Aggregation aggravation

Before I got pointed to this post by Steve Hodson, I hadn’t seen this post by Brian Solis, pointing to egos.alltop.com (“We’ve got egos covered”), which features my blog among others on the “egos” list. Alltop, a creation of Guy Kawasaki, describes its purpose this way:

We help you explore your passions by collecting stories from “all the top” sites on the web. We’ve grouped these collections — “aggregations” — into individual Alltop sites based on topics such as celebrity gossip, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, and Macintosh. At each Alltop site, we display the latest five stories from thirty or more sites on a single page — we call this “single-page aggregation.”

In his headline Steve, who calls himself “a cranky old fart wandering the internet causing mayhem as he goes” (a self-characterization I can identify with, at least chronologically), calls Alltop’s egos page “yet another powder puff for the A-Listers”.

I’ve given up fighting the A-list label. But I’m glad to start fighting the egotist one. Even against a guy as I like and respect as much as I do Guy.

It’s a simple thing. I don’t blog for my ego, any more than I write emails or talk on the phone or do any of my daily work for the same reason. I blog to point at and comment on topics I think might be interesting, or that my readers might find interesting, and I’ve been doing pretty much exactly that, for roughly the same modest sum of readers (ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand a day), since 1999. There’s nothing sticky, commercial or especially self-serving about it — not even any advertising to distract or annoy the reader.

Writing about tech news is my day job. I do that mostly at Linux Journal. I don’t know any egotists over there, but they could use a little powdering just the same. The team there has worked hard over the last few months to make it a much better place to go for news and commentary on matters directly or peripherally related to the operating system that serves up most of what you see on the Web, plus a growing number of portable devices, movies, and much more.

So, Guy and Company: if you want to put my blog on one of your lists, I’m flattered. But if you insist on labeling me an ego, I’ll insist that you take me off.

17 comments

  1. Steven Hodson’s avatar

    I’m sure you’ve caused your fair share of internet mayhem at some point or another Doc :)

    And while I can understand the “ranking” and see where it does have a value this idea of associating tech bloggers as “Egos” I find more insulting of not just bloggers as a whole but also the field about which we report on.

    I wold react the same as you if my name were ever to show up there – however unlinkely that it to happen.

  2. Guy  Kawasaki’s avatar

    Doc,

    The topic is called Egos, not Egotists or Egomaniacs. “Ego” doesn’t necessarily denote something negative. There are healthy egos, small egos, and justified egos as well as big egos, egotists, and egomaniacs.

    I have labeled you an “ego” nothing more, nothing less. There are many people on that page who are certainly not egotists or egomaniacs. But if you want me to take you off the page, just let me know.

    Thanks,

    Guy

  3. Alan Kellogg’s avatar

    It’s ego. Nobody can be that altruistic.

  4. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Guy, why is the topic called “Egos” rather than, say, “Originals” or something else that speaks of a positive role in the ‘sphere?

    Think about it. (Hey, you’re still in beta, right?) What does it say about somebody when you label them an “ego”?

    Dictionary.com lists a number of meanings for ego, the third of which is “egotism; conceit; self-importance: Her ego becomes more unbearable each day.” That comes ahead of #4, which is “self-esteem or self-image; feelings: Your criticism wounded his ego.” As with the primary meaning, established by Freud as a staple of psychoanalysis, ego is a label for a part of the self, not the whole. It’s the part which, in these two examples, becomes unbearable or wounded.

    And here I am, I suppose, acting as one.

    We all have egos, sure. But none of us wants to be reduced to a part of ourselves. I submit that the people on your list blog for reasons that go beyond their egos. And I suppose that’s another point. This isn’t just about me. It’s about what makes these blogs worth the interest of your visitors. Each is unique and worthwhile. Which is why, the more I think about it, the term “Originals” does a better job of filling your bill.

    Which would you rather be called? :-)

    Doc

  5. Terry Heaton’s avatar

    Since the ego often evolves to a false persona, I view the word — and especially the way it’s used here — as highly descriptive and negative. It’s not us; it’s what we want others to see of us. In that sense, I view blogging as just the opposite, and especially for the people on this list (exceptions noted).

    I blog to see myself think. I’m trying to separate my ego from what’s real “in here,” and blogging quite nicely facilitates that. I don’t seek an audience, but there’s something about the publicness of the whole process that somehow makes the challenging of my assumptions “real.”

    Comments help. I mean, I really want to know if I’m full of shit, something I doubt my ego ever wants to hear.

  6. Rex Hammock’s avatar

    Perhaps some are ego bloggers while others are super-ego bloggers. For me, it’s probably an Id thing. All depends on how you analyze it.

  7. Guy  Kawasaki’s avatar

    Doc,

    Say the word, and I’ll remove your feed. You will be the first person to ask to be removed from Alltop. That’s a distinction of sorts. :-)

    Guy@truemors.com

  8. Steven Hodson’s avatar

    @Guy

    Wouldn’t the more equtiable solution here considering the obvious and apparent universal dislike of the Ego tag to come up with an alternative rather than having to have people requesting to be removed.

  9. Guy  Kawasaki’s avatar

    Steve,

    It’s hardly “obvious” and “universal.” In fact, the only person on the list who has expressed these feelings is Doc. However, this assumes that the others know they are on the list and care at all.

    Guy

  10. Steven Hodson’s avatar

    Guy,

    Quite possibly I wasa little exhuberant in my “obvious” and “universal” statement but not one comment left on my original post; nor it would seem the ones here, like the use of the tag.

    but then that is just my opinion as a cranky old fart so take it with a grain of salt I guess.

  11. Guy  Kawasaki’s avatar

    Steve,

    If people ran their lives, marketing, or blogs based on comments in blogs, we’d all be in real trouble.

    :-)

    Guy

  12. Doc Searls’s avatar

    I have some fresh thoughts on all this, which I posted here. Hope they help.

  13. Jay Deragon’s avatar

    When I reached out to Doc for the puproses of engaging in a conversation he responded. Subsequently, without judging my intellect, influence or “ego” Doc and I have continued in numerous conversations that have been enlightening, encouraging and from these conversations I have come to know Doc as a genuine person whose mind is broad and heart is deep.

    Unlike others (names not to be specified) whom I have reached out to but have not responded, engaged or even attempted to form a relationship. Instead a nonresponse or a terse response speaks volumes as to the “egos”.

  14. Analysis on Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop launch: A Gimmick Site with Marketing Flair’s avatar

    [...] chose sort of a controversial name, as “egos” excited some, and caused Doc Searls to be repulsed and blogged: “But if you insist on labeling me an ego, I’ll insist that you take me off.” He then [...]

  15. Darlehen’s avatar

    @ Doc Searls

    I was reading the discussion but your link doesn’t seem to be working? Blog down or something else wrong?

    Tnx,

    Darlehen (Germany)

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