Saturday, August 06, 2005

And the link discussion goes on....

I found myself linked over at The Jersey Exile (although I wish he'd used my retort instead) which further continues the conversation with Jeff Jarvis on linking.....

What Jarvis keeps missing is what many of us in the Blogosphere have come to discover, and what Elisa Camahort so succinctly says (if I migh paraphrase): the blog world really isn't all that much different than the outside world. It is NOT a meritocracy as so many want to believe. To swallow the myth of meritocracy is to admit to a certain level of naievete about the way things work in the world.

Given the signal-to-noise ratio in the Technorati tail is pretty high, where there are a large percentage not only of abandoned blogs but spamblogs as well, it may be up to some of us who believe in ourselves to go on marketing campaigns that follow the particular etiquette of the blogosphere. Blogosphere ettiquette, though, can sometimes resemble the stilted conversations of 17th century Mannerist comedies, resulting in a serious pain-in-the ass quotient when it comes to trying to figure out the right etiquette for approaching a particular blogger we might want to be linked to.

On Jersey Exile's comments, Jarvis suggests approaching blogs who are similar to our own. But, sometimes that can be a subjective call. I have found that some male bloggers can often be very harshly judgemental of female bloggers, and even when there are similarities of style, the female blogger will not get the requested link.

Although I have my own empirical proof that Jarvis' suggestion isn't the only way to link...many of my links on my other blog's blogroll are quite different from my own blog--some in style and some in content. Many I've discovered by doing Technorati searches. They've never approached me to link to them. When I find them, I will always cross link, and often email them to let them know. I think this is not just necessary but also human and polite. (It also corresponds to Jersey Exile's idea of blogrolls being like libraries--I'm paraphrasing here too, but it works--my blogroll is my library of cool people)

So, there seem to be two distinct philosophies on linking--link to what is relavent to your blog's subject matter, or link to blogs that you enjoy. But, in either case, the question remains: how does one rise out of the tail if one doesn't get a boost up?

Jarvis would argue that the boost doesn't matter, but, frankly, if you are using a blog for more than just bloviating to hear yourself bloviate, the boost matteras. The boost I received on my main blog from a link from Halley Suitt made a difference in the way I view myself within the blogosophere. I have a very unique personal voice, and one that I have strongly believed in for quite some time, but wasn't sure how to get the attention of an A-lister. Emailing didn't work, so I opened my big mouth at Blogher. Halley's link has helped open my blog up to new readers--many who may never have been able to find me in the noise-happy Technorati tail. By that, I may accumulate new links, or just new lurkers, but, either way, my voice is being heard.

And, frankly, even Jarvis' drubbing and my spat with Jay Rosen boosted my readership here--on a tiny blog that was developed at the behest of the editor in chief of

So, let me boil this down: the Blogosphere is not a meritocracy. there is far too high a signal-to-noise ratio for it to be a meritocracy. Not to mention that the virutal world of the blogosphere, when looked at objectively, really isn't all that much different than the outside world. Links to A-listers blogs make a difference for those of us in the Technorati tail who truly want to have our voices heard. And how we get those links might be quite similar to the way in which we make networking connections in the outside world--by relavence to other bloggers' content, but also by charming the pants off them.

They don't call it "social software" for nothing!

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Videos by Professor Howdy said...

We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose. A
time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

'Thought & Humor' by Howdy
CyberHumor, CyberThought
CyberRiddles for your divertissement!!!

Tish Grier said... sound an awful lot like my Milton prof at Smith. your own blog ref. to Stanley Fish (and hatered thereof) definitely adds to that supposition.

your p.s. also very interesting, but I see the splintering as just a way for the status quo to maintain its hold and keep the barbarians on the other side of the gate....not knowing that some of those barbarians just might save the empire.

Anonymous said...

My theory on linking: if I read 'em, they go on my blogroll. I'm lazy. I like having my favorites right at hand for reading.

If someone leaves me a comment, or I find that they've linked to me via Technorati, I check their site out right away and if they've got to something to say--whether or not they agree with me--the link goes on the blogroll.

I do use other people's blogrolls are reading lists when I'm bored, too. I found you first through a post you made on BlogSisters.

Tish Grier said...


after I wrote this post, I realized that you actually *did* approach me about looking at your blog, where I then found I was linked. I liked the way you did that...

but the thing that gets me so often is how there's all this conversation about "blog etiquette" but how that etiquette varies from blogger group to blogger group.

this is a weird little world