Product & Startup Builder

Filtering by Category: "popularity"

The Wizards of Buzz - The influencers deciding what's cool on our behalf

Added on by Chris Saad.
The Wall Street Journal has an interest post about "The Wizards of Buzz".

From the article:

"Most sites are based on a voting model. Members look around the Web for interesting items, such as video clips, blog entries or news articles. A member then writes a catchy description and posts it, along with a link to the material, on the site, in hopes that other members find it just as interesting and show their approval with an electronic thumbs-up vote. Items that receive enough votes rise in the rankings and appear on the front page, which can be seen by hundreds of thousands of people. When an item is submitted by a popular or influential member -- one whose postings are closely followed by fellow members -- it can have a much better shot at making the front page."
It's a little scary. They imply that services like Digg, Reddit and Netscape have made influencers out of little-known everyday people. Why is that scary? Because we don't know these people. They have not been vetted by public opinion and to many users they are an opaque part of the process. It's not democracy if there is a small group of people pulling the strings.

No one diggs around digg looking for the 'Top Diggers List' - in fact now they CAN'T dig around Digg for it - because Digg has taken it offline. Check out the article to get a list of the top Digg, Reddit, Netscape and StumbleUpn user they found. It's not a list of people I want deciding my news for me.

So these popularity platforms are giving rise to micro-influencers who are actually having a huge affect on our news and information choices and most of us have very little idea who they are. That doesn't sound very social, transparent or desirable to me.

As I have said in previous posts - while popularity engines are fine for working out "what's cool" the real question should be "what is personally relevant: - finding news that affects my life and aligns with my interests.

Then, the only influencer in my media consumption is me and my Attention Profile.

Jason Calacanis thinks having top influencers is great. I guess he would because he also thinks paying the top contributors is great too. I'd invite him consider the Personal Relevance angle (he seems to be taking up challenges this month so why not).

Thanks to Marianne for pointing out the WSJ post to me.

How to get linked from the A-list

Added on by Chris Saad.
Robert Scoble is a genius. I will say this over and over. If there's one thing he knows how to do is to create a brand of his name as the A-list blogger of the people. His trademark 'Who are you' opening question, his disarming laugh, his simple 'everyman' questions (most of which he knows the answer to I'm sure) and his ability to stem the flow of negativity with brilliant stunts all contribute to his power.

But this post is not just to suck up to Robert - I'd like to ask a question.

His latest post (and stunt) is a thread where he asks the question "Do A-lister bloggers have a responsibility to link to others". In it, he asks that question and then opens the comments for everyone to spam a link to their own stuff.

One of the commenter’s, though, raises a very interesting point.

Krishna Kumar Writes:

The PageRank algorithm is probably one of the key factors in this whole argument about link sharing. While the initial search engines used the “content” of your web site or page, nowadays (because of content spammers) authority (determined by incoming links) matters more.

The problem is that if a newbie or Z-lister has something really important to say or has some great idea, he or she will not get the necessary audience to propagate that idea.

I am not sure how this can be resolved because the commercialization of the Internet along with SEO businesses have changed the rules of the game that unfortunately now negatively affects new ideas.

And yes, a tech-savvy person can get his or her idea spread, but what if the person (non-profit, medical field, etc.) has no clue about Google juice and stuff like that.

I know that back in my Z-list days (I am now on the Y list for those keeping track) it was/is hard to get a post you think is fantastic noticed by hardly anyone. But is that because the A-list is so hard to break into or because the tools for mining the long-tail are so poor?

Does Google Juice matter? Does being on the A-list matter? Whose A-list are we talking about?

I've said it before and I will say it again. Personal Relevance is more important than Popularity.

People who care about what I'm saying should find it - irrespective of how many incoming links I have.

Why? Maybe because I am not as popular as Robert but I still want to be heard. Don't we all? But more importantly because a local school does not need (or want) Robert's audience. They want an audience of locals. And locals should be able to discover that content without knowing what RSS is.