Narcissism, Honesty and the Technorati Top 100

There’s comin’ down the street
They’re comin’ right down the middle
Look how they keep the beat
Why they’re as blue as the ocean
How the sun shines down
How their feet hardly touch the ground
Jolly [Bloggers] On Parade

-Randy Newman

Guy Kawasaki gives a video interview I saw over at Jeremiah Owyang’s blog.  I had read about this interview, but wasn’t that interested in watching it.  As I have said before, I’d rather interact with other lesser beings than to play the jester in the court of the geek kings, and all that.  But a couple of the quotes from Jeremiah’s post that showed up in my reader got my attention.  Particularly this one:

His goal is to be ranked in Technorati as the top 10, he’s 14 pegs away. Guy says he doesn’t read any other blogs other than his, well he only has about 40 feeds that he reads.

Being largely a math sort of guy, that tells me that Guy wants others to read his blog, but he isn’t interested in reading anyone else’s blog.  That’s just the sort of thing I like to point out and poke fun at, so I watched the video.

Yes, Guy comes off as a little self-centered (more on that below).  But he also makes some good points along the way.  Best of all, he bashed the (other) A-Listers around pretty good.  He says he wants to be the non-asshole A-Lister.  Great sound bite, but the proof is in the pudding.  Read on.

First, he says that blogs that are journals are boring.  He’s wrong about that.  Blogs written by bad writers are boring, whether they’re journals or not.  A good writer can make a journal a hundred times more interesting than yet another nerd writing a me too post about the latest web 2.0 application.

Guy admits he had an “enormous advantage” when he started blogging.  No kidding. I pointed that out after he’d been doing it for a month and a half.  But that’s not the advantage he talks about.  Apparently Guy spammed thousands of people whose email addresses he had collected over the years to announce his blog.  Can you imagine the nine kinds of hell some unknown blogger would suffer if he or she did that?  Guy was a known and respected person in the tech industry, so he can probably get away with it.  Advantage on top of advantage.  It irritates me that that I had neither advantage when I started blogging (and thus continue to push the boulder up blogger’s hill), but that’s largely jealousy talking.  I can’t blame the guy for using his advantages.  At least he’s honest about it.

He is also honest enough to admit that he does care about blog rankings and links.  That’s a breath of fresh air after A-Lister after A-Lister keeps telling the rest of us not to worry about gatekeeping and links and whatnot.  I know Guy will see this post, since he checks his Technorati page “about 50 times a day.”  Will he respond?  Probably not, though he has commented here before.  But that was before he was a made blogger.

Guy then takes the opportunity to smack around the (other) A-Listers who “have this attitude they they are intellectually superior” and who act like it is “an honor to get an email from them.”  He says that maybe the A in A-Lister stands for asshole.  That’s funny.  And it’s also easy to say after all those (other) A-Listers embraced him and made him their equal (or superior).

Interestingly, he says (and this is a Technorati top 25’er talking) that there is no economic payback to blogging.  If a top 25 blogger says this, what does that tell us about blogging as a way to make money?  It tells me that I and others are correct when we say that blogging is not a revenue source in and of itself- it’s merely a more efficient way to distribute information about your true revenue source.  Lots of people caught up in the blogging euphoria don’t get this.

He was asked about links (you know, those things that got him in the Technorati top 25).  He says he won’t trade links with people, which begs the question of giving legitimate links back to others, the way they were previously given to you.  He says if you blogroll someone, you have some moral obligation to ensure that the blog is worthy.  I say maybe, but, again, we’re not giving away MBE‘s here.  Just a link.  I also wonder how Guy felt about links the day he started blogging.  It’s easy not to crave what you have in abundance.

And then they got to the part I was waiting for.  The bit about reading other blogs.  Guy says he doesn’t read any blogs.  Literally.  He says he has some feeds for publications like Science Daily.  No mention of Newsome.Org (that’s the feed URL right there Guy, just to make it easy for you).

Of course he has an alert to notify him every time someone writes about him (as do I and most other bloggers, I’m sure).  He has a “virtual assistant”  (whatever that is) who will sometimes thank those who write about him.  Apparently, he doesn’t realize how much all of this sounds like the A-Listers he slammed earlier in the interview.

So I was right.  He wants us to read him, yet he doesn’t read any of us.  He says he has kids and likes hockey and just doesn’t have the time.  Hey Guy, some of us have kids, like sports, coach sports, write blogs and have full time non-tech related jobs.  Yet we manage to get through our feeds every few days.  I’m not buying the don’t have time thing.  Don’t want to is more like it.

Even though a lot of the interview sounds like narcissism run amok, Guy made some good points.  Somehow, I don’t think he is as self-centered as he comes across.  I hope that’s the case.

I have been a reader of Guy’s blog since the day he started it.  Part of me wants to unsubscribe after watching this interview.  I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I know this: if folks like me stop linking to Guy, he’ll never make the Technorati top 10.

And wouldn’t that be a shame.