Upper Ranks? Who defines these things anyway?

Two articles on the subject of blogging showed up in today’s Arts and Letters Daily about how the “Upper ranks” of bloggers are dominated by white males. One article says that it’s so and calls for greater diversity. The other article says it’s so also, but claims that it’s the case because women and minorities either don’t hold forth with opinions (wow, they must not know the women I know) or aren’t skilled enough to use the web (wow, they must not know the minorities I know.)
Both of them are wrong, because they’re both making a stupid assumption that isn’t true — there is no “upper ranks” or “A-list” or “top tier” of bloggers. They both throw out the premise like it’s an accepted fact, without defining what the hell this “top tier” is. Do they measure that by traffic? By cross-links? By name-recognition? Number of comments? They never say. One lists the “top 100 bloggers” but never says who determined who that is, or how.
Sure there are some bloggers that talk a lot about each other and link back and forth to each other and a lot of that group are white men. But the idea that they’re somehow important, or that there’s some sort of heirarchy amongst bloggers is ridiculous. It implies that all bloggers are doing the same thing for the same reasons, or that there’s some standard by which we determine who’s who.
“Steven Levy’s minimum prescription for joining the ranks of Alpha blogging: “You have to post frequently . . . link prodigiously,” and, like one technology guru he describes, spend two hours daily writing your weblog and “three more hours reading hundreds of other blogs.”
Why? Why the hell is that the standard? That’s just ridiculous. Hell lots of sites get lots of cross-linking and comments, but a lot of them don’t have nearly the traffic numbers that I do. Of course on my site, most people are just here to look for the lyrics to plastic jesus and they end up reading my journal on a lark, but still, my numbers stack up to some big sites. But here’s a challenge — if you’re reading this, comment.
This is what happens when the mainstream media tries to define something that it’s already behind the curve on. Here’s a tip people: shut up until you catch up.
I will say this — between these two articles, this is some of the worst writing I’ve read on the web recently. Most blogs examine ideas more thoroughly and intelligently than these two pieces do, and that’s truly a sad state of affairs for “mainstream media.”
How’s that for a woman expressing an opinion, National Review?

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. denise

    I stumbled on your blog 2 or 3 years ago while looking for that incoming college freshman list. I emailed it to my friend and she said “hey, check out the rest of the site.” I like all the intelligent, interesting stuff here. The personal stuff is straight forward and engaging. Also, I hate Bush too. Just when you think he can’t get any worse….I’m straight and I support gay rights.

  2. Beth

    I rise to the challenge! I have been reading your blog for a couple month now, not sure why, I just find it interesting. 🙂 Although, as a woman, I surely don’t know much about the net….;-)

  3. CGHill

    Big Media spend an inordinate amount of time on motion-picture box-office numbers, which bear essentially no relationship to actual quality; it’s no surprise they should focus on the alleged “top bloggers.” This does, however, demonstrate that their cluelessness isn’t newly acquired – it’s bred into them.

  4. Angela

    I have been a fan for over 2 years now. Whatever is going on in the world, I always know I can count on an educated and informative opinion from you Steph. My thoughts are with you through this coming challenge, I remain as always,a dedicated lurker.

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