I don’t care about the Oscars, but now YOU do – think!

Jon Stewart hosting the Oscars has helped draw the attention of many, many bloggers. Lots are trying to cash in on the hype by publishing prediction lists of winners – an old cheap writing trick. Admittedly, I’m curious, so for once I will tune in for a few minutes, but nothing more. If something interesting happens, I will hear about it from my online community of friends and I will download it via Bittorrent. Even with all the new buzz this year, I’m sure the Oscars remain the self-congratulatory circle-jerk they always were. ‘Nuff-said, right? Well no. This opens a door to connect some dots…

Publishing a list is one type of attention drawing tactic, being snarky is another…

Dave Winer:

These days you could rename Memeorandum to Snarksforall, with one blogger trying to top another for the most vacuous post.

So true! Performancing has a handy guide to these techniques: 10 Killer Post Ideas:

…Here are ten proven post formulas to get your creative juices, and your traffic, flowing.

…1. How to…2. Lists…3. Campaign…4. Interview…5. Review…6. Case study…7. Research results…8. What’s new, trends…9. Attack!…10. Ask the audience…

There are other linkbait guides out there for you, go ahead and search if so inclined. Howard Stern was ahead of his time man. Way ahead of his time.

Then again, you can have the best writing or service in the world, if no one knows about it, you’re shit outta luck. You need to know how to get the word out. You need to know who has influence and who doesn’t.

Publishing 2.0: Who Are the New Media Gatekeepers?:

Who decides what�s worthy of your attention � a Web 2.0 application, a newspaper columnist, a talk show host, an editorial staff, an influential blogger, a community of thousands, a community of millions?

Answer for today: bloggers!

Jeremy Zawodny: How to give Oral Sex to Bloggers in Return for PR Favors:

..there’s nothing like a few excited bloggers to kick off a good viral marketing campaign, right?! Who cares if your product is lame. Just get some bloggers to talk about it!

But which ones? Well it’s Technorati to the rescue…

Guy Kawasakli: How to Suck Up to a Blogger:

…Nowadays buzz begets ink. Journalists no longer anticipate or create buzz–rather, they react to it: “Everyone is buzzing about FaceBook. There must be something to this, so I had better write a story about it.” This role reversal has fried people’s minds.

The latest development is that blogs beget buzz. Blogs have changed everything because they represent a cheap, effective podium for creating buzz on a massive scale. Technorati provides an easy way to identify the A-listers, so all you have to do is attract the most influential bloggers.

…Sucking up is not an event–it’s a process.

Don Dodge: The new way to launch your product or company:

It doesn’t cost anything to publicize your new product or service. Simply engage a couple of the “A-List” bloggers (Michael Arrington, Robert Scoble, Dave Winer, Om Malik, Steve Gillmor, Cory Doctorow, Richard MacManus, Stowe Boyd, and others) by sending them a link to your new product or service. Tell them what problem it solves and why it is cool. When they blog, people listen. When their stories hit Tech Memeorandum, Digg, TailRank, and other services the story explodes across thousands of blogs within hours.

You see, if you don’t have buzz, you don’t have reach. You don’t have reach, no one will know you exist without one hell of a hard slog – no matter how good you are.

NYMag: Blogs to Riches: The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom:

…By all appearances, the blog boom is the most democratized revolution in media ever. Starting a blog is ridiculously cheap; indeed, blogging software and hosting can be had for free online. There are also easy-to-use ad services that, for a small fee, will place advertisements from major corporations on blogs, then mail the blogger his profits. Blogging, therefore, should be the purest meritocracy there is.

…In theory, sure. But if you talk to many of today�s bloggers, they�ll complain that the game seems fixed. They�ve targeted one of the more lucrative niches�gossip or politics or gadgets (or sex, of course)�yet they cannot reach anywhere close to the size of the existing big blogs. It�s as if there were an A-list of a few extremely lucky, well-trafficked blogs�then hordes of people stuck on the B-list or C-list, also-rans who can�t figure out why their audiences stay so comparatively puny no matter how hard they work. �It just seems like it�s a big in-party,� one blogger complained to me. (Indeed, a couple of pranksters last spring started a joke site called Blogebrity and posted actual lists of the blogs they figured were A-, B-, and C-level famous.)

That�s a lot of inequality for a supposedly democratic medium.

It’s because the web resembles the wishes, desires, and motives of humanity. And humanity, while striving for something greater, is grounded in behaviors inscribed in our hearts, in our minds, in our genes.

Clay Shirky: Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality:

…In systems where many people are free to choose between many options, a small subset of the whole will get a disproportionate amount of traffic (or attention, or income), even if no members of the system actively work towards such an outcome. This has nothing to do with moral weakness, selling out, or any other psychological explanation. The very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution.

…inbound link data is just an example: power law distributions are ubiquitous. Yahoo Groups mailing lists ranked by subscribers is a power law distribution. (Figure #2) LiveJournal users ranked by friends is a power law. (Figure #3) Jason Kottke has graphed the power law distribution of Technorati link data. The traffic to this article will be a power law, with a tiny percentage of the sites sending most of the traffic. If you run a website with more than a couple dozen pages, pick any time period where the traffic amounted to at least 1000 page views, and you will find that both the page views themselves and the traffic from the referring sites will follow power laws.

…any tendency towards agreement in diverse and free systems, however small and for whatever reason, can create power law distributions.

Because it arises naturally, changing this distribution would mean forcing hundreds of thousands of bloggers to link to certain blogs and to de-link others, which would require both global oversight and the application of force. Reversing the star system would mean destroying the village in order to save it.

Given the ubiquity of power law distributions, asking whether there is inequality in the weblog world (or indeed almost any social system) is the wrong question, since the answer will always be yes. The question to ask is “Is the inequality fair?”

So, lets get this straight shall we? The new way of doing things looks remarkably like the old way. The names and methods have have changed, but that’s pretty much it. At least Technorati lets me see who those with influence are. I wonder when that will go behind a pay wall?

Some A-listers seem to want to keep this knowledge obscured while selling an ideal that doesn’t exist. It’s a very sellable ideal. In a way, these few folks exhibit a form of long tail denial. Kent Newsome connects the dots nicely here: Bloglogic and the Litmus Test for Link Love:

…making traffic and links your focus is not the most effective way to build a blog. Most of the people who have been at the table when we’ve talked about it seem to agree with that.

But just because traffic and links aren’t the focus doesn’t mean they aren’t legitimate goals. To tell someone that traffic and links don’t matter at all is a little like a rich guy telling a poor guy not to be so concerned about money. I don’t obsess about money, but making some is certainly one of my goals when I head out the door each weekday morning.

The key is to have many goals, but a narrow focus.

…Here’s the only question you have to answer to determine whether traffic is one of your blogging goals: would you blog happily for an extended time if no one ever read your blog? No Comments, no clicks, no links. Just a dark corner of cyberspace where your blog sits idle and completely unnoticed

Dave Rogers:

It’s just marketing.


For my part, I’m going to keep doing it the way I always have – by trying to put out the best service I possibly can, and be a good person. That service attempts to use its influence to expose those who should be heard to a wider audience. I don’t have the time, nor inclination, to play suck up. I guess that’s my loss.

Update: I check Technorati fairly regularly to see who is linking here and to my surprise, Memeorandum picked me up. I was indeed there for a few seconds, as you can see from this archived page, but whatever algorithm Memeorandum uses has replaced me, with someone who ranks higher.

Update: Whups. Incorrect. It moved my link reference to someone else. I’m still there. It’s fascinating to watch it move links and references every few minutes to help present a picture of the thread. Okay.. I’m breaking my Lent promise…walk away… walk away…