Tag Archives: A-List

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?

10 Ways to Eliminate the Echo Chamber

These suggestions are not mutually exclusive:

  1. Don’t live inside your news aggregator. You don’t see me getting caught up in the daily din largely because I save my favorite tech friends for “dessert” – catching up with their feeds at the end of the week. Doing this has largely kept me from commenting on commenter’s comments on commenting comments commenting on commenters.
  2. Say something original at least once a day. Believe me, this is a tremendous challenge. I’ve been trying to do this since 1996, with the launch of Lockergnome. There are times it’s just easier to regurgitate something that somebody else said. If you think it can’t be done, you’re not thinking hard enough.
  3. If warranted, quote an “unknown” source. Instead of going for the pundit’s line, why not elevate a non-pundit instead? There’s enough room in the ‘sphere for feeding everybody’s ego.
  4. Don’t link to the same site more than once every two weeks. If the situation is large enough to be covered by a large amount of people, then we’re going to find related perspectives easily enough. Force yourself to stop seeing and seeding the same stuff over and over and over and over again.
  5. Wait a week before publishing your thoughts on hot topics. I realize this point could be taken as an anti-social move – but when everybody’s talking and nobody’s listening, what are we really accomplishing? Scoble (and no, I’m not trying to invoke the Pirillo effect by dropping his name) made me think about this a few weeks ago when we were talking about “me too” trends.
  6. Create, don’t regurgitate. It’s fun to talk about new stuff, especially if everybody else is linking to it (and it’s of interest). But what about creating something new every once in a while? And if you never do something original, then how do you ever expect us to rise above the din?
  7. Think twice before using buzzwords. There’s a time to employ jargon, and there’s a time to destroy it. My mom thinks that AJAX is a cleaning product – and so does 99% of the galaxy. Don’t merely mention a function, but how it actually makes the experience better (or worse); tell us about the features, sell us on the benefits.
  8. Make yourself uncomfortable. I don’t do it often enough, but whenever I step outside my comfort zone – I grow. I’m an introvert at heart, and the only way I can overcome this social shortcoming is by being gregarious when my gut reaction is to retreat. When you force yourself to do something that you don’t understand, the results might be messy – but they’ll be genuine. It’s cool to swim alongside the cool kids, but it’s more cool to be in a clique of one.
  9. Stop whining (or worrying) about what list you’re on (or not on). Dude, it’s not about lists anymore. Lists were designed to be exclusionary and are largely done for marketing purposes. I’m referring to lists of top people, places, or things – not lists like David Letterman’s Top Ten. People know who you are and where to find you – and no matter what you say or do in the future, their conceptions and misconceptions are ultimately going to cloud their judgements of who you really are.
  10. Stop saying we need to get out of the echo chamber. We all realize that we need to get out of the echo chamber, so what are YOU doing to help us get out of the echo chamber? Just saying we need to get out is not actually going to help get us out. Many of us have similar beliefs – great. The day for blogging about blogging, and podcasting about podcasting, is long gone.

I dare you to go a full week without touching your feed reader. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again next week. The world will still be here when you get back. And I don’t need anybody to link back to this list in order to feel validated – I’d just like everybody to start thinking about “thinking about” different things.