Why VIP blogs are a bad idea


I mentioned VIP blogs (or master-blogs) in my previous post and here I want to expand the matter a little further.

First, here`s a slide from Technorati.

And here is the si.blogs graph, based on the incoming links.

The two graphs are almost identical (apart from the actual numbers).

The peak represents the super-blogs, e.g. blogs who are getting the most linkage (is that even a word?) by the rest of the blogosphere.

Let us name a few reasons why.

1. Blogs get linked because they are cool. They have quality content, they update regulary, the author is responding to readers` comments. A match made in heaven so to speak. And as the blog grows popular, the author gets recognized as well. So the fame of the blog spills over on the author. Case in point: Carniola (I hope I am not offending Michael by saying he was not a celebrity BEFORE Carniola).
2. Blogs get linked because they are written by a well-known person. This situation is exactly the opposite of the prefious point. Which is something the public figures who blog take advantage of. They use their fame to promote the blog, nevertheless the blog sometimes does not correspond with the public image of the person. Case in point: Rozina.si

With each of the categories, there come specific problems.

1. Awarness of being cool – as much as this sounds like a load of bull, some super-bloggers who become that by running a cool blog aren`t aware of their powers. They do not see themselves as top bloggers who actually have a certain amount of influence on the public opinion (or the opinion of the public, depends on the theory). They also fail to see themselves as a role-model for beginners, who sometimes copy the master-bloggers in an effort to be just as cool. Which then leads into a spiral, where everybody is copying off everybody and nothing gets done.

2. Awarness of the community – another factor that certain bloggers do not take into account. Which is a shame, to say the least, since some take their blogs as their private corners of the world where nobody interferes with their train of thought. Which is another thing people should become aware of, the sooner the better. Community. It`s not about you. Or you. Or you. And the sooner people acknowledge other authors and other blogs, the better. Be it by reference, blogrolls or honorable mention. The super-blogs are created by this community. It`s only fair they give something back. And if they don`t, the community ought to be sensible enough to exclude such blogs from their ring. Another thing I’ve noticed is that people sometimes forget their blogroll. Which is absurd, since the blogroll should be composed of blogs which the author prefers. It`s like having three kids and not noticing one of them died.

VIP blogs bring stratification of the blogosphere, they are halting the development of the blogosphere and are keeping the lid on it. Because if the super-blogs don`t move, nothing happens.

However, they are also useful for publicity. Which is the only reason they are being tolerated by the majority and in some cases even liked because of it. Quality comes after publicity in such cases and I bet you anything that if certain posts from Carniola or Zapisi were be published on any other “ordinary” blog, they would not get as much attention (measured in number of comments).

How to stop this stratification from happening? Simple. Think before you link. Catchy, isn`t it? I am not telling you who you should link or who you should not link and as far as I am concerned, you can only link to Zapisi, Carniola and si.blogs directory. All I am saying is that referencing to someone who has no business with you, who blogs about completely different things than you and who is cheap when he comes to linking back really does more bad than good. To you, to him and to everybody else involved. That is all.


16 komentarjev na “Why VIP blogs are a bad idea

  1. Bo

    I would like to say I am impressed by the interesting bits herein and therein in the post about the interconnectivity of the blogosphere.
    Below are two lecturer-kind corrections for you to take into consideration.

    The two graphs are almost identical (apart from the actual numbers).

    … looks similar … of the same shape …

    The peak represents the super-blogs …

    The left part of the graph … the first few blogs on the left of the image / with the highest values …

    – Also: linkage is a fine word!

    (- Now where is BeeBee and her Red Pen?)

  2. BeeBee

    Red Pen and I had a quick look and made some basic corrections, but I was too tired for major stuff. Not to mention I only got the text part of this post, no images.

    Good suggestions though!

  3. alcessa

    This whole business of “if you link someone they should link you back” is something I cannot agree with at all!
    First of all, master-bloggers like Michael from Carniola bring together a great range of interesting people with interesting blogs in their comment boxes and it does not really matter whether every single post they themselves contribute is state of the art or totally interesting for the majority etc. You know, if I am not interested in a certain topic, I can wait. What really counts, is the whole. You would not expect your friends to be always 100 % interesting, would you?

    I would HATE it if everyone I link would feel compelled to link me in return. it’s like in the kindergarten: I want to be your friend, so you have to be my friend, too. I would hate it, if I forced other fellow-bloggers to link my blog just besauce I publicly declared I like theirs. AND: Some bloggers “link-back” list would be so long that noone would be interested to check it.

    Now, should I link you (I liked the story about the boy and the girl very much) so that you have to link me?

  4. domen

    Your protest has been duly noter, Alcessa. But I do think that we are on the same page here.

    You see, all I was trying to say is that people link without even thinking about why they want to link a certain blog. Surely, if you interviewed people about their blogroll, some of them would not know exactly why do they think Jonas is worth linking to and I (for example) are not.

    I am not saying anybody should link anybody. For all I care, blogs don`t even need blogrolls since, as you said, you can reference them in your posts, you can add them to your favourite list of firefox or you can subscribe to their RSS feeds and nobody has to know. I think a similar case was with an old slovene blog, No pasaran, whom everybody read yet very rare bloggers actually linked to it.

    I too do not agree with “if you link me, I am obligated to link you back”. I never said anybody should do it. If you read carefully, you`ll see that according to myself the previously mentioned phenomenon should be avoided if not frowned upon.

    As for you asking me who should you link…babe…it`s your blog. Do whatever you like 🙂

  5. alcessa

    Yes, you told me the same thing before and I believed you. But, well, will you please help me understand the following:

    The super-blogs are created by this community. It`s only fair they give something back. And if they don`t, the community ought to be sensible enough to exclude such blogs from their ring.

    You know, it’s Sunday and half of my thinking cells are munching grass outside :-).

    Part of my problem (the reason I was protesting again) is that I want to keep my blog trilingual, so as a result it will be quite difficult for my favourites to link me (you know, why should petite anglaise link someone posting jokes about mother-in-laws in Slovenian?), but I would still like the world to know whom I like and since I am a beginner, I like to discuss things. But as I mentioned, I got caught in the sentence above… So?

  6. Mitja

    I have an issue with the whole Awarness of the community paragraph. It’s full of statements about what blogs should be like. If I have a blog, everything about it should be the way I want it – you have no say in this.

    You have a vision of what blogs and blogoshpere should look like and you constantly urge everyone to subscribe to it, but you seem to forget that not everyone blogs for the same reason and that different people like different things.

  7. Marko

    I agree with Mitja. It’s clear from your texts that you have a problem accepting the fact that many if not most people blogging just don’t share your agenda.

    I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong way to blog or that “super-blogs” should somehow be tamed. I think the only real measure of approach is how well it fulfills its creator’s expectations.

  8. hruske

    On one side, there’s Domen, who watches the blog scene (or blogosphere, whatever…) and studies it’s effects on public opinion, on classic newspapers and so on. As a professional reporter and someone who takes interest in analyzing blogosphere, I still think he has somewhat deeper insight of current affairs.

    But he (you, Domen 😉 ) is kind of funny … and also demanding, when expecting everyone to understand what he is trying to tell. Sort of like cardinal Rode was years ago, when he was still a bishop. Loudly trying to be authoritative, with little success, only stirring the air.

    Still, Domen’s blog is one of more visited blogs, he is clearly trying to shift the power of VIPness to other blogs, who are also worth reading and surely deserve attention, but are not getting it. But some bloggers, apparently not catching the train, turn against this preposition trying hard to say Domen is blog imperator, defining how other people’s blogs should work, what should be there and on.

    No Virginia, the only thing Domen is trying to say is to take care who you link and why.

    I link friends who have blogs and those blogs, whose authors make sure their postings are a joy to read for me. But I am not linking Mojca Mavec or Jonas, cause they are not 1) friends of mine, 2) their posts are nothing special.

    But many seem to link Jonas cause they like the idea of being linked somehow to Jonas, even if it’s only one way connection.

    Still, not linking does not mean not reading.

  9. jaKa

    well, cookie, dearest, I don’t really like this statement of yours:

    VIP blogs bring stratification of the blogosphere, they are halting the development of the blogosphere and are keeping the lid on it. Because if the super-blogs don`t move, nothing happens.

    emmmmm… right… so you claim… but if you claim this, could you please be as kind as to let us see the reasoning that brought you to this conclusion? because to me, it seems completely and utterly false: I believe it’s the community that moves things, not one or two VIPs, and that the community is fairly independent of the latter. I can even feel some rejection of VIP blogs. of course, I have as little proof for what I claim as you do: the difference is that it’s not me who has dedicated his precious time to blog research.

    also, I kind of agree with mitja and marko: my blog is what I want it to be.

    let me end with my usual rant, about you being way too assertive. you expect people to buy into what you’re selling them without really giving them any proof that what you’re selling them is actually good merchandise (that is: a credible thesis).

  10. plav trg

    I can’t pretend to really understand any of this but surely the starting point is that anyone who starts a blog does so for their own reasons and satisfaction. That is an end in itself. If the blog is well written and interesting, people will find it, read it and if they are another blogger, link to it (if they can be bothered) The BEST blogs, in terms of interest to their readership, will become the master blogs of Domen’s terminology. Write a blog and you throw yourself into the market place. Market forces will determine the master blog and no amount of attempted manipulation will change this.

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  12. Domen

    @plav trg – I don`t think they are. That`s my point. Spillover from person to blog takes care of the market in my opinion. Cause seriously…Jonas`s blog is not THAT good and that different from any other blog. What makes it different, is the writer himself. The writer is the sole reason in my opinion that so many people link to it and so many people comment on his posts. Cause then they feel they got in touch with the celebrity.

    And as for best blogs…exactly where the current master-blogs do not comply with my definition of one. Since in my opinion the quality of a blog does not measure with the publicity of the same blog. Why is that? Because if the publicity would be the one and only factor, then the audience would have to have the complete list of blogs available at all times, to rightfully elect the best blogs available.

    @jaka et al. – Nobody is saying what their blog should look like. But there are certain things that exist out there and I am just shedding some light on them. And I do not want to influence on people, telling them what they should or should not do. It`s not my job and I certainly do not have neither the resources nor the time to make it happen. I can however observe and comment. As for credible thesis – I know. I am aware of the fact that right now all I have in my hands is observations of a very tiny space of the blogosphere. Which is better than nothing but on the other hand it`s still a very long road till something concerte comes out. I am hoping however, that something will come out by the time I graduate from the subject. That is all.

  13. Michael M.

    I think carniola is being vastly overestimated here. (And can we please agree to never refer to it as a “master blog” ever again?) As far as I know, carniolan posts are very rarely linked to by other Slovenian blogs — almost never. It may appear in a few blogrolls, but I think this is a function of age.

    In terms of equilibriumin the force, I think the real disruption is going to come when teenagers start appearing on myspace in full force. Then we’ll all be part of a diminishing minority in a swarm of locusts.

  14. Domen

    It would be fun to see what the kids make of myspace. I recently saw that Siddharta has it`s own myspace profile with over 4500 friends (connected sites – which one second hand does not mean much since they come from all over the place, not just Slovenia).

    Why hasn`t myspace caught on? Number one – english only. Number two – mobile phones. Number three – god knows.

    And in my opinion, it`s not enough that they just start appearing. They could already be out there and nobody knows about them because they are not connected.

    I think right now in terms of connectivity, the best example is the centrifuga-nypmhee-blodnjak connection, which features on-line and off-line group. And I think more and more of such groups will start appearing (for instance bayaland-l files-my so called blog). But will these groups merge and create one giant “all national” group? If only online? Again, I have no answer. But I think that one of the ways of merging would be indeed some outter enemy. Be it kids on myspace, be it Bush and his army, but I think that the appearance of the force influencing on the whole so-called blogging community would bring us together. Attack on the freedom of speech perhaps? It has proved to be the most effective tool where same content appeared on different blogs (be it the allah caricatures or the Delo incident).

    As for linkage for carniola – 20. Which is in the top 5 blogs category. So much for “a few blogrolls” 😉

  15. okapi

    >Kuki precej subtilno pravi, da so blogi sranje

    Kuki v resnici precej nesubtilno pravi, da so blogerji (vecinoma) bebci, ki brez razmisljanja sledijo blogomodi in ne vedo, kdo si res zasluzi link.


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