Experiment

7 comments April 9th, 2007at 03:03pm Posted by Eli

Thinking about the Josh Bell violin experiment, and the recent big-bloggers-vs-small-bloggers debates, it would be interesting to see what happened if one of the big bloggers started a new blog completely anonymously, and didn’t use their big blog to link to or promote it in any way. (Assume, for the sake of argument, that they can do this without diluting the content of either blog)

How much traffic would they get? How many people would recognize them? Would their new blog ever make it to the A-list?

I think that in most cases, the new blog would be successful, for the same reasons the original blog was successful, but I think the odds of making it higher than the B-list are slim. Purely speculation, of course, but it would be an interesting experiment. I suppose if Kos or Atrios or Jane or Christy or Digby ever wanted to guest-post anonymously on my blog, I would be happy to have ’em, but I really don’t see it happening (besides, I’d rather earn my meager traffic on my own dubious merits anyway).

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere

7 Comments

  • 1. Kai  |  April 9th, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Eli, you just cracked me up…the string of hypothetical and/or untenable conditions leading eventually to your co-authoring offer which you immediately retract is, I suppose, as much of a strictly-thought experiment as it gets…lol…!

  • 2. Eli  |  April 9th, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Would a cloning-type scenario work better?

    I really would like a definitive answer to the meritocracy vs. seniority/famous debate. There are some A-list blogs that are well-written enough or have juicy enough content that I can see them becoming popular no matter when they launched, BUT. I don’t know what kind of promotion and connections they had when they started out. To me, it looked like Glenn Greenwald came out of nowhere and was absolutely huge. I think Atrios linked to him on a regular basis almost immediately, but did he discover him on his own, or were people nudging him to take a look? Or was GG e-mailing people all over the place to please read his blog?

    Ultimately, I think there still is a meritocracy, but any new blog has a lot more competition for attention now than 4-5 years ago, which makes it a lot harder to hit it big without either connections, aggressive self-promotion, or truly unique, superlative content.

    I think a lot of the good-but-obscure blogs just aren’t that interested in self-promotion, or else they’re so heavyhanded about it that they turn people off.

  • 3. Kai  |  April 9th, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Yeah I hear you, Eli, I didn’t mean to suggest any lesser significance to your observations just because they exist in the realm of thought. I hope I didn’t come across that way. Unfortunately I don’t think any definitive answer to your query will be forthcoming. As the saying goes, markets are imperfect. I guess I think that merit is relative; and when you’ve never exactly felt part of the mainstream, the concept of mainstream meritocracy is just less of an issue, as you assume your idea of merit is marginal. Know what I mean? The good thing is that it leaves room for bloggers like you and me (woohoo!) who don’t exactly fall in line with, well, dominant expectations, so to speak. Then there’s just dumb luck, right? And who knows what else.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.

    Cheers.

  • 4. Eli  |  April 9th, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Unfortunately I don’t think any definitive answer to your query will be forthcoming.

    I actually think some variation on this experiment *could* be done; but it never will be, because I can’t imagine any A-list blogger wanting to undertake that kind of “D-List Like Me” project. I mean, I guess *I* could do it, but I couldn’t get a whole lot more obscure than I am now.

    I’ve never had any aspirations to the big time (I’d like more traffic, but I’m not willing to do the self-promotion because it makes me ill) but I still find it intriguing in the abstract, especially every time one of the big-timers dismissively says that it’s solely about how good your blog is. I’m certainly not foolish enough to think that I’m a great blogger who would be an A-lister if I just got the right breaks, or that not being on Atrios’s blogroll is somehow keeping me down.

  • 5. SPIIDERWEB™  |  April 10th, 2007 at 3:45 am

    I love the idea, but doubt it will happen. They would hardly become A-listers overnight. I just don’t see that happening.

    Your commenters are right. Now it’s far easier to get lost in the shuffle. It probably would require aggressive self-promotion and contacting the right people.

    Finally, I do believe Glenn Greenwald initially was a regular commenter over at Atrio’s site and was encouraged to start his own site. I may be wrong about that, but it’s often how some of the alpha dogs begin. They do good work and are recognized by the big of the big bloggers.

    I’ve posted how I like to get traffic, but only in moderation because I can’t afford a dedicated server. I appreciate my regular readers. They’re good folks and seem to appreciate my scraps of info.

  • 6. Eli  |  April 10th, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Finally, I do believe Glenn Greenwald initially was a regular commenter over at Atrio’s site and was encouraged to start his own site. I may be wrong about that, but it’s often how some of the alpha dogs begin. They do good work and are recognized by the big of the big bloggers.

    Yes, a lot of them are ex- (or not-ex-) commenters, although Greenwald was never an Atrios commenter. Kos or FDL, maybe? Or I could see him coming from TPMCafe, if it was around back then.

  • 7. HopeSpringsATurtle  |  April 11th, 2007 at 1:31 am

    The Josh x-periment was interesting. What Leonard Slatkin believed the outcome would be proved totally wrong. I think if your hypothetical came to be Eli, that it would build attention very gradually and not become A-list without the usual machinations of the blogosphere to help out. Pretty much everyone that A-lists now started when blogging was still in it’s infancy. Now that it has become a toddler, I doubt that great writing alone would elevate a blog to A-list status.

    I am still pretty naive about the blogosphere, but when I started 11 months ago, I expected that once I posted something it would get a response. my first post got exactly nothing. No views, no comments, nothing. I doubt anyone read it.

    I do not consider myself anywhere near the league of an A-lister ( proudly a C-lister here) but I think this medium is evovling quickly and still doesn’t quite have solid ‘legs.’ The folks who are successful in blogging have much more than writing skills at their disposal. The blogosphere has yet to come into its own and an A-list blogger still is a total unknown to most Americans, so really what does it mean anyway?

    I am hoping that this medium does grow into a true, new voice for the disenfrancised of every stripe and a vibrant new voice for true democracy.


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