September 11, 2005

Meta-Goo 1. Do you believe in the A-list?

Gordon re-fuelled the fascinating discussion about the nature of A-list bloggers a little while ago. This is a subject that really seems to get people’s goats; even mild-mannered Vaughan had something to say, that’s how bad it is. Just like God, the existence of the A-list is proven and disproven over and over again with logic and rhetoric, and continues to make all the difference in the world, or none whatsoever, depending on whether you’re expecting to get famous one day or not.
Put simply, the A-list is an entirely subjective experience. One blogger’s A-list can be another’s clique of self-important luvvies. Some people A-list their friends, people they like, people they correspond with. Others A-list the blogs that they see everyone else linking to, with faith in the 1000 Flies Can’t Be Wrong approach to blogrolling.
Technorati alone is tracking over 14 million weblogs, so just because everyone you read has heard of, doesn’t actually make it a huge phenomenon. There are so many circles of blogs that read and link each other, that it’s just one big venn diagram of linky love, and you would have to be fairly obsessed with your own and other people’s referrals, to get your name heard outside your own reading list.
The existence of an A-list is of particular importance to newish bloggers, those who check their stats more than once a day and fret about the fact that they haven’t hit an average of 200 yet. These are also the types who are most likely to identify A-listers from Technorati, and leave bland, identical comments about what a great blog they’ve got, in the hope that someone will click on their URL. Yes HumanityCritic I’m talking to you.
A completely different A-list is also created by those people for whom blogging is a business model, such as Kottke and Plasticbag. These blogs are very meta, which I understand means something about referring to themselves a lot. In a good way, I’m sure.
Just as Uborka has two authors with totally different writing styles, so it also has two approaches to the serious subject of lists. This is one of the reasons that we don’t have a blogroll page, although we also agree on the fact that Kinja does fine, and no-one needs their ego stroking so much that we should advertise them on our obscure little page.
My A-list tends to be the people I know, either through having read them for a long time, or by being friends with them. This friends business is beautifully meta, because of course most of my friends are people I’ve met through blogging, therefore I’ve also probably been reading them for a long time. I was going to link my friend-bloggers in this paragraph, but for one thing I was worried I’d miss someone, and for another thing, it seemed a tad pretentious.
Pete basically divides bloggers into wankers and non-wankers.


7 thoughts on “Meta-Goo 1. Do you believe in the A-list?

  1. P.S. All references to are with kind permission of Ms Anna Pickard, who is in fact a phenomenon.

  2. What a fabulous and incredibly sensible post – and I add the bit about ‘sensible’ deliberately, because people seem to lose all track of sense when discussing this particular topic.
    And when I’ve got a moment, will surface. Somehow. Although, of course, it will be a site where no one (and that includes me) will be allowed to leave their URL. A non-linking website, then. Fantastic.

  3. What Vaughan said.
    I have an a-list that also includes apples, armadillos and of course the most important thing on the a-list Adrian’s. I put you on the P list. And the U list. Sometimes you’re on the PK list, but that’s only in my special list from the 676 letter dictionary.
    I think it’s not only bloggers that can be divided up into your split of wankers/non-wankers.

  4. A-list? Wassat then?
    As has rightly been stated there are MILLIONS of A-lists, every single person has there own and that’s how it should be.
    And yes, you are all on MY A-list!!
    (or B-list, W-list, etc etc)

  5. It’s like celebs, isn’t it? Try naming A-list celebs and see how to start an argument (actually it’s best to sit back and watch other people argue. Not that I’ve done this. Not ever. Never.)
    Or name a celeb and decide which letter they are.
    In the end who cares? If you like celebs for being celebs, I suppose it matters, but if you like them for what they do, you like ’em, end of story.

  6. The trouble with all this blogrolling stuff is that many people who write a weblog see the weblog as an end, not as a mere tool, a means to the end of getting your writing out there. What they forget is that weblogs aren’t special. They are just web pages. No amount of communal love-ins and linking networks are going to make bad writing good.
    Er, this may make me look like a miserable curmudgeon, but rest assured that, like anyone, I have specific weblogs that I read a lot. Because I like good writing. Which is why I don’t read very many… but whoops, there I go again. I think I’d better go drink some happy juice.

  7. What a sensible and entertaining overview.
    Just catching up.
    I did wonder when HumanityCritic turned up at my disused and underattended blog. Didn’t quite mesh wiht the gears of life, that one.
    Hiope you are both well.

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