I noticed a few people on Twitter chatting about a site called Alltop. It is a clever idea. One opinionated, well-connected entrepreneur collects all the most buzz-worthy blogs in each category — Moms, Religion, Gadgets, etc., and creates a definitive list, a starting-off point for what people “should read.” Not only does this create a buzz among bloggers, it instantly makes this individual into a cultural arbiter. Since the final say comes from the creator of the list himself, bloggers are now desperately clamoring and wooing this person to be included on the list, since having their name included “means” that they matter. And why exactly is one mommyblogger listed and another is not? I think mommybloggers should get together and refuse to be listed if EVERYONE isn’t included. Doesn’t anyone question authority anymore?
Sure, there is a place for this in the blogosphere, just as there is in the real world. I imagine there is no better feeling for some than getting entry into a hip club while others stand outside in the rain. Alltop appeals to this type of blogger. I’m not immune to this. I’m sure I’ll get a buzz when I’m included in the “Most Flirtatious Bloggers” category. Part of the fun is getting “in,” so you can feel that you are different than the masses. Who doesn’t like being a VIP? Us and Them. It’s human nature!
Unfortunately, I’m a Queens boy at heart. I grew up in coffee shops and diners, where I would talk with my friends for hours while eating tuna fish sandwichs, linzer tarts, and drinking coffee. I like that diners and coffee shops have a diverse mix of crowds — from homeless people using their last quarters to high-powered attorneys grabbing a quick lunch, a cross-section of the city, sitting side-by-side. I’m a sucker for this populist stuff. In fact, I just watched this great documentary on Pete Seeger on PBS, crying when he sang his union songs. Now that’s poetry.
I think of my blog less as a hip club, more of an online coffee shop. I sit by the computer with my cup of coffee and talk about “stuff” with whomever showed up. I go so far as to even think about my “blog crush of the day” as a representative of the waitress working that night. That’s why I usually I pick a blogger with a nice rack who I can imagine bending down low while serving me the french fries.
The Great Interview Experiment is pure “coffee shop.” There is an open seat at the counter. Whoever comes in, takes a seat, and is stuck interviewing/being interviewed by whomever was before/is next. There are no reservations needed. Most of all, I have nothing to gain from it.
I want to give a special thanks to so many of the “popular” bloggers who are participating in the interview experiment. You are bloggers who, despite the ability to get past the velvet ropes online, still chose to take some time hanging in the coffee shop with the mailmen and construction workers of the blogosphere. As for those who are ass-kissing to get on that Alltop list, but weren’t interested in being interviewed because “you don’t want to be interviewed by some “D-lister,” it’s cool, but the coffee is better here — and so are the women.