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8 Comments // Filed in Web / Etc

A Blog Caste System?

Tom Murphy writes about the emergence of a caste system in the “blogosphere” which generally has an interesting point about ego and buying into it, but this is the line that bugs me:

Either get involved and accept the responsibilities of having a popular blog or stop. If you want to author something without the responsibility for conversation then publish a book ? without any contact information. Tom Murphy

This starts the age-old “who owns your blog” argument. Andy Rutledge wrote a very good article why he doesn’t have comments on his website. The specific line that people should pay attention to (emphasis mine):

This is an example of the harmful culture of delusion from a kind of comment-fantasy saturating the Web. The harm comes from the mistaken idea that if I?m commenting on enough things and writing about enough things, it amounts to something tangible and consequential. Andy Rutledge

I believe if you are a popular blogger (and I define “popular” by readership — numbers don’t lie), it’s probably a good idea to keep your posts regular to keep with momentum and reputation — but if you don’t, I don’t know what the big deal is considering there are new blogs popping up every day with similar or better content! Just look at 9rules and how they are showcasing lesser known sites mixed in with some popular ones.

This mythical “caste system” is a result of people not in the immediate limelight categorizing everyone. It’s not as if an “a-list” blogger suddenly put a crown on their head and decreed themselves a monarch in the blogosphere out of nowhere. They became popular because the content of their website intrigued people, and they kept it up for some time.

The answer isn’t trying to scold a blogger to “get involved and accept the responsibilities of having a popular blog” — it’s to highlight blogs that are currently and still doing a good job, instead of complaining about yesteryear and why the hell isn’t So-and-So posting as frequently or as good. It’s almost a bit of a reverse psychology — this would motivate bloggers to get off their ass to actually write something in order to get back their readership. That is, if it mattered to them, and sometimes it doesn’t.

The web is like a living being, and it has its ups and downs. Some people have dry spells — and, well, life — and can’t necessarily always keep up with demands. Also, if they “buy into” some of the hype — do they really? Or is it just like any other person who tries to keep up a reputation that took hard work (at least initially) to build? I mean, if someone wants to call me a “celebrity” or part of the “cool crowd” I laugh it off — but I don’t necessarily want to dissuade someone from thinking it because there’s a reputation for quality built in there. There’s a perceived notion I’m somehow special — why can’t I be? Why can’t I perpetuate this thought, especially if I had worked hard for it or if there is evidence to back it up? This is not about “believing the hype” or feeding an ego. It’s about confidence.

There is a thin line between arrogance and confidence, but if you’re grounded enough in reality, with help from friends, family, colleagues and common sense, I’m sure bad attitude can be kept in check.

The irony of this type of article is the focus is on hype, and trying not to buy into it. However, it’s a bit clear the hype’s already been bought and resold so many times on eBay that it resembles the Million Dollar Homepage.

Here’s an analogy: You may hate Paris Hilton because she seems to be famous for nothing, but talking about her in context of fame and hype only continues to perpetuate her celebrity status — she’s the perfect example of a public creating a celebrity persona without her really putting any effort. It’s the same in the blogosphere.

If you don’t want a celebrity culture or “caste system,” then don’t put people in those positions. Though, in reality, people will always categorize someone somewhere — so it might as well be a positive.

8 blabs to A Blog Caste System?

Add something to the conversation!

I agree. Write about what you like, whenever you want. If other people like it too, great. If not, there are plenty of other sites out there that they can go to.

What I don’t get is the whole “Pro-Blogger” scene. Writing about writing, gossiping about gossip, who cares?

Picture of Tom

Name Tom

Date Jan 17
11:01 PM

Great and informative article. Not to be picky, but I think you meant “reality” at the end instead of “realiy.”

Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Jan 17
11:40 PM

Tom, thanks, and changed the mispelling. I should run spellcheck more often. ;-)

Picture of david

Name david

Date Jan 18
12:31 AM

Hey Lea I totally agree with you. I think some of it comes out of jealousy or frustration from being ‘famous’ also, I do think that we all at some point feel like that. I know I have but then again im mature enough not to go flaming up peoples comment boxes with complaints. at some point you have to just realize that it just was not meant to be or you need to work harder.


Whoa! One of the reasons I mulled over the afforementioned post was that it might cause confusion.

Although I realize this comment runs the risk of being categorized in the “he would say that wouldn’t he” group, I think we’re in agreement.

I have always contested the zealous view of blogs as something that are changing the world.

The point of the caste system was to highlight some double talk taking place online. If people have successfully built a large readership fair play to them, however, if they have done so by regaling us all on the brave new world of blogs, the emergence of conversation, attacking blogs for not having comments etc. and then the same author turns around and says “I’m too popular to be talking with the likes of you” then I think it should be pointed out that there’s a lack of consistency there.

I don’t care if people have comments and trackbacks, I don’t care if people link back to one another. These arcane arguments which we still see today leave me cold.

I don’t see myself as a jealous, lonely un-read, blogger. Actually after three years I still enjoy it, still enjoy the discussion and enjoy the global network of conversation that’s sprung up.

What I don’t agree with is people self-appointing themselves to a mytical “A-list” by being too “busy” to talk to the very people who drive their AdWords revenue.

If someone is going to lecture readers on how the mainstream media (a term I detest) is failing and will be replaced by the brave new world of blogging (not), then that person is being inconsistent by re-creating the same conditions on their blog.

That’s all.

I’m all for live and let live. Post when you want, use RSS, talk about what you want.

That’s enough rambling for today :-)


Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Jan 18
04:26 PM

Then Tom, wouldn’t the problem be rampant hypocrisy rather than a caste system — isn’t every type of blogger, no matter what “rank” they’re at, capable of doublespeak?

Anyway, I think the point I was trying to make was that the “self-appointment” of rank in bloggers is a myth in itself. This type of ranking is imposed by others, not the actual blogger themselves.

I think just perpetuating the caste mythology is like a circular argument: it goes nowhere.

Words on screen are up to interpretation; I simply believe that a combination of laziness, work, and family have a lot more clout in the decline of quality articles or responses than an overinflated ego or perceived rank.

That being said, there are exceptions. There are personalities out there who overinflate their importance and influence, only to exploit and squander it. But if this happens, there’s plenty of sincere blogs out there waiting to fill the gap.

This reminds me of an episode from “Sex And The City”, where the 3 was discussing over the existence (or not) of a caste system in the modern society. Then they stopped talking and looked at the other girls “doing their nails” and them the 3 came to a same conclusion: “ok, there are caste system!”

but I believe that’s because we make them

We build the “cool crowd” but we also build the “poor crowd” with our behavior of certain things..

I liked your post very much (again)… may I produce a portuguese version to put on my blog? or just cite your post as reference to some ideas that I have related to this subject?


Picture of Lea

Name Lea

Date Jan 19
04:02 PM

Hi Douglas, if you want to translate it into Portugese, go ahead! Please put a link back, of course, and thanks for asking!

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