The endless tail

About.com’s blog guide digs up a list of knitting blogs. That’s what’s beautiful about this thing and that’s why all the huff-n-puff about A lists is so off-the-mark. There is an A list of knitting blogs. And if you’re a knitter, that’s the one that matters. [full disclosure: I’m consulting at About]

  • http://www.triplemint.com KB

    That is so exactly right. To think of blogs in Old Media terms like power lists is so stupid. It misses the entire point of the web–namely: the power of its diffuse nature. That’s a great example. If you have a business selling into the knitting community (a multi-million dollar market no doubt) then Technorati does you no good, adds no value whatsoever.

  • http://spap-oop.blogspot.com Tish G

    but who has the bigger reputation? About.com or Tecnorati?

    And does what we blog about always have to be connected to someone’s ability to sell us something? I’m really offended at the idea that someone would read knitting blogs (I have a couple of compulsive knitters on my main blog’s blogroll) and not look at their lives–just think of them as new markets.

    Is that the real use of new search applications? To market more crap to us that we don’t need?

    What about the voices of people who would never be heard, whose stories would never make it into mainstream press until their obit hits the lifestyle section? Who gives a crap about some nasty little marketers need to ferrit out niche bloggers? That should NOT be what blogging could lead to. Eventually, that kind of thinking could lead to a Do Not Read list for bloggers–thus squashing what we currently perceive as beauty and diversity.

  • http://www.triplemint.com KB

    Actually, I misread Jeff’s post. Now that I’ve reread it he seems to be arguing that there is value in A-lists if done for every little niche, ie: knitting etc., which I agree with.

    Tish, didn’t mean to sound so marketing centric. I phrased it in terms of dollars only to show someone who might scoff at knitting (or any esoteric subject) as being worth the time to make a list for. Obviously there are all sorts of levels on which esoteric subjects have value to all sorts of people.

  • http://spap-oop.blogspot.com Tish G

    I’ve been doing a bit of back and forth with Mary Hodder of Napsterization on niche blogging and its limits. From a quantifying-algorithm perspective, niche blogging, or simply casting blogs within a certain niche, makes it much easier to understand the levels and types of conversations in the blogosphere. If niche bloggers link to other niche bloggers, an alogorithm can be established whereby an A-list of niche bloggers can be determined.

    However, from a community building perspective, niche blogging can create clans that don’t really expose others to the many unique voices within the blogosphere. If the niche blogger is looking to become a “trusted voice” for information on the net (as many are), then the ideas of community outside one’s niche isn’t always important. But if that is not the blogger’s sole purpose, and the blogger becomes more interested in creating a “salon” rather than a “shop,” then creating the proper algorithm to measure this becomes a bit difficult.

    It’s interesting to see how many different groups–About.com, Technorati, and others– are working to try to come up with ways to quantify something that might not be quanitfyable because of its amorphous and very human nature. Jeff may think blogs are people, but will we ever fit a whole person into a neat little algorithm?

  • http://lonewacko.com The Lonewacko Blog

    Let’s say all the knitting blogs are a-twitter about something very important. How will we find out about it unless a Big Blogger covers it? What if the subject is something that the Dem/Repub partisan bloggers don’t want to cover? Will we ever hear about it?

    JJ: Could you please get about.com to give direct links rather than those that go through a redirect script?

  • http://weblogs.about.com/ Shai Coggins

    Thanks for the mention and the link-up, Jeff. ‘not sure I fully understand your point here — but, I for one, don’t really support a particular “A List”. I find that it gets stale after a while. What matters is an individual blogger’s list. But then, it’s like highschool, I suppose. There will always be the “in crowd” – perceived ones, self-proclaimed ones and awarded ones. There’s something in the human psyche that makes “celebrities” tick – while in the same vein, it ticks off others.

  • http://www.theperfectworld.us Cal

    Actually, there’s a Knitters Forum, too (click clack chat). I think forums fill a valuable space–not everyone wants to own or run a blog, and conversation works best when the site is designed to promote interaction, not one-way broadcasting. (Disclosure: I publish the site.)

    As for an “A list”, Shai, if your list isn’t the A-list, why single out those blogs?

  • http://weblogs.about.com/ Shai Coggins

    Cal: My list is just a bunch of recommendations based on what I like and what I think other people would like. It’s part of my job as an About.com Guide. I have published a set of guidelines on what I list and don’t list on my site.

    I singled those blogs out because I found them while I was looking for knitting blogs, I liked them, and they met the guidelines. I’m happy to add more to that list, as I find more knitting blogs that I like — either through surfing or through other people’s recommendations (I reserve the right to disagree, of course). And nope – I didn’t mean for that list to be THE definitive list for knitting blogs — it’s just a starting point for people who may be looking for such blogs. Everyone else can create their own lists.

    But then, I guess it depends on what people consider the A List, eh? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of perception.

  • http://weblogs.about.com/ Shai Coggins

    Cal: BTW, blogs ARE a form of online interaction and conversation. They’re not one way broadcasting. After all, aren’t we interacting and conversing here via a weblog? ;-)

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