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Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Blogosphere is Rigged

(Un)equal Opportunity Bloggers

Jessica Guynn poses the question:
Why is this supposedly democratic medium recreating real-world inequality? A blogarchy has emerged from the Internet equivalent of an "American Idol" popularity contest. Blog BlokeThis elite clique of bloggers -- the so-called A-listers who get checked out more often than Lindsay Lohan -- attract the largest online audience. All those eyeballs can deliver cachet, cash and the coveted contract for a blook (a book based on a blog).
Jessica goes on to discuss inequality in the blogosphere where it seems that 1% is getting 99% of the traffic. But she goes too far when she whines that most of the A-listers are men.

She seems to have forgotten that the Huffington Post, Ann Althouse, the Wonkette et al are blogs run by women A-listers. So I don't want to turn this into a pissing match between the sexes.

Trust me when I say there are a whole lot of male bloggers that are in the same boat. No matter how hard they try and tweak their sites they just can't seem to crack the barrier.

But the truth of the matter is there is a disproportionate amount of traffic going to only a privileged few that have eked out there own network hierarchy within the blogosphere.
And so, a complex social phenomenon becomes purely mathematical: The more links pointing to you -- especially from big-time bloggers -- the more readers you will have (according to the method of judging blog popularity by number of links)... talk about creating a powerful, self-reinforcing and very exclusive network.

The Blogosphere is Rigged

Unfortunately this sort of BS becomes self-perpetuating when blog search sites such as the Truth Laid Bear, Technorati, and Sphere et al reinforce the A-list mentality with their stupid juvenile ratings. Even Google's Blog Search has a "Sort by relevance" filter which is the default setting.

The A-listers bank on the gullibility of blogging newbies who don't know any better. After all, we just want to belong don't we? So we hang around the A-lister's like a pack of stray dogs at the corner store hoping they will throw us a bone or two (i.e. links).

Search Filters:

We can't even install a news reader today without a ready-made A-list, and a perusal of the search engines (I call them search filters) will quickly point us in their direction.

So where does that leave the rest of the 99%? On the outside looking in that's where. Like I said before, the Blogosphere has turned into one big frat party. And here I thought I left jerks like that back in school. What a crock. Feh!

More Signal, Less Noise:

These blogarchy types subscribe to the theory of "More Signal, Less Noise". Meaning -- YOU are the noise.

Sure, some of the blogarchy deserve to be there. There's no questioning that. BUT I can find better blog writers any day of the week than most of these so-called A-listers.

So here is a dirty little secret for all of you not yet in the know. The blogosphere has been rigged. The majority of the A-listers only got where they are because they have high profile jobs, are members of elite blog networks they have created, or were linked to by other A-listers that they sucked up to. It is a self-serving megalomaniac gang of social climbers that there ever was.

So what can you do about it?

Well for one thing you can stop blogrolling these A-list nincompoops. Don't give them any of your link love. If you still have a morbid curiosity and want them within easy reach then just bookmark them. But whatever you do DO NOT give them a pagerank boost by linking to them in your blog.

Start your own blogroll with bloggers who have a similar focus. Visit them often and link to their posts. Comment on their posts and create your own cosmos support group. That's a good start.

Or better still, just suck up to them and hope you get linked. Just kidding (I think). Show me love. ;-)
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9 Comments: 'Reach out and FISK someone'...

At 11:03 PM, Anonymous seth said...

Wonderfully said. You put into words what I have known for a long time.

 Edit Comment
At 7:58 AM, Blogger justacoolcat said...

I've written on this topic so many times, you struck close to home when you indicated the problem is with new bloggers not knowing where to start. Maybe it's time someone started a portal for new bloggers that doesn't involve A-List.

 Edit Comment
At 3:06 PM, Blogger FISK! said...

Sounds great justacoolcat but as always everything eventually equates to money and who's willing to make the effort. Perhaps MySpace? ;-)

 Edit Comment
At 11:59 AM, Blogger justacoolcat said...

I think Myspace would have been a great idea for this two years ago, but it's pretty saturated at this point.

You're right about everything equating to money at sooner or later, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing, it just usually is.

 Edit Comment
At 3:06 PM, Blogger FISK! said...

I suppose in a sense MySpace is already the common person's network. But it seems to cater to the younger crowd.

It is so huge that it is also an impetus behind the technorati et al for initiating filters to block them out. Unfortunately the rest of us in the middle are also being caught in the squeeze and that suits the a-listers just fine.

How 'bout we call our new blogosphere 'OurSpace'?

 Edit Comment
At 3:12 PM, Blogger FISK! said...

Yeah, I like that. 'OurSpace'. Any financial backers listening out there?

 Edit Comment
At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Leroy said...

Hey, just wanted to tell you that your site is AWESOME. I'm sure you already knew that, but I felt the compulsive urge to reaffirm it. Keep up the good work.

 Edit Comment
At 12:51 PM, Blogger justacoolcat said...

I like it 'OurSpace', it's just begging for a lawsuit, and that has to be a good thing, right?

Sue us, give us attention, and don't forget to sign up for your free OurSpace account.

 Edit Comment
At 4:51 PM, Blogger FISK! said...

I'm lovin' it! But just remember it was my idea first or I'll sue.

 Edit Comment

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