The “newvoices” Tag: Throwing On The Floodlights

The “newvoices” Tag Is A Chance For The A-List, The Z-List And Everyone In Between To Lead By Example

Measured by inbound links, or references, or by any other measure, blogs are still very insular. We find the folks we like to read, either blogroll them or add their feeds to an aggregator, and that is the view of the world we see. Sure, we occasionally serendipitously trip across someone new and add them, but when was the last time you updated your blogroll since you set it up? How many feeds can you read and track? Even someone like Scoble (who reads, what, 1500 feeds?) is only scratching the surface. I refuse to believe that all the good ideas are in the top 0.01% of all the blogs that are out there. What’s worse, once those patterns are set up, it’s tough to break out.

We read what we know…and we link to whom we know.

Halley Suitt threw down the gauntlet back in March.

She wrote:

“So I’m throwing down a month-long challenge in March, to promote TEN NEW VOICES. I’m asking all the bloggers in the room at Harvard (Jay Rosen, Jeff Jarvis, David Weinberger, Rebecca MacKinnon, Susan Mernit, Shayne Bowman, Ana Marie Cox, Lisa Stone, Chris Willis, Craig Newmark, Bill Gannon) to find TEN NEW VOICES and promote them by writing a post about each as an introduction and blogrolling them.”

Jay Rosen and Lisa Stone went out and found fourteen. A great start. But then it seems to have fizzled.

Additionally, to this end, Scoble seems to have an interest in going down this road as well. He even seems to have a system. But…he can’t share it.

“I’m playing with some secret new technology that makes the tech blogging world even flatter. Not from Microsoft (the inventor asked me to keep it quiet until he’s ready to release it). But, it totally is going to change how I blog (and it really already has although I can’t change my style until you all get it too). It brought me Leslie’s blog, for instance.”

Secret. Greeeaaaat.

So. Here we are. The one-shot crusades don’t work. Too time-intensive. There’s some secret technology in the works, but that’s not very open, is it?

Here’s what I propose: At least once a week, do a very simple thing. Find someone to whom you’ve never linked before, link to them, and tag the post with the following tag: newvoices.

Then, either in your aggregator, on your MyYahoo or MyGoogle (I know it’s not really called “MyGoogle,” but whateverthehellitis) page, or wherever you want, subscribe to a feed of newvoices-tagged posts. Here’s what’ll happen: the good, emerging folks will come to you. Now for the really cool part.

This is a self-dampening system. It can’t evolve an “A-List,” since once you’ve linked to someone and tagged that initial post with a “newvoices” tag, that individual ceases to be a new voice for you. The next time you link to them, don’t tag the new post in this way, since for you, it’s no longer new. But…and here’s the cool part…the really smart, cool, funny insightful folks who emerge will gather a lot of “newvoices” tagged links as they become visible. (N.B. Even if someone else has pointed to somebody with a newvoices tag, you should too! It’s not a contest to see who’s first…it’s an endorsement of someone to whom you haven’t linked previously.)

In this way, there may be a lot of links to a particular new voice that show up in the newvoices tag-stream over a short period of time. The new voice gets the spotlight it deserves for a day, or a week, or a month as the person gets widely “discovered” and linked to for the first time by a number of people. But then, it’s someone else’s turn. The newvoices tag is a catalyst, in the literal sense of the word. It enables the reaction, without being consumed.

How to tag a post in this way:
In Technorati:
<a href=”http://technorati.com/tag/newvoices” rel=”tag”>newvoices</a>

In IceRocket:
<a href=”http://blogs.icerocket.com/tag/newvoices” rel=”tag”>newvoices</a>

In Typepad:
If you set up a “newvoices” category, this should happen automagically if you put the post in the “newvoices” category.

In del.icio.us:
Simply tag the URL with a “newvoices” tag. It’ll show up here.

Subscribing to the “newvoices” River-o-Goodness:
Here’s how to do it in Technorati. Subscribe to this feed:
http://feeds.technorati.com/feed/posts/tag/newvoices

By the way, as of today (27Jul2005), “newvoices” tagged items bring back:

None on Technorati

  • None on IceRocket
  • One on del.icio.us.

    So, here we go!

    Gonna start this off with a two-fer. Starting out on-beat and on-topic in SocialCustomerLand, Amy Gahran has a great rant on “Let’s Put Press Releases Out Of Their Misery.” A sample:

    “The next time you’re tempted to issue a press release: STOP!!!! Instead, post a web page or blog item that explains what’s new – and more importantly, why anyone should care. The “so what” should go right up front. Even more, you should indicate who should care about your news, and why.

    Then make sure your announcement gets picked up by the blogwatching services like Technorati. (Blogging tools and feeds make this very easy). It’s more likely to get noticed there fast.

    Then talk it up – in forums with your target audience, in appropriate, constructive comments to other blogs, etc. Include a direct link to your posting. If you’re honestly adding value and not just shilling, this is not spam. It’s part of the public conversation. (By the way, to do this well you need to actually read and pay attention to what other people are saying.)”

    The other, while off the typical subject, is Melissa Summers who is just a friggin’ great read when she’s on. Like this.

    The drill and your mission, should you decide to accept it…

    • Once a week, find someone new on your beat

    • Link to them and tag your post with the “newvoices” tag
    • Subscribe to a newvoices tag feed

    Steve Rubel, are you in? Jeff Jarvis? Dave Winer? Dave Sifry? Ross? Hugh? Doc? Susan?

    That’s it. Simple. Distributed. And ridiculously powerful.

    Tags:
    Technorati:
    IceRocket:

  • 6 thoughts on “The “newvoices” Tag: Throwing On The Floodlights

    1. A-list Bloggers

      Randy has an interesting post about A-list Bloggers’ circular linking to drive up their ranking:

      “… The problem is that the many of us link to the a-listers like mad in hope that they’ll just link to us once in a blue moon and boost our Google ka…

    2. tag pimping

      Even if your heart is in the right place, Chris, trying to tell other people what tag to use kinda sorta defeats the purpose, don’tcha think? Tags, not trees. Right, Sig?…

    3. Tag As: About Tagging

      This easily can become little more than a “scavenger hunt” exercise where the goal is not to find “new voices” that you’re actually interested in listening to, just a box to check off to say that you’re being inclusive.

    4. I probably shoudl have been doing a little more research BEFORE Blogher. GAH!

      It was so nice to meet you and Mrs Kennedy had such lovely things to say about you. I suck, she rules.

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