What Happens When you Don't Follow the Norm?

I’m quite active over at FriendFeed. I find that the more I post and read, the more I learn about people around me. FriendFeed has allowed me to reach out and meet people I never otherwise would have, and it has enriched me in many ways.

As with the Blogosphere (and pretty much anything else), FriendFeed has its “A-List” group of posters. Recently, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I quit following all of those people. I found that inevitably, those following the A-Listers were much more interesting at times.

A listers are just filler until you get to the great folks – Simian DA (Amber)

I follow everyone just to see the noise that the A listers put into the system that ISN’T paid attention to. – Robert Scoble

Well, that, and I just like the noise from everyone. – Robert Scoble

Who started that term ‘noise’ anyway? It sounds rude. The things people share and the comments they post are far from ‘noise’ imo. – Mona N.

I don’t think the A-list truly exists. Link? 😉 – Josh Haley

noise is a very generic term mona; I think you are trying to put it into the wrong context when thinking that – Michael J. Cohen (mjc)

think it comes from the "river of noise" designation regarding twitter – Michael J. Cohen (mjc)

A listers! I love that term. Who do these people think they are? None of them are changing the world. – Ryan

Mona: you should try following 20,000 on Twitter like I do. Then you’d understand what I’m saying when I say "noise." – Robert Scoble

@Ryan – maybe not changing the world, but often they change my day… and usually for the better. – Lindsay Donaghe

Ryan: you do realize what "A" stands for, don’t you? It isn’t positive. 🙂 – Robert Scoble

mjc: Wrong context? That is how I view that term… but now that I read your second comment, I see now. Remember? I didn’t flow from Twitter to here? – Mona N.

I’m not hating on A-listers as much as I’m hating on the haters who labeled people A-listers. – Ryan

then we have people like me who have exhausted the letters and numbers lists and had to start on the non-standard characters to define their ranking 😉 – alphaxion

I want to follow the ~listers. – Lindsay Donaghe

mjc: "signal to noise ratio" borrowed from radio and electrical engineering, and then subsequently applied to usenet groups, etc., is a phrase that has been around for awhile. Noise = stuff you don’t care about. http://www.netlingo.com/lookup…Laura Norvig

Yeah, but Scoble – if you follow 20,000, some degree of noise is to be expected. 🙂 Twitter, to me, is a craps shoot for content – that’s why I like it. You never know what’s going on. Noise can also be seen as a chance for serendipity. FriendFeed is much the same way – I’ve come to appreciate that aspect of "social networks." – l0ckergn0me

@Scoble really? I guess I had a different definition of A-lister. – Ryan

Robert: But FriendFeed is different from Twitter. Twitter is so one sided. With @replies galore and one sided conversations up the wa-zoo. FriendFeed is way different, imho. – Mona N.

@l0ckergn0me you’re an a-lister so this is somewhat circular – Jeremiah Owyang

Serendipity is the major reason to swim in noise. – Robert Scoble

D-Listers Unite! White Noise Platform! (picture a crowd of people holding placards with nothing but TV-snow on em, and shouting from megaphones that just emit a raspy SHHHH of static) – Marko

Robert’s got seriously huge floaties to "swim" so well in all this noise! – Susan Beebe

I don’t know that I could unsubscribe from any of the "A-listers" because they are often responsible for starting discussions that would never get started, involving people who never would have been able to be involved in the discussion. I’ve found FF to be a truly fascinating social experiment. – Kenton

I don’t even know who the a-listers are…if you are interesting (meaning you have a pulse and post mostly in english) I will probably subscribe to you…if you subscribe to me, have a pulse and speak mostly in english I will subscribe to you – AlexScoble(Robert’sBro)

Who are the A-listers? – Jonathan (Bad Robot)

This is fun and all, but I feel like the Architect rebooted the Matrix or something… – Mark Dykeman

excellent point. but aren’t you also ALIST? – Noah David Simon

No, Noah, Chris is king of the G-list (G in this instance alternatively standing for Gnome or Geek) – AlexScoble(Robert’sBro)

@alex I find there is a degree of popularity contest about it too.. regardless of what some people have to say, they get ignored for others who post vacuous but ego massaging posts. T’is the way of the world really! cyber or meat space are more alike than many realise. – alphaxion

Yeah, you are probably right, alpha…I’m just looking for interesting conversations, personally – AlexScoble(Robert’sBro)

So what do you think? Would you rather follow a group of “A-Listers” on places like blogs, Twitter and FriendFeed? Or would you rather break from the norm, and follow your own beat?