Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Blog Snobbery

I've been noting with interest the rise, fall and apparent demise of the experiment that was 2000 Bloggers.

The short story version of it was that a bloke called Tino decided to take a snapshot of the blogosphere, a sort of first come, first serve scrapbook. The fundamental idea of his project was to showcase 2,000 blogs - warts and all. The more established great and the good, alongside the humble offerings of novices... the interesting eye catching blogs, alongside the mundane everyday ones.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, this began to throw the link valuing system into a little bit of chaos, causing less established blogs to gain ground on the big guns.

I can understand how this can sometimes be a bad thing, the people who would be most likely to look for these sort of projects and exploit them, would be entrepreneurs, viral marketeers and corporate bloggers... and we all know how tedious and annoying those blogs often are (when I use traffic exchange programmes I always filter out business and marketing blogs).

However, I've noticed in the comments of some of the detractors, an air of snobbery and ego. They fear that an increase in ranking terms for the lowest common denominator will damage their readership and will dilute the purity of the blogosphere. In effect what they are saying is "You can't come up here! You aren't good enough, aren't professional enough, aren't intelligent, humorous or insightful enough to join us in the ranks of the elite!"

It's hokum. Worse than that it's a form of electronic fascism. This is not the Roman Empire, we are not divided into patricians and plebeians. We are together, an online example of global diversity.

Don't misunderstand me, there are some wonderful blogs out there... important ones too. Blogs that expose the political machinations of corrupt governments, blogs that seek to expand human understanding between different cultures... and many of these are wonderfully researched.

When it comes to my blog, I have no delusions of global takeover. My hope is that over time, people will be touched by the things that I write about. I don't care if I'm of the moment or on message with the topics of the day, that's nice... but it's just a bonus. What really matters to me is if somebody finds my blog on a search engine in a decade and is touched by something I wrote say... last year, then as far as I'm concerned I've done my job. All I seek to do is pass on what I have learned, or share joy and pain in equal measure... in the hope that future readers may know that they are not alone.

I believe that blogs should be allowed to stand and fall by the quality of their content and not by their reputation or press. If that means that a new kid on the block starts making inroads into the readership of the heavy hitters, simply because they get lucky with a few links and establish themselves, so be it. This happens all the time in nature, the dominant male of many species community groups eventually gets toppled by some upstart, it is the way of things. Similarly how can the saplings in a rain forest grow, if the big trees don't fall down every now and then, leaving a gap in the canopy?

I'm not completely against protectionism with regard to the blogosphere, I just feel it should be like the Galapagos Islands. We protect it from the outside interference of those who are intent on changing it's nature... but when it comes to the natural development of what people blog about and who sets the agenda, let the people decide. If they see something of note, then they will comment on it, link to it and spread the word.

Have faith in the fellowship of bloggers.

1 comment:

  1. Nick,

    I've been really interested to note people's reaction to this too. From a blog post on Technorati it appears they have reacted badly to this and I think even freezed the amount of links that participants were getting--I don't think this was more than 30 or so for anyone to begin with, though the further people were up on the page the more links they likely got because of people linking earlier on.

    How sad to me though that people are already trying to create rules and, to some extent, try to institutionalize the blogosphere. Don't we have enough of that in real life?!

    ReplyDelete

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