Jim Moore writes, "The world of informal media now has two main legitimizing institutions, each of which has its strengths and weaknesses".
- The first are the A-list bloggers - They hold their places in large part because they do important work for the community, and they do it diligently and well. They got where they are by dint of contribution. The downside is that network effects have locked these folks in, and they represent a particular subset of the burgeoning world of informal media. It is difficult for new folks to break in now, and this may become a problem as the blogosphere expands.
- The second is Google page rank. Non-transparent, mysterious, but very legitimizing for some purpose. Essentially, Google turns the links that folks maintain on their web sites-the link rolls, the pointers, etc, into an implicit tagging system. The good news of this system is that it can encompass an almost infinite range of topics, as many topics as can be meaningfully described in keyword searches. And it is quite open in that a new, ermergent topic can be established, gather a cluster of links, and become searchable without any human intervention or permission and even notice on the part of Google. The downside is that Google ratings do not show much personal expert judgement, they are slow to stabilize around a new topic, and tend to point to works back in time rather than current contributions. Of course there are legitimizing institutions, with powerful if specialized influence like Slashdot . Commercial blogs like Boing Boing are playing an important role. Tags on de.licoi.us are coming on strong, within the community of active, hard core digerati. But we need a lot more.