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Follow Up: The A-List Is Still Dead

Don’t worry, the a-list is still dead. I don’t think the usual suspects are too happy about it though. Most did retreat quietly under the mantra of “a more intimate experience with my readers” by creating “private” newsletters. The rest, well, they just keep doing what they were doing.

The fact remains though, my original thoughts have held true months and months later. Here’s a rehash of my opinions on why the a-list died.

The a-list died because of social networking tools. It used to be that connecting with thousands of people could only be done if you had massive reach like an a-lister. However, with tools like Friendfeed and Twitter, anyone can reach out and “friend” up with anyone, causing millions of new connections of regular people.

The a-list died because the sharing of information became easier to do. In the past, the a-list was in charge of spreading the virus, but today is no longer needed, we can do it ourselves.

The a-list died because we used to have to rely on them to innovate and guide us to the new things. But we don’t need that anymore. We’ve reached a point where we have the knowledge and the tools to try things ourselves.

The a-list died because we’re tired of them and their incessant drama and posturing for attention. We all just decided enough was enough and called bullshit. It was bound to happen.

The a-list died because guys like Loren Feldman exposed them and made them just regular. You may or may not like Loren or his shtick, but there’s no denying he was a big part of satirizing them and bringing them crashing down to the ground.

I find some severe irony, however, that at the very same time the a-list died, Loren Feldman, they guy who helped unravel it, became it’s newest member just at the beginning of the end of it. Poor timing I guess.

So where are we now about 3 months later? It’s still dead, but I’m not sure that the old guarde is ready to let it go just yet.

Calacanis and Arrington are up to their old tricks.

Summary: Jason publishes blog post announcing layoffs at Mahalo. (I thought he wasn’t blogging anymore)?
Techcrunch (Arrington) blogs it.
Jason publishes “private” newsletter with more details.
Techcrunch publishes “private” newsletter.
Jason goes off on Techcrunch on Friendfeed. “Respect my copyright!”

One big problem. Nobody is buying it. Here’s a few comments from the Friendfeed thread.

Does controversy as linkbait *solve* anything? Then current MSM must have world peace in their pocket… – Robert Worstell

Smells like link bait for all involved. TC gets controversy and links. Mahalo layoffs become background noise to same controversy. Net result more links to Mahalo and TC. – Alex Nesbitt

Tinfoil hats aside. Be honest. 6 months ago this shit worked. We all ate it up. Ohhh, controversy!!! Then we (me included) wrote our own blog posts about it, and linked to both of them, and made it even worse… All the while Jason and Techcrunch pulled the strings on our puppet.

I feel bad for Feldman, having worked his way from being a nobody in this scene and doing videos with me back in Jan 2007 before hardly anyone knew him. Hey, he had to start somewhere… at the bottom with me way back when.

I do give Loren credit for climbing the ladder all the way to having his butt kissed by Silicon valley “tweeps”. I mean, the guy is a case study for how to rise quickly. I appreciated the marketing/branding of it and I was a big supporter of his work since the beginning. Nicely done.

That’s why I wasn’t offended (too much) when I met him for the first time at a party in Las Vegas this summer and he pretended not to know me and sluffed me off. “Who are you?” That’s the line you pull on real celebrities who have egos, not on people who are real fans and just wanted to say hi.

It’s cool. I know I’m not on the a-list. I mean, I’m not even as popular as Arrington’s or Jason’s dogs, both of which I’m sure he remembers the names of. But he did know my name once.

In fact, I should have known that I was on the Z-list. Loren said so.

Scoble meanwhile is just being Scoble, albeit, with much less pomp these days. The crowds just aren’t there anymore for him or the other usual suspects, and again, it’s not their fault, nor do I think some of them even care, or about me and this stupid blog post about this stupid topic.

The future? I don’t think that they can bring it back either. There’s not enough puppet show interest left in the world. I could be wrong. You tell me.

So there’s my update. Ding, Dong! “THAT” A-list is still dead.

Next up… the new a-list is rising. And in good time, I’ll tell you who they are. Hint: They don’t come from silicon valley and they don’t do puppet shows. Less entertaining… more, gasp… reality. Subscribe to my blog to be notified when I update.

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24 Awesome Comments So Far

Don't be a stranger, join the discussion by leaving your own comment
  1. Scobleizer
    October 23, 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    The A-list has been dead for some time. I am crashing the Z-list party where all the reality is. Louis Gray tells me it's more fun. We'll see.

  2. Debra Conrad
    October 23, 2008 at 1:37 pm #

    A list (ers) still think that email marketing is the way to connect. Resistant to change is a hard habit to break.

    Today's email subject lines included:

    Here's How I Made $325,000 Download This

    Want My NEW Affiliate *Cash Cannon* ?

    I don't understand it…

    I give in… I'll tell you…

    the day John Carlton ripped me a new one

    A-listers using same old subject lines… the same old way…

    Who looks at these emails? Those that shouldn't be looking at the “latest and greatest” because they are wasting their money. Basic Internet Marketing skills can be learned from very smart people for Free. Yup… most of the newbie marketing tutorials are given freely by those that want to give… instead of take… take… take…

  3. Louis Gray
    October 23, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    There will always be people who are known well vs. those who are more anonymous. What some of the newer tools like FriendFeed, Twitter, etc have enabled is for people to grow an audience more quickly and assume those roles once harder to achieve. This also has led to traditional would-be A-listers growing frustrated with the new sites and avoiding them because their brand doesn't 100% carry over.

    But… I expect to see posts with your same headline here a few times a year. :-)

  4. Scobleizer
    October 23, 2008 at 6:42 pm #

    Louis: it's worse than that. Lots of A listers don't want to spend their time building traffic for FriendFeed, where they get no advertising benefit (er, page views). Me? I assume that the page view model is totally broken anyway and I want to be part of the “Live Web” which FriendFeed is the leader in. So that's where I'm spending most of my time lately. Has it hurt my brand? Absolutely. But who really gives a crap about that? I still am getting extraordinary access to interesting people and companies and I'm having extraordinary conversations every day. The rest of this stuff? Noise.

  5. Jim Kukral TheBizWebCoach
    October 23, 2008 at 8:43 pm #

    I'm in agreement with both of you guys.

    Nobody cares about this topic anymore, I realize that. I just thought a follow up was in order.

  6. Adam Singer
    October 23, 2008 at 9:01 pm #

    you still linked to them jim ;)

  7. Jim Kukral TheBizWebCoach
    October 23, 2008 at 9:17 pm #

    Haha, nice. True I guess.

  8. Mayank
    October 24, 2008 at 6:22 am #

    I gotta say – these kind of guys suck and they are shit and I don't know why people act so stupidly as if they are superior than others. And another thing which adam missed – you are also creating a controversy, although something which is worth commenting :)

  9. Mike
    October 24, 2008 at 6:40 pm #

    I personally do not listen to any of the “A” list and I never will, there are too many ways to get information this ways, I talk to my own group of people like friends, family and share information on the daily basis, actually I do not even watch tv any more, tools like Twitter, IM and Myspace make it so easy to share information between friends, specially now with the latest mobile devices.

    Mike:
    http://www.BuySponsoredLinks.com
    PPC Tips and Tools

  10. Torley
    October 26, 2008 at 1:11 pm #

    If they give you attention, they think you're worth paying time/energy to… even if they claim otherwise. :)

    Some folks are just psychological contrarians that say the opposite to get a rise out of others. Ah, baited reactions.

    Jim, your kids in the RSS feed image is SO cute and original. What a wonderful way to attract attention. If ye might consider, I'd suggest less JPG compression the next time — it really fringes the edges around your children's heads and the text, making it distracting to read.

  11. Torley
    October 26, 2008 at 1:14 pm #

    thanx 4 being positive, Jim!

  12. John Ettorre
    October 28, 2008 at 4:45 am #

    It's like I've always said: in the end, quality over time wins the race. It's really that simple. If you have nothing interesting to say over time, it becomes obvious. If you do, and you can sustain it over a number of years (like, say, Godin), there's precious little competition in that niche. So no matter what you call it–A list or whatever–the cream rises to the top and stays there. And surface buzz doesn't help much over time.

  13. Jim Kukral TheBizWebCoach
    October 28, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    Actually John, you're missing my point. Again! Before social networking tools like Twitter and Friendfeed and all this stuff, it was very hard to get noticed even if you had high-quality stuff. Ok, it just took longer, that's fair to say.

    The a-list benefited for a long time because of this. That's part of the reason why “it” died.

  14. Jim Kukral TheBizWebCoach
    October 28, 2008 at 4:16 pm #

    Torley, epic video! Thanks for leaving it. I'm soooo glad you like what I'm doing here and I hope it inspires you or helps you be successful in some way! Please come back again!

  15. Spearypearl
    October 28, 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    What some of the newer tools like FriendFeed, Twitter, etc have enabled is for people to grow an audience more quickly and assume those roles once harder to achieve. This also has led to traditional would-be A-listers growing frustrated with the new sites and avoiding them because their brand doesn't 100% carry over.

  16. John Ettorre
    October 29, 2008 at 6:07 am #

    Okay, then, we'll just have to disagree about that, or at least about what constitutes a long time horizon. I guess that goes to our larger disagreement about what constitutes real success. I think it's earned slowly, brick by brick. But after a number of years of doing the right things, it all comes together nicely. You're talking about a series of short-term tactics; I'm talking about a long-term strategy. And if you were to substitute A-list bloggers for widely read and closely followed writers, I don't think the argument that they've become passe holds up very well. Just as in any creative pursuit–movies, music, whatever, people accumulate favorite artists who have delivered something they're interested in over time, and thus they return to seek out their new material. That's a dynamic as old as the hills, and one that will never go away. And I don't see how tactical tools such as Twitter are in much of a position to really change that. But we'll see how that unfolds.

  17. Jim Kukral TheBizWebCoach
    October 29, 2008 at 9:02 pm #

    I'm defining success in this argument as short-term fame from a very small niche tech audience… in other words, the dead a-list. You and I agree fundamentally. I haven't built my brand and reputation up to what it is in a short time… in online years. I've been doing this since 2001, and it has paid off and we're both right.

    Quit underestimating the Twitter John. How about this? You give it 30 days of trying it. One update a day at least. If you still think it's crap after that, lunch is on me at Nates. Or vice versa. Let me know when you sign up so I can follow you.

  18. Jim Kukral TheBizWebCoach
    October 29, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    Correct. Thanks for the comment.

  19. John Ettorre
    October 30, 2008 at 10:08 am #

    Jim, you're certainly not my only trusted friend/web guru who's been trying to convert me on the issue of Twitter. And hell, I may try it if only to have the chance to break bread with you, which is always wothwhile, no matter who's paying. If I do take the dive (only on a trial basis), you'll be the first to know, amigo.

  20. Teknoloji
    November 3, 2008 at 7:52 am #

    you still linked to them jim ;)

  21. Pure Krill Oil
    November 28, 2008 at 2:21 am #

    It's really too bad if the A-list died, hopefully this thing doesn'y happen again.

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