January 28, 2005

What the little people said, about BloJoCred

Jon Garfunkel has an extensive post at Civilities.net collecting and summarizing what several "smallwigs" thought about the WebCred Harvard conference.

Inclusiveness at the Blogging, Journalism, and Credibility conference

There have been a few summaries about the Blogging, Journalism and Credibility Conference, co-sponsored by the Berkman Center and Shorenstein Center at Harvard, along with the American Library Association. Most of them focused on what the insiders have said -- Jay Rosen even titled his summary "Big Wigs Confer." I thought I'd take a separate angle, and look at what some of the little people said. This includes the little voices around the big table; the voices of the observers in the room, and even people on the Internet-- bloggers and others who care about the future of ideas -- who felt excluded from the conversation in the first place. And I thought I'd do this using the framework of inclusiveness.

I'm quoted a few times, e.g. for my earlier "Blogging, Journalism, Credibility" post:

"I think the issue which some critics are exploring is that the speaker's list, overall, doesn't seem to have anyone who has to struggle for credibility." -- Seth Finkelstein


Some had the credentials of blogging. Some had the credentials of academics. Having credentials confers an automatic credibility. ...
If you're a diligent blogger who wants to gain a reputation as a stringer, you have a real struggle ahead of you, as Finkelstein points out.

Of course, we're all squeaking down in the long tail, compared to the favored few.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in webcred | on January 28, 2005 11:58 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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I thought you might have mentioned that "Jon tried in vain to sum up the whole greplaw thing..." I tried, twice. :-)


Posted by: Jon Garfunkel at January 29, 2005 08:38 AM

I decided I'd just let that pass. The Greplaw topic really needs a whole follow-up post of its own.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at January 29, 2005 07:01 PM

You're kind of a bigsmallwig. You're not actually that far out in the tail, and I'll bet you get linked from a lot more bigwigs than the random blogger. After all, how many of the millions of bloggers rated a mention by Garfunkel?

Posted by: Cypherpunk at January 31, 2005 02:30 PM

Ah, but the implications of the exponential distribution are that the Short Head has virtually all the focused attention. The difference between 3,500 and 350 is MUCH more than the difference between 350 and 35.

Sure, there's a difference between a little fish and a minnow. But there's a much bigger difference between both of them, and a shark.

I think it's better to focus on the oligarchical feudal structure, that blogdom is fiefdoms ruled by a small cadre of royalty, than to try to take comfort that I'm not the lowliest serf in the land.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at January 31, 2005 03:08 PM

The long tail argument has a lot of merit Seth. The problem being that top blogs on the left and the right tend to re-enforce each other.

But there are serveral other axes in the blog world, notably, expertise, location, sometimes religion, and a variety of others.

A trout is a top predator in a small lake, a shark would die of starvation. The trick of it is to be the trout and stay in the lake.

Posted by: Jay Currie at February 1, 2005 03:58 AM

Jay, while the sentiment is kind, see what I wrote in:

Blog power law and big fish / small ponds


"... if it's all big fish in small ponds, that still matters in your pond, and being told "Go find another pond" dodges the problem."

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at February 1, 2005 10:41 PM

Looks like we've beaten that fish to death...

Posted by: Jay Currie at February 2, 2005 08:07 PM