Stay on topic and that influential bloggers list is bunk

I read NxE’s list of the 50 most influential bloggers. By the time I got to #1 I was laughing at the ridiculousness of it. If you read the trackbacks and comments it’s pretty obvious the list is whacked. And let me disclaim – no, I don’t think I should have been on the list. I shouldn’t have been on the list for the exact reason some of these people shouldn’t have been on the list. And heaven help me if I’m ever called a Mover and Shaker.

The reason why I’m writing this is to show how easy it is to start off with a topic/goal and slide away from it. I’m guilty of this sometimes as well. Let’s get going with this…this is what the list should be:

But what’s important is that these bloggers – and some of them are much more than just bloggers – are influential beyond the norm. The voices of these fifty bloggers reverberate throughout the blogosphere.

Slid off-topic already. The title is “50 Most Influential Bloggers” and that is what the list should be, nothing more, nothing less. Why irritate your readers by making the title one thing and the actual article something else? I assume the writer meant “influential owner of companies that influence blogging” but that is not what the title says. No outstanding blog, then no mention on the list, that is what the title implies. That kills the top 3 slots and puts Jason Calacanis at #1, which makes more sense (not saying he should be #1). He paved the way for blog networks today and he has an influential blog. Some of the issues he once discussed, trying to set ethics for blogging, etc. on his blog earned him a top mention on the list.

Then the list begins to slide again. Peter Rojas is founder and editor of Engadget but it’s owned by AOL, it’s a multiple author commercial venture. It really falls under Calacanis/Weblogs, Inc. because that is when it rose to its fame (when the influence kicks in) and peaked with its influence. The Superficial is on the list but not Perez Hilton because he doesn’t “influence” blogging. In the entertainment niche Perez opened up the doors for entertainment bloggers to be taken seriously. He’s getting the scoops, the TV appearances…and he’s a blogger not a journalist. It doesn’t matter if one likes the guy or not, his accomplishments cannot be denied…it’s called objectivity. This list has none.

A common theme with lists like these is the feeling that people have when they read the word “influential” but have not heard of the people on the list. Isn’t influence itself partial to the individual? Of course it is, which is why these lists in the end, are meaningless unless they come from the people. Let the people speak on who is influencing them and I guarantee you that you’ll have a completely different list.

That doesn’t mean this list couldn’t have had value if it stayed on topic. The list seems to be about who made an impact on blogging whether they have influential blogs or not (having an influential company that boosts the blogging community does not make the owner a blogger, does it?). Backed up with references and facts, it could have been a solid list but of course it would have been a completely different list.

And that’s what I want to try to encourage today. Instead of throwing out opinionated lists that make the writer look “bad” in the end (because of the lack of validity), take the time to make a list that will add value. A list that if a reader sees names they never heard of, links to the blogger’s accomplishments would substantiate their placement on the list and the reader leaves your site learning something.

But that would take research and time, two things the average blogger doesn’t like to invest in these days. My bad.