Here's an oddball question for you; what do we hope to accomplish by getting linked lots of places? Even the top blogs don't make that much money on advertising. We all want more traffic, but why do we want it? Do we see it as a measure of respect? Or is it a matter of wanting to be liked? Or maybe for politically oriented blogs, it's about changing the world one reader at a time?
And here's what I said:
Well, if we think of blogs as "new media" that will, over the course of the long haul, make old media obsolete, getting women's voices out there is very important. Most of the men who dominate the blogosphere right now are old media, tech, or p.r. people. Men tend to link to other men on a relavance criteria (if it's relavent to my blog, I'll link to it--not that I really like it or read it), which often leaves women's voices out. (That is, unless you're in the same industries as the guys, and maybe you'll get linked)
Women blog differently and link differently than men do. They will link to what they like, or to a voice that they can relate to, rather than to whether or not the content correlates exactly with what they are blogging about.
If you see blogging as culture-changing, and as media, then it makes a difference in this way: If women aren't represented among top bloggers becasue the male bloggers deem us not relavent to what they are doing, then blogging ends up becoming another bastion of Eventually-Dead White Guys--alot like the English Lit canon.
This, however, isn't the 15th or 16th centuries, and women have made progress in msm...they need now to have a presence in new media.
Further, this has a long range effect on the busness aspects of blogging. If men are perceived to be the best bloggers, then women who try to break into blogging as a business veture will be viewed as not as credible. This is something I am looking at very carefully, as I am in the earliest phases of developing a business-based blogging venture. We have only begun to scratch the surface of what blogs can do for business (as in the case of Stonyfield Farms), but as blog-savvy young people begin to arrive in the job market, and eventually rise in business, blogging will become an intergal part of the way businesses do business.
Leaving women out of that could be economically and professionaly catastrophic for women. We would never rise past the pink collar ghetto, and would end up being modern-day stenographers, inputting content rather than creating our own.
So, being noticed is imporant. And because we are a networking world, part of being noticed is being liked enough to network and get the link. That women have different blogging styles than men does not mean that we are not relavent in the blogosphere. It means that male standards of judging links by relavancy to the content of their own blogs should not be the *sole* critera of why someone links to another blog. By not being linked, women risk losing position in new media and new business.
It's not just about a popularity contest, it's about the future of media and of business.
Just a few thoughts...