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On “A-Lists” and the Blogosphere

Okay. I've bitten the bullet and decided to join the discussion on blogging "A-Lists." I've been avoiding this because whilst I'm not a fence sitter on the issue, I don't want to bang heads either for many reasons.

There's a lot of hoohaa with this "A-List" thingy lately. Especially when there are blogs like Blogebrity showing up and you get popularity lists from the likes of Technorati and Feedster.

A lot of people put A-Lists down and say that they're no good anyway. But, people remain fascinated nevertheless --- either publicly or secretly; knowingly or otherwise. That's why as I said, there will always be the “in crowd� - perceived ones, self-proclaimed ones and awarded ones. We all want to know what makes people tick --- and which ones tick us off.

That's okay. It's part of the human psyche.

Recently, "A-Lister" Jeff Jarvis linked and mentioned a recent post where I recommended a few knitting blogs that I found and liked (via my About.com Web Logs site) and wrote:

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.

I'm not sure exactly what he meant. As far as I understand, he's basically saying that existing "A-Lists" don't really count for much. People won't care about what Wil Wheaton has to say if they're not interested in him and the things that he's interested in, even if he's considered an A-Lister. Lists only matter to individual bloggers --- and perhaps, the blogging circle he or she is involved in. Those are the lists that count.

I hope that's what Jeff is saying mostly because that's the line of thought I'm coming from.

Although I feature "A-Listers" on my About.com site and I have a list of recommended blogs, I don't really support a particular A-List. In fact, I love it when I "discover" a good blogger that's not on a typical A-List. Case in point: When I did an interview with Elisa Camahort, I haven't heard much about her beforehand. We just got to chatting via another blog or forum and I featured her story. After that, I saw more stories about her in the news and other blogs. That was great.

Of course, as part of my job, I try to track some of the well-known bloggers... what they do, what they say, where they go... But, very few - if any - make it to my personal blogroll.

It's just like watching people on the news. My attention may be grabbed by headlines made by people like Bush, Howard or Blair... or even Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, or Jessica Simpson. But, it doesn't mean that I like them or that I'd want to invite them over for dinner in my house. (Yikes. Can you just picture that?)

Anyway, in that same blog entry by Jeff Jarvis, Cal asked me: "If your list isn’t the A-list, why single out those blogs?"

To which I answered:

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.

If people perceive my recommended blog lists on About.com an "A-List" --- then perhaps, to them, it is. But, I am just one person. If I can create an A-List, it doesn't stop anyone else from creating their own. And, it's up to each individual whether to adhere to a particular A-List or not.

So --- who's on YOUR A-List?

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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