Geekspin Blog

Limpeting the M-list

Posted on: March 1, 2006

I found this interesting exploratory furthering of thoughts around the phenomenon of A-lists and gatekeeping by Adam Green.

I think there is also a more gradual phenomenon that I call the revenge of the M-list. When a new area of interest develops, such as what we are now seeing with OPML reading lists, a group of mutually linking bloggers emerges. If one of these bloggers is an A-lister, then the majority of the links point to his or her posts on the subject. If, on the other hand, the inter-linkers are all middle ranked bloggers, let’s call them M-listers, they tend to link to each other fairly liberally. As new people become interested in the subject, they find these clusters of posts (memetracking sites do a great job of revealing M-list clusters), and also link to many of the blogs in the cluster, since there is no one recognizable A-lister to link to exclusively. In time the M-lister who is most prolific on this subject, but not necessarily the best writer or scobler, acquires even more links. Eventually this blogger becomes the authority on the subject, and even A-listers take note and deliver links. The resulting accumulation of links are enough to reach A-list status. Thus we have a slow bubbling up from the middle, rather than the overnight success story so often told by analysts.

I must say I do think there is a lot of merit in this idea, but it got me thinking .. what if I am not in that middle list yet, can I somehow play it to my advantage?

A lot of the clustering phenomenon is built on trust networks, basically people that trust you tend to read your posts and link to those posts, thus as you enlarge these networks, clusters will start forming around you naturally. You get a sense of this if you start following specific bloggers, you see the same faces commenting and linking time and time again, thus a cluster has formed within your trust space.

Now what if I dont have my own trust cluster around me yet? Sure everybody has a loyal reader or two, maybe even one or two groupies 🙂 , but can I use attach myself to someone else’s trust cluster? The answer needs to be a resounding yes.

Lets look at how you move through the Z-list to the M-list:
1) Write often, this will make you form your ideas better over time, i.e. people will like what you say eventually.
2) Build networks: Get blog rolled, email people with personal comments and feedback, chances are they will keep an eye on you.
3) Make yourself visible: trackbacks, comments tags all these things work. They burn you into the collective conscience of the
4) Attach yourself to a M-list cluster, to fasttrack a few letters.

Wow, number 4 is the kicker. If there is any merit on this cluster idea slowly moving to the top (my mate dave likes to say “the cream always rises to the top”), there has to be some sort of effect when attaching yourself to a cluster. Not as a parasite, but more like those single people that try to squeeze themselves into your ring at a school dance, or like hanging around the perimeter of the cool click in a hope that some coolness might rub off. 🙂 Think about, when someone finds a meme and starts examining it they might find you in there somewhere, won’t they?

Just my 2 cents, do you think there is any merit in this technique? Shall we call it limpeting?

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2 Responses to "Limpeting the M-list"

M-listers and Down-linkers

Interesting discussion going on about M-listers – the middle crowd, somewhat known bloggers but not quite A-listers – crosslinking to each other, eventually elevating some to A-list level.  “In time the M-lister who is most prolific on this subj…

Very cool topic.

I’d say that the long tail is beginning whip the head in the direction it wants it to go… Power to the people!

But for us aspirant M-Z’s I agree that the best way to crack the nod is to develop an expertise (specific!) and just keep plugging away at it. Not expecting overnight success… but gradual momentum through perseverance and improvement.

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