Blog High

by phil on Tuesday Dec 16, 2003 4:07 PM

The blogosphere feels like High School all over again.

Just like in High School, there is the popular crowd. You know who they are in the blogosphere. Ernie, Rebecca, Will, Pirillo, Winer, Aaron. And then there's Cory Doctorow. The alpha-male cum yearbook editor-in-chief, giving a great meta-commentary on the usefulness of blogging, and co-authoring a book on blogging.

They have their own circles, referencing and gossiping about one another. Just look at them, jovially cross-linking each other, knowing how quickly their guestbooks, inboxes, and pageranks increase.

And like in High School, when the big cliques purchased ad space in the back of the yearbooks to self-congratulate on being a member of their clique, the blogosphere has its own similar ceremonies.

The in-crowd of the blogosphere has the same perks of the popular crowd in High School. They have their own prom court. They have the lion's share of the blogging hits online and the lion's share of the blogging pageranks. If they want to run a "google bomb"--the blogging equivalent of the senior-prank--they definitely have the power to do so.

You can tell I'm jealous. Just like I was jealous of the popular kids in High School, I too would love to revel in all the attention that comes with being in Technorati's Top 100.

But I don't speak their language, I don't wear their clothes. I couldn't don the act of a populist technophile who loves to curl up to my laptop and blog, while I pet my cat. I couldn't recycle articles about technology and funny nuances a la Boing Boing or Aaron Schwartz. Nor could I toot my horn like some sort of freedom-writer/Thomas Paine type like Glen, Atrios, and Volokh

And maybe that's why I never became part of the popluar crowd in High School. I'd sure want the perks and trappings of having many hits and high page ranks, but I wouldn't want to actively participate, go to all their school dances, and become them.

And my perspective is all wrong. It's not like your position in the pecking order is really a choice anyways. I don't think Raed said one day, "I'm going to be a passionate and emotional voice for injustice in Iraq in order to become a phenom."

I feel like a sophomore in Blog High. I've been blogging for about 8 months now, but have a moderate following and a few loose blog-fiends. I've got some page-rank power, half of my page views come from search engines now.

Even if I wrote a few impactful articles that got high on blogdex, I still wouldn't get the keys to the in-crowd. I'd have to fill up their comment forms, e-mail them about broken links, trackback their posts with "me too"isms, and tone down my arrogance.

The lesson I learnt from High School is that you can't fake it. Selling out gets easily detected and rejected. Likewise, I think I'd stick out like a sore-thumb among the elite bloggers. So, I think I'll follow the common imperative, "be yourself." That's what blogging's all about anyways, letting yourself unfurl in ways that the real world can't permit.


The Commissar said on December 16, 2003 5:05 PM:

Great post.

You might enjoy this post:

Bob said on December 22, 2003 3:56 PM:

Being famous apparently isn't all it's cracked up to be...even in the blog subculture:

Joi Ito

Creative Commons License