Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Z-List and the Creation of Communities

As many of you are aware, the Z-List is again taking off. Since mid-December when the Z-List first started to spread, there have been certain criticisms of the list. The main complaints revolve around the fact that it IS just a list. It's hard to tell what each blog is about, and what the subject matter is.

But a few members of the Z-List have taken it upon themselves to address these issues. First, Becky decided she wanted to categorize all the blogs. Then, Gavin and Sharon decided to also write a short description for each blog. Yes I cringed just at the thought of how much work this will be!

I've visited countless blogs for the first time because of the Z-List, and left numerous comments on blogs and to bloggers that I had never previously heard of. On one of the blogs, someone left a comment in response to the Z-List saying something like 'This is just a way to get links'. I added that if that was all you wanted from the Z-List, that would likely be all you would get.

And the Z-List does give everyone on it a buncha links. But as we can tell from the actions of Sharon, Gavin and Becky, it also gives community. Bloggers that had likely never heard of each other a few weeks ago, now share a sense of ownership in something bigger than themselves, and want to see that creation grow and thrive.

I constantly hear from companies wanting to know how they can get customers excited about their products, how they can grow their communities. I hear from companies wanting to know how they can start blogging to grow their business. I always say that you have to position your marketing and communication from the customer's point of view. You have to give your customers a reason to be excited about your company, and give them reasons and the tools to share that excitement with others. When that happens, a community can start to form.

I really wish companies could see this. People WANT to believe in something bigger than themselves. They WANT to believe in each other. They want to HELP each other. But they don't want to be sold to, and they don't want to buy from companies that tell them that they only want to talk to them in order to take their money.

Sorry, but your company making money isn't really that exciting to the people you are making that money off of. You'll have to give us something more to earn our excitement.

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Anonymous said...

Mack, thanks for creating the Z-list community! I am forever in your debt, as I don't think I would have found as many great blogs as quickly as I have through this group. You rock!


Anonymous said...

Mack - I caught the Z-List towards the end of its first run and I couldn't be happier I found it. And know, because I caught it so late, I got very few links into my site. That's fine with me - what was important was getting to know new blogs and new people I haven't previously met. Great work!

Anonymous said...

One of the interesting things about going back over the Z-list sites is that you get a really good sense, very quickly, of the focus and energy of the site and its author.

And you are right ... generating some links and traffic is only one step. Once visitors come, you need to have content that is going to engage those visitors or they won't be back!

C'mon Z-listers ... pick up the game!

Anonymous said...

Yes it's good to see that the Z-List didn't hit a dead end at squidoo.

I was just extremely flattered that Gavin put me on the list when the it first took off. I didn't really understand at the time that it would result in more links/higher ranking/more traffic. It was just fun to participate in the meme, to be included in the group.

It'll be fun to work on this project. Looking forward to getting to know some new blogs/bloggers!

CB Whittemore said...

Mack, you are absolutely right about the Z-list! I have met fabulous bloggers thanks to the Z-list and have featured some of their guest posts on my blog! I'll soon be contributing a post to a Z-list blog. I've become aware of more high-quality and relevant blogs through the Z-list than I ever thought possible and absolutely feel a part of a rich and vibrant community!

Mack Collier said...

And that's the great thing about the Z-List, if you are just using it to boost your links and get traffic that's fine, but you have to realize that after 6 months, Technorati wipes all those links off. So if you've used the Z-List to build and grow your community, you'll be set and keep most of your links, if not all of them. But if you're only looking for what you can GET from being on the list (ie, boosting your link-count), then it's going to come back to bite you, literally ;)

But that's definitely not going to be a problem for most of the members of the Z-List, I'm happy to say.

Bob G said...

Amen, Amen. Amen - it ain't about's about giving back and giving to each other...We all need a boost from time to time -

Gavin's right - again - to get readers coming back it takes content! And the Z-list is filled with content! Rich and vibrant!

Kleio the Muse said...

I have learned so much since I joined the Z-list. Now, all I could say is that... it's indeed a very enriching experience for me. Met quite a number of interesting bloggers and made some new friends along the way. It's like reaching out and truly exploring the world beyond where we are. I had to say my first perception of this list was way too shallow. Now I am looking at the big picture. Horray for Mack.

Mack Collier said...

I just put the list out there Kleio, people like Gavin, Sharon, and Becky ran with it and turned it into the community it has become.