August 07, 2005

BlogHer "backlash", and self-proving A-list'ery

I was briefly quoted in CNET's "Blogma" regarding the issue that the first rule of A-List Club is you do not talk about A-List Club, and discussions about the BlogHer Conference meritocracy implications:

In these circles, apparently, BlogHer represents a form of gender-based politics that is a product of older generations and antithetical to the utopian libertarianism espoused so often in cyberspace. Yet as one observer noted in response to an essay that conveyed this point of view: "There's a difference between an ideal and a delusion. I think you have confused the two."

To me, the post-conference debate is self-proving. Consider the mathematics:

There were a few hundred people who attended the BlogHer conference. Which leads to a few hundred direct opinions from attendees about how it went. Add indirect opinions from interested readers too. Now, of this melange of viewpoints and conversations, which ones were amplified overall and then retailed to thousands of people not involved. Simple:


So, if you believe all that matters is socializing, you can dismiss everything else, since it doesn't affect whatever socializing happened. If you believe being heard and having an influence matters, well, that fact that a handful of rich/connected ranty A-listers (some who weren't even there) are basically defining the issues to everyone else, should be a sterling disproof of meritocracy.

Of course, that also implies this post doesn't matter, but it has an individual purpose in noting I'd been quoted :-).

On the other hand, some good discussion is coming out of the issues, such as more thought about search algorithm implications, and reactions thereof.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in blogher , cyberblather | on August 07, 2005 10:24 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 hadn't seen the backlash posts, thanks for pointing them out. I am always amused when those among the dominant group look around and say, "We're all equal here".

I also agree with your point about the A-Lister opinion. Whether it was because it has more worth or more visibility, hard to say. But patterns are hard to break.

Posted by: Shelley at August 8, 2005 09:11 AM

It would be very nice if a new algorithm could solve all the problems of relavence in the blogosophere (and knock some of the self-congratualtory A-listers off their perches)

But until then, maybe what some of us need to do is to just get in the faces--literally--of those who are most linked...after all, charm can sometimes work just as effectively as a well-placed invective.

I sometimes think the current modes of search technology simply can't keep up with the needs and intentions of individuals.

Posted by: Tish G at August 8, 2005 09:56 AM

Shelley - given the "worth" of some of the it's-all-merit opinions being echoed, I'm fairly sure it's "visibility" :-).

Tish - I don't think a new alogithm will necessarily solve problems - but it might be better than it was before, and that even a small increment is useful.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at August 9, 2005 02:20 AM

Seth-- thanks for playing the role of "gatekeeper" while I do real-world stuff like move. Caught up on Mary's, Shelley's posts. Also heard some other insider accounts out at OSCON last week.

Tish-- You may have come across a series I wrote that Seth has linked to a number of times-- The New Gatekeepers. I discuss some ways for technology to develop to mitigate some of the problems onset by competing for attention.

Posted by: Jon Garfunkel at August 10, 2005 06:39 PM

BTW, did you see this?

The Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere

Posted by: liza sabater at August 11, 2005 10:56 AM