The “A-List Gatekeeper” debate ignites again, right on schedule [it happens every 5 months or so, by my reckoning].
Nick Carr gets it going this time, followed by Michael Arrington, and Seth Finklestein piping in.
From Nick’s opening salvo:
One day, a blog-peasant boy found buried in the dust beside his shack a sphere of flawless crystal. When he looked into the ball he was astounded see a moving picture. It was an image of a fleet of merchant ships sailing into the harbor of the island of Blogosphere. The ships bore names that had long been hated throughout the island, names like Time-Warner and News Corp and Pearson and New York Times and Wall Street Journal and Conde Nast and McGraw-Hill. The blog-peasants gathered along the shore, jeering at the ships and telling the invaders that they would soon be vanquished by the brave royals in the great castle. But when the captains of the merchant ships made their way to the gates of the castle, bearing crates of gold, they were not repelled by the royals with cannons but rather welcomed with fanfares. And all through the night the blog-peasants could hear the sounds of a great feast inside the castle walls.
In Nick’s post I left the following comment:
There are basically two rules of blogging:
1. Nobody is going to read your blog unless there’s something in it for them.
2. Nobody is going to link to your blog unless there’s something in it for them.
These two rules apply to us all, A-List and Z-List alike. If you don’t like these rules, you’re better off finding an ecology whose rules you like better. Life is short.
In Seth’s blog I left the following comment:
I’m curious about the way you seperate bloggers into two distinct groups: “Gatekeepers” and “Non-Gatekeepers”.
I believe this is a false distinction. Every time you create a link to another blog, you are creating a doorway of sorts, between your blog and another blog. ie. you too are creating a gate.
Every blogger is a gatekeeper, whether he wants to admit it or not.
Or am I missing something?
What I always find most interesting every time this issue pops up is, there’s rarely any mention by the gatekeeper-conspiracy-theorists that maybe, just maybe the quality of the content is a factor in all this. Both Nick and Seth, for example, fail to mention this. Am I surprised? Not really. I’ve seen it all before, many times.
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you, or Nick, or Seth from believing that if your blog isn’t being read enough for your liking, it has nothing to do with its most excellent musings, and everything to do with some A-List Gatekeeper conspiracy to keep The Little Guy down. But that’s not an idea I’d be willing to bet my career on.
[Bonus Link:] Nice perspective on all this nonsense from Pamela Slim, whose blog, “Escape From Cubicle Nation”, I’ve only just discovered, and like a lot.