August 08, 2005

Bert and I, Bert and I, Bert and I

Couldn't resist a bit of Vagina Monologue after I said "Bert and I" earlier today. Yeah , I know, Burt is with a "u" in The Flood, but it sounds the the same; a homonym that I am sure of, after I was heckled for thinking pin and pen were homonyms. Sorry, I digress.

Bert had a lonely weekend I think; even though Mister Rogers told us on Friday that aloneness and loneliness were not the same thing, he was lonely. He swam right over as soon as I came in this morning and stayed on that side of the bowl all day.

This was good since we had a lot to chat about. You see, Bert had a lot to say about Mary Hodder's Link Love Lost and Danah Boyd's The Biases of Links. I explained linking, Technorati, and of course he knows all about Google.

I have to say upfront that Bert is a Betta; so doesn't quite "get" blogs because it reminds him of bogs and being a Southern United States Betta with Southeast Asia ancestors, he tends to think he knows about bogs. Bert seems to get "feeds" better.
However, like I said, after the explanations, he had some good insight. I also have to thank him with providing me with a nice allegory to share with you.

Bert broke it down like this: Some blogs are like a beautiful male betta in a bowl. Bert actually said this was him, claiming he was either the Scoble or Boing Boing of the Betta world. Bert really should be nicknamed big ego betta but what can I do?)Then he claimed the majority of blogs were like guppies, they breed fast, some have short lives, some have long ones, some are pretty but nearly all are interested in hooking up with each other, being social fish. Now, Bert claims he is social and he is to a point...he is more than willing to share his views with his admirers and those impressed by showing off. Bert eschews the casual interaction though. He puffs big and says see, I am what you need and this is why. Sure, he may comment, he may show off, but he isn't going to give you a list of his best buddies.

Unfortunately, Bert doesn't see any problems with ranking as it stands now. He believes that in the end, you can have a beautiful guppy, will get noticed on its own and that the Betta's of the blog world...those Technorati top blogs deserve to be there because...well...they are just prettier in a puffy colorful fish kind of way.

Now, here is where Bert and I came to an impasse. I kept the Napsterization post new for an age and a half. I kept the Many 2 Many post new all day. I read them both numerous times, pondered them, waiting for time to blog about them when I had the perfect answer. (Despite keeping stuff new drives me nuts and even though, as I told Nancy White , I needed to WORK not just discuss the theory behind what I am to do at work with my fish). Unfortunately, I don't think there is a perfect answer.

I know from my work in community, that people who want to get noticed can increase the odds. There are a couple dozen good practices that are surefire winners whether you are talking urban renewal, activist groups, PTA, message boards or blogging. People who want to build community can and do every day.

You may go to their grassroots meeting or read their blog or board and think "why is this person so popular and I have nothing? They can't write. They have dopey topics and who wants to talk about this day after day?" But everyone you know is crazy about this person. Then you see, this person radiates a wee bit of magic, that magic comes from passion, for the topic, either a natural magic because of whatever sent that particular person to want to build community regarding that topic or the magic of just being passionate about community (or yes, a good paycheck, that seems to work well particularly for money-motivated folk).

The other part of that is what Bert has, an overly well-formed ego that can keep going even when no one is talking back. A dedication to the belief that this post, this blog, this community is important, even if you don't get the positive feedback from a search engine, bigger puffier fish in the sea, or even the people who you know are reading but remain lurkers combined with that resiliant ego is the key. No, it may not be the answer to the link, don't link, Technorati, do whatever the SEO folk say is the best Google strategy week, don't do any of these things question. It is the answer to building a community you love and can live with day after day year after year. So if you are a guppy, there really is an answer, if community is your goal, build it and don't worry about the A-list unless you need the reinforcement of that sort of indicator. If you are a Betta, you know the answer as well, puff yourself up, show off and swish by obligingly when you have an audience. But remember...bettas can be lonely even with a mirror.


Nancy White said...

GREAT post. I love it. More work avoidance. You are evil. I love it!

TW said...

I did wait until I got home to write though. Bert is always good for some work avoidance.

You no doubt should know that Bert is swimming around and showing off vigorously because you stopped by and I am grinning dopily that Nancy White said I had a great post.

Now back to the puzzle of code gone bad.

supa said...

guppy says good work! :)

Nice post.

TW said...

Thanks Supa! It was a lot of fun.