap out the word Technorati for Alexa and think about this some more...

Here's my take for what it is worth. So called "A-listers" and "Z-listers" do exist--to deny that there exists a "hierarchy" in the blogosphere is kind of unrealistic. It doesn't make it this right, it just is. If life was more fair, we would treat everyone, as equals. But we don't do we? Unless you are Mother Theresa. She did better than anyone else I can think of in the past 100 years.

But this "hierarchy" has nothing to do with quality. It's like the music biz where an undiscovered band can actually be much better than the band with the big record deal. However, like the music biz, if you are really good, chances are you will eventually be discovered.

I recently came across Nick Wilson's "List" of bloggers which he describes as his "personal A-list". Some on the list I had never heard of before but are excellent blogs. Maybe what's changing is that we are all creating our "personal A-lists" as more blogs get out there.

Sometimes we publish these personal lists in our blogrolls. That's how I've approached mine anyway. If we each have our "personal A-lists" which add value to our lives--then that becomes more important than any ranking system out there.

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

""Anyone that lets Technorati tell them who they should read, quite frankly gets what they deserve."

Swap out the word Technorati for Alexa and think about this some more..."

Agreed. Anyone that lets Alexa tell them who to read deserves what they get. I'm not doing the Top 25 for the 'A-List' blogs. They don't need the attention, and it certainly hasn't helped me for them to be featured. I'm doing it to help show people that there's other great blogs out there besides a handful of A-Listers.

"Here's my take for what it is worth. So called "A-listers" and "Z-listers" do exist--to deny that there exists a "hierarchy" in the blogosphere is kind of unrealistic. It doesn't make it this right, it just is."

I've never argued that there wasn't a hierarchy, I've just always wondered why some bloggers still to this day believe that if another blogger doesn't have a set number of links, that they are 'unworthy' of their attention. That fascinated me when my blog had 0 links, and it still amazes me today when Technorati claims I have enough links to be considered an A-Lister myself.

Maybe I shouldn't care, but I think it actually IS our responsibility to link to and read other bloggers, especially those that have fewer links than we do. And I don't really think it's that we owe it to them to do so, but moreso, we owe it to ourselves.

 
At 8:34 PM, Anonymous CK said...

"Maybe I shouldn't care, but I think it actually IS our responsibility to link to and read other bloggers, especially those that have fewer links than we do."

Ah Mack, no wonder you're tops on CK's List (a list that truly is important. well, to me). I heart your ethics. You know which bloggers I care about? Those who have brains and kindness. I can (and do) watch the news and trade pubs for all else.

I get to put my ideas out there, ask questions, have thoughtful people tell me when I'm right and wrong. I get to share knowledge through the Book Club and post at MarketingProfs on everything from mantras to free condoms to Ozzy Osbourne. I get to meet people from all over the world and work with people I wouldn't have otherwise met.

That's what it's about. And that rocks ;-).

 
At 10:06 PM, Anonymous Gavin Heaton said...

I love the idea of personal A-lists. That is partly how the Z-lsit came about -- if I remember rightly.

Yesterday I heard about a Yahoo Pipes setup that allows you to create exactly that -- your personal A-list.

Of course, like any living and breathing thing, A-lists or Z-lists sometimes need new blood to continue to thrive. That is why I think you need to be open to new blogs ... and why I felt the Z-list was great. It is also partly why I am coming around to MyBlogLog -- it allows you to choose how far you would like to surf Armano's influence ripples.

 
At 3:46 PM, Anonymous David Reich said...

I'm new to this, but I think you should link to whatever blogs you like or feel might give your readers something of interest. If you link to someone who's not on anyone's list, A or Z or in between, good for you. You're doing a service to others who may not know about it. They can check it out and if it meets their needs, visit it again. If not, they don't come back. But at least you've given them a choice.

 
At 11:59 AM, Blogger Jim Symcox said...

Mack,

I agree with Drew. If you believe something has value it makes sense to point it out to your own readers.

I also find that I have spurts of reading blogs and commenting and then I get locked into my ivory tower until I realise what's happened or someone comments.

Jim

 

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