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The Blogging A-List Is The Matrix, It Does, & Doesn’t Exist

Sometimes I get so fired about about something that I just have to sit down and crank it out into a blog entry. Now is one of those times, and it’s best I do it now so I can relax with a cold, green Harp and relax for the rest of the evening. After all, it is St. Patrick’s day, and I’m Ukranian, heh.


The backstory: Tony says the a-listers refuse to acknowledge the ‘blue-collar bloggers’. Calacanis, an a-lister target, says the a-list doesn’t exist.

Tony, you’re right, and wrong. Blue collar bloggers do exist, but they’re not in the a-list because it really doesn’t exist beyond an idea conceived by those who aren’t in it. Again, the a-list is nothing more than an idea. It exists in people’s minds, yet, it’s not real. It’s like the Matrix.

Jason, you, on the other hand, are ignoring the reality that perception is in fact the true reality. That is, dear sir, is that of course there is no real a-list, just as their is no real Santa Claus either by the way. However, there is a very, very real “perception” of Santa (especially by my 5-year-old), and on the same meme, there is the same very, very real perception of the supposed a-list in the real blogosphere. Sorry, like it or not, that is the reality.

You, Jason, do not get to define the perception as true or false, mostly due to your current status.

It’s the same as a billionaire trying to say that Walmart sucks because it kills the little guy. But guess what? That billionaire doesn’t have to shop there, he doesn’t know exactly how much Walmart means to someone who is forced to shop there to feed his family. His perception is NOT the vast majority. Therefore, it’s the minority, and last time I checked, the majority is usually what drives just about everything in this world (except a US election).

Is it possible to end this a-list, z-list conversation?

No, it’s not, because this is what humans do. We feel comfortable when we class ourselves into levels of status. It’s not going to change anytime soon.

By the way, the Big Brown Box is very real :)

Now, where’s my bottle opener.

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17 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Tony
    March 17, 2007 at 8:59 pm #

    You’re right Jim … its a tiresome conversation that I wasn’t expecting to be dug up on a cold (Toronto, anyway) March weekend. I wrote the post sometime in February.

    Having said that, does the A-list only exist in the minds of those who know about it or care about it? Of course not.

    Its a functional definition, not an existential one — and you can define it with any number of functional metrics you want. Practically, of course, A-list guys are heavy weights who have an enormous amount of clout with their blogs and their opinions.

    And they are not just opinion makers, they are *news* makers. Jason Calacanis reformats Netscape into a social bookmarking / news site. That’s actually news.

    Steve Rubel *not* commenting on the Wal-mart fakeblog fiasco — that’s actually news (debatable as news, but news).

    Dave Winer talking about a theoretically open source iPod killer (with Jason Calacanis, no less) — that’s news too.

    These are all tech-oriented examples, but I’ll stand by my assertion that it *does* exist, and it is far and away removed from most bloggers — no matter what their best efforts are to break into it (if they so wanted to).

    t @ dji

  2. Steven Hodson
    March 17, 2007 at 11:17 pm #

    Sorry Jim but I agree with Tony on this .. the A-List – the whole Technorati listing does exist and is used as a value marker for tech bloggers. For those that see an income from it the A-List is extremely palatable and their value is based on it and other rating systems.

  3. Mack Collier
    March 18, 2007 at 7:27 pm #

    Jim the A-List definitely exists, but honestly I think this isn’t a dust-up between the A-Listers and everyone else, I think it’s between the A-Listers, and the B-Listers, ie the guys that are ALMOST up on that A-List level, but seem to be struggling to clear the hump. They no doubt feel if the A-Listers would just toss them a coupla links, their star in the blogosphere would take off.

    Of course some A-Listers claim they don’t exist, which is of course absurd. But it’s also as absurd to say that A-Listers are purposely holding the B-Listers back.

    The bottom line is that we bloggers as a group are a fairly secure bunch, and we’ve been known to like to bitch over meaningless stuff on occasion ;)

  4. Andy Beard
    March 18, 2007 at 8:43 pm #

    Mack – my concern is that A listers can effectively shape the story in such a way that it is almost impossible for another opinion to be heard.

    People who disagree with an A listers opinion on something rarely get links … from anyone who wants to be in the A Listers good books.

    Robert Scoble is one of the exceptions, because he will link to people with opposing views to his own. The problem you then face is that it is quite possible that anyone linking to the story will almost certainly agree with Robert and not read the opposing view

  5. Jim Kukral
    March 18, 2007 at 9:03 pm #

    You know, doesn’t it really seem that it all comes down to one thing when it comes to discussing the supposed a-list?

    You’re either web-famous, or your not. And you got there because you A. sold a company a trillion bucks, B. You wrote a book, or C. You work for some giant super brand company (Apple, MS). Ok, yeah, you worked hard to get their too, but c’mon, those things helped.

    I think the supposed a-list is really just a mix match of those types.

  6. Mack Collier
    March 18, 2007 at 9:38 pm #

    “Mack – my concern is that A listers can effectively shape the story in such a way that it is almost impossible for another opinion to be heard.

    People who disagree with an A listers opinion on something rarely get links … from anyone who wants to be in the A Listers good books.”

    Andy I’m going to repeat my comment from the Deep Jive post, but in a year’s time, I have had a grand total of ONE A-Lister link to me, and he didn’t even mention me or my blog by name. But I’m on pace for 600 links in a year’s time, and it’s likely that 599 of them are going to come from non A-Listers.

    Are there still some A-Listers that are only linking to other A-Listers? Of course there are, but who cares? These bloggers are going to eventually go away, because the rest of us are growing while they are running sideways. A lot of the same bloggers that I am friends with that were linking to me last summer, are still linking to me. But now instead of having 50 links and 50 visitors a day like they did last summer, now they have 500 links and 500 visitors a day. Those A-Listers are still ignoring me, but you know what, I don’t have to pay much attention to them either if I don’t want to.

  7. Andy Beard
    March 19, 2007 at 7:51 am #

    Mack I am not saying it is impossible to grow certain metrics, especially with smart use of memes, blogroll widgets, themes, plugins, PPC advertising etc

    My blog is only a few months old, I do get linked to, but it is most often for when I provide content that someone can use to demonstrate a point they want to make – thus agreeing with someone is much more likely to get a link, even if that is effectively the “echo chamber”

    There are A lists within niches as well – as an example there is effectively an A list within SEO circles. I have had a few useful links but it is rarely to any of the SEO articles I write, because some of what I discuss contradicts the status quo.

    The following is and extreme example offline – state controlled media – that also acts as a way to prevent the truth leaking out. It isn’t totally effective, but overall the vast majority will only see one side of a story.
    Just look at how many people went on an anti-MyBlogLog meme about tracking Adsense. It wasn’t based on any facts, and people have been using MBL stats in discussions with Adsense to question click data without any problems.

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    October 29, 2007 at 5:18 am #

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    November 4, 2007 at 9:38 am #

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  11. Stephan Miller
    January 31, 2008 at 12:44 pm #

    You are right. We are all pack animals pretending we are something more. But when it comes down to it, watching the Discovery channel can tell you a lot about human interaction.

  12. handy karten
    February 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    it’s all about the ego. totally stupid.

  13. George
    March 20, 2008 at 9:35 am #

    You should just take the blue pill and keep believing in the A-List.

    AND WALMART does suck, but the blue pill will fix that as well…

    George’s last blog post..Seven Ways to Make Your Own Money Repellant

  14. ncu
    April 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm #

    Jim, I fully agree with you!


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