This issue basically cropped up after Tony criticized those who were vocal against PayPerPost-type schemes for not recognizing the existence of the so-called blue collar bloggers–those of us who don’t have the connections, notoriety, nor capital to launch, run, and earn from a popular blog. Blue collar bloggers, according to Tony, make do with whatever monetization mechanisms are available to them, and pay per post schemes are among the most accessible and easiest way to earn.
Jason’s argument was that the so-called A List doesn’t exist because the people who are supposedly A-listers are no different from the rest of us.
What a joke… a couple of years ago Scoble, Jarvis, and I were the blue collar bloggers! We were hustling trying to get our vocies heard and a couple of years later–after blogging daily/hourly–the supposed “A List” got some traction and attention.
Here is a tip: THEY EARNED IT!!! They busted their butts for years blogging in an intelligent way. They were not given their seats at the table–they took them!
[T]here is no A-List in blogging. Just people who’ve been blogging longer than others and who are smarter or better writers–or all of those things. [Relevant links added -Ed]
But Tony thinks that to deny the presence of social stratification in the blogosphere is arrogant.
I’ve come a long way in blogging, but I’m not blind to the fact that the vast majority of bloggers — even those who bring something new, refreshing, and regular to the table — may find barriers to blogging success in spite of hard work or their talent. I’d like to believe in the democracy of blogging, but the fact is that there are certain advantages that some bloggers have that others don’t. Not having them doesn’t mean you can’t be an A-lister, but I have yet to find one that didn’t have any.
The “A-list” exists, and it exists naturally. Do I think some of them “call it in”? Sure. But some of them also continue to blog just as hard as they do when they first started. But to think that a natural stratification doesn’t exist — or if it does, is easy to penetrate if you “are good and work hard” — is quite frankly, blind and a little arrogant.
Personally, I tend to agree with Tony. And that’s not because he’s my “boss” here at the Blog Herald. I think that no matter how great an equalizer the Web and the blogosphere have become, the same social stratifications that exist in the real world also exist in social media (especially since it’s social in the first place).
So there are A Listers–the white collar bloggers, the rock stars, those who have stronger influence and wider reach than others. And there are blue collar bloggers, who do the nitty gritty work and try to earn a living even from means considered by some to be not so honorable. This doesn’t mean that the rock stars don’t work as hard (or as smart) as the rest of us do, but somehow they have it easier, as they have their popularity and influence as leverage. And then of course, there are those who don’t really care about getting a dime off the blogosphere, but are there to use it for more personal reasons.
What do you think? Feel free to pitch in.