s skippy the bush kangaroo: blogroll binge and purge

skippy the bush kangaroo



Thursday, March 29, 2007

blogroll binge and purge

one of the more comprehensive looks at all sides of the great amnesty day blogroll purge that we have found is at the republic of t.

(and not just because terrance quotes us three times):

and there’s a strange kind of schizophrenia this inspires among those at the top of the list. on the one hand, they seem to be fully aware of the power of their blogrolls, when guys like aravosis, atrios, kos and bowers hold forth at length about why they aren’t going to link to some blogs. on the other they seem to deny that they hold any such power, like kos’ claim that he’s not a gatekeeper (though skippy says kos is a gatecrasher who’s closing the gate behind him), though the “blogroll purge” is kind of like closing the gate.

sure the blogs that were cut can still be found, but they won’t be getting the kind of traffic that comes from having a link on kos’ blogroll. and that’s partially because many of the readers at kos at other major blogs are like the people i mentioned in the scenario above: they’re looking where everyone else is looking, because everyone else is looking there, and everyone else can’t be wrong. by extension, if there was something worth looking at somewhere else, then everyone would be looking at it already. and if they look at anything else, it will probably be what the “authorities” (to borrow a concept from technorati) tell them to look at, in the form of a link.

so, skippy and the others are caught between two apparent laws of human behavior. the first was explained by clay shirky in new york magazine.

the power law is dominant because of a quirk of human behavior: when we are asked to decide among a dizzying array of options, we do not act like dispassionate decision-makers, weighing each option on its own merits. movie producers pick stars who have already been employed by other producers. investors give money to entrepreneurs who are already loaded with cash. popularity breeds popularity.

“it’s not about moral failings or any sort of psychological thing. people aren’t lazy—they just base their decisions on what other people are doing,” shirky says. “it’s just social physics. it’s like gravity, one of those forces.”
the other i attempted to describe in an earlier post.

when you have a fairly static system, again like the economic model mentioned above, where it’s in the interest of those at the top to keep things the way they are, you have to find a way to keep the unrest of the “have nots” down to a managable level. one of the ways you do that is to (a) convince them that the peak is reachable by almost anyone and (b) make them feel better about where they are. make the middle sound better, look better, and reward them a little bit and you’ve created a “middle class” that’s satisfied enough to act as a buffer between the top and the bottom. do it will enough and they’ll continue to admire those at the top, and probably even link to them.

and of course, the entire system itself must never be spoken of and it’s existance should be denied. the articles states that “[t]he very subject of the a-list is so toxic” that none of the big-timers mentioned in the article would agree to be interviewed for it.
as readers of this space know, we have no problem speaking about it at all, perhaps to our detriment.

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posted by skippy at 9:46 PM |

8 Comments:

as readers of this space know, we have no problem speaking about it at all, perhaps to our detriment.
What are they going to do about it? Drop you from their blogroll?
commented by Blogger George, 10:05 PM PDT  
What George said.

Seriously. If these A-listers are so damn powerful, then why are they still bloggers? Shouldn't they be high priests or some other sort of bull by now?

I need these A-listers like I need another hole in my butt...
commented by Blogger Mimus Pauly, 10:44 PM PDT  
Keep speaking, skip. This is still America and we got your back.
commented by Blogger Fixer, 2:34 AM PDT  
I thought that the purge was meant to make room for other, lesser-known blogs. Didn't one of the purgers say that? So, when they blogroll my site then I'll know that was true.

So, how many little-known blogs have made it onto those purged blogrolls?
commented by Blogger DBK, 7:18 AM PDT  
Damned if I know. I'm convinced that this is part of a far older pattern of behavior- the desire to be a patron.

I mean, think about it. Why dump older blogs and bring on newer ones, all else being equal? Because the possibility exists that the new bloggers will explode in popularity for whatever reason, and when they do, you'll get credit for being their patron. You'll have "discovered" them, and be able to tap into their success.

Personally, I think that's also why there seems to be a big and growing bias against linking to pseudonymous bloggers among "a-listers" nowadays too. I'm Demosthenes. skippy is skippy. We use pseudonyms, and our writings ARE our identities. We aren't going to be in front of a camera anytime soon, or a Senate committee, or at a roundtable at YearlyKos.

Sure, there are exceptions, like Riverbend, but we just aren't as useful to those who are trying to find the next Glenn Greenwald or John Arivosis, and aren't useful at all to the Powers That Be in the Democratic party, because we can't funnel funds like Kos, Chris, and Duncan can.

Not that everybody who was removed is pseudonymous, of course, but ask yourself how many of the new and lauded bloggers actually are.
commented by Blogger Demosthenes, 8:21 AM PDT  
So, how many little-known blogs have made it onto those purged blogrolls?

i made it onto atrios' blogroll and i'm as little-known as you get.

think that's also why there seems to be a big and growing bias against linking to pseudonymous bloggers among "a-listers" nowadays too.

huh? did i mention that i'm anonymous too?

it is true that bigger bloggers tend not to be anonymous, but i think that has more to do with the difficulty in maintaining anonymity once you get "famous." i mean, anyone who worked hard enough at outing me would probably be able to do it. the only thing that really protects me is that i'm simply too unimportant for anyone to bother.

but i don't see any evidence that big-hit bloggers are avoiding linking to anonymous bloggers because they are anonymous.

one more thing:

this sentence in the post is really unfair:

they seem to be fully aware of the power of their blogrolls, when guys like aravosis, atrios, kos and bowers hold forth at length about why they aren’t going to link to some blogs.

click on the links behind the words "aravosis", "atrios", "kos" and "bowers" and read the posts. i don't think anyone can honestly characterize the first three as being about why they won't link to some blogs. those three are about how they deal with being deluged with e-mail, they're not talking about using their power and influence to cut off people.

in all fairness, the bowers link could be interpreted the way terrance describes it. but it also doesn't have to be read that way.
commented by Blogger upyernoz, 2:22 PM PDT  
so the a-list bloggers get deluged with email.

so the a-list bloggers get deluged with email by people wanting to be on their blogroll.

so the a-list bloggers get deluged with email from people on their blogroll who have changed domains because they went to typepad or figured out how to have blugger publish to their own domain.

keeping up with all those emails is a lot of work.

that is why the so-called a-list bloggers had to go to the trouble to delete skippy from their blogroll even though he has never changed his url from the nonsensical xnerg.blogspot.com.

it.doesn't.add.up.as.a.reason.
commented by Blogger George, 12:11 AM PDT  
my point, george, is that none of the posts cited by terrance were about the blogroll purge. just look at the dates, they are were posted about a year before the so-called purge happened and three off the four have nothing to do with the alleged reason terrance created the link.
commented by Blogger upyernoz, 5:14 AM PDT  

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