By Carl HoweDave Sifry has published Part 2 of his State Of The Blogsphere that examines the myth that the A-list bloggers are 1) relatively stable in their positions and 2) act as gatekeepers on the popularity of ideas. He also compares the number of links that mainstream media sites get with those that blogs get.
The entire article is full of great data, but I'll just cite a few of his summary points that reinforce my opinions about A-list gatekeeping:
* Blogging and Mainstream Media continue to share attention in blogger's and reader's minds, but bloggers are climbing higher on the "big head" of the attention curve, with some bloggers getting more attention than sites including Forbes, PBS, MTV, and the CBC.
* Continuing down the attention curve, blogs take a more and more significant position as the economics of the mainstream publishing models make it cost prohibitive to build many nice sites and media.
* Bloggers are changing the economics of the trade magazine space, with strong entries covering WiFi, Gadgets, Internet, Photography, Music, and other nice topic areas, making it easier to thrive, even on less aggregate traffic.
* There is a network effect in the Technorati Top 100 blogs, with a tendency to remain highly linked if the blogger continues to post regularly and with quality content.
* Looking at the historical data shows that the inertia in the Top 100 is very low. In other words, the number of new blogs jumping to the top of the Top 100 -- as well as the blogs that have fallen out of the top 100 -- show that the network effect is relatively weak.