A-Listers suck

by Craig McBreen · 73 comments · General

Well. I don’t think so, but I have noticed quite the Anti-A-Lister vibe lately. Why?

I’m a rookie in the blogosphere. A precious little fawn in a sea of grownups. I ventured into this blogging world expecting to find nothing but Zen. From about 2007 until April 2011 the only blogs I read on a regular basis were Zen Habits, several political blogs, a few on marketing and design, and oh, Zen Habits. To say I’m naive would be an understatement, so please forgive my ignorance when you read the following.

What’s so bad about being an A-Lister?

Lambasting this group seems to be in fashion. I’m not sure how pervasive it really is, but I sure see it. I am not talking about any one blog in particular, but there is a negative drift that seems to be spreading at the moment, don’t you think?

Honestly, I’m still not sure who qualifies as an A-Lister. I know people hate THAT term, but what else am I to use? When I think A-Lister (there I go again) I think of Brian, Leo, Darren and Chris. Smart people with well-written, informative blogs, chocked-full of free information. Good guys, right?

So, what’s the ruckus?

In the context of a typical anti-guru post, He or She who-shall-not-be-named is criticized for not fostering community and maybe selling out. They can’t please all of their 100-thousand followers and they are just trying to make a buck, right? That’s not so bad, is it?

I just want to know. That’s all.

I’m sure I come off sounding like an unschooled babe in the woods. So please educate me on this issue.

Do I have the right people?

I’m writing this post because I’m new to the scene and I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. What are we actually calling people out on? Is it because they have built a business around their blog, making some serious money in the process? Is it the E-books? Is it their popularity? Are we talking about the same people, or is there a sinister crowd I’ve completely missed? Is my A-list the same as your A list? Seeing the word “douchebag” is kinda funny, sometimes, but it certainly makes me wonder what behavior is frowned upon.

I know, I need to get out more.

So, who are your A-Listers?

I guess you could also include people like Danny Brown, Gini Dietrich, Mark Schaefer, and Naomi Dunford. Right?

I understand and appreciate that bloggers like Danny, Gini and Mark are all about community. They give back and really help rookies like me. They have helped this lad for sure! We see this time and time again. Heck, they welcome us with open arms and they are great people, but are the others so bad, really? And, who are the others-who-shall-not-be-named?

I try not to court Rockstars.

I’m not an idol worshipper, fan boy, and don’t chase someone just because they are “A-list”. I prefer to cultivate relationships with with bloggers who engage, but I don’t think the big boys and girls are so bad. So, they don’t all follow me back on Twitter, big deal.

This new kid on the block just wants to be educated on this issue. That’s all.

Who do you consider A-List and what about their behavior upsets you?

Do you link to them? Do you try and engage with them?

Maybe you simply couldn’t care less. I really, really want to know!

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{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Gini Dietrich September 22, 2011 at 4:19 pm

This conversation is as old as mankind. Think about the popular crowd in high school. We all desperately wanted to be part of it and, if we weren’t, we made fun of them behind their backs. The difference is that, online and off, we’re no longer in high school and we get to decide who our popular crowd is. It may be a top 10 AdAge blogger or it may be the 19-year-old Doogie Howser who has no experience, but is more passionate than anyone else you know. It’s not any different than having a best friend. My mom is my best friend, but I have lots of girl (and guy) friends. That doesn’t mean that your best friend isn’t great…he/she just isn’t mine.
Gini Dietrich recently posted..Giving Free Content to Generate BusinessMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 22, 2011 at 11:59 pm

I despised that popular crowd in high school, but yeah I have to admit, I probably wouldn’t pass them up if they ever invited me in. Never happened though :) I guess sometimes this blogging world can become a popularity contest or an argument about which prize fighter is better, mine or yours. Or which friend is more cool.

I’m finding out which crowd I want to follow, that’s for sure, but I still check in with the “big names” to see what is up. Well, I did much more when I first started, now I’m spending more time on Spin Sucks and Danny Brown, so you can call me a fan-boy, but I won’t be too intense, I promise.

Hey, wait a minute, you two are big names, but nobody ever says anything bad about you, do they? They better not, or I’ll … sorry, I’m getting animated :)

There are a few 19-year-old Doogie Howser’s out there who I love to read, I follow them and read their posts because they have that energy and passion. Love that Doogie Howser line :)

Gini, thanks for showing up at my small shack. Really appreciate it!


Gini Dietrich September 23, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I have a high school friend in town right now. Last night she was talking about high school and I don’t remember any of her stories. I despised it so much, I’ve totally blocked it from my mind. So, like you, I was not popular and no one invited me in.

I think the difference between the A-listers everyone loves to hate is some don’t have business experience. And, we’re all beginning to discover that 100,000 Twitter followers does not equal results or making money. That’s why you’re seeing a lot of grumbling about the guys who are trying to make money (nothing wrong with that) when they gave away so much for free in the beginning. Free is not a sustainable business model.
Gini Dietrich recently posted..#FollowFriday: Neicole CrepeauMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 6:00 pm

That is funny. I’ve had similar conversations. Best years of your life? Give me a break!! I always thought that was the most ridiculous expression ever. Not only regarding the fitting in part, but the way it’s structured. Don’t get me started on that :)

“I think the difference between the A-listers everyone loves to hate is some don’t have business experience.”
–Ken articulated that very, very well below. About practicing what you write and how some big names may be somewhat challenged when it comes to putting together a plan. Nice points!

Nothing wrong with trying to make a buck, that’s for sure. I have several “business plans” in incubation, not sure which direction to go, but will rely on a place like Spin Sucks for guidance :)


Marc Girolimetti September 30, 2011 at 12:56 am

I loathe Gini and Danny Brown so much that I consider them family. :-)
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Craig McBreen September 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Hi Marc,

You too, huh? Yes, awful people :) :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Danny Brown September 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Bit rich coming from a purple bishop’s hat, Giro… ;-)
Danny Brown recently posted..Three Years and Counting at DannyBrown.meMy Profile

Marc Girolimetti September 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I’m sorry Danny, but if your bishop is purple you might want to see a doctor about that. I’m no expert, but my gut tells me it shouldn’t be that color.
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Ingrid Abboud September 30, 2011 at 2:43 am

I love your analogy here Gin. Oddly enough though – in my high school and I’m sure in many others as well – the cool kids or the “in” crowd weren’t always the smartest of the lot. They might have been prettier, more athletic, richer, bad-ass’ers…but not necessarily the brightest lot. I’m talking book smart here and not street smart.

As for who I consider A-listers Craig – well, it’s pretty much like you said – those that engage and take the time to get to know their audience – but more so – those that provide me with value, insight, laughter, challenges, insight…through passionate words.

I think each of our A-listers are different. And we all have a set of criteria that defines who our A-listers are and why. Sure there those folks like Brian, Leo, Brogan, Godin…and whoever else…but to me – those I’ve learned the most from – those who I enjoy interacting with are folks like Aunt Gini, Danny, Mark S., John F., Marcus S. (Mufasa), Brankica, Margie C. and many more. Not only do they know their stuff – they take the time to help you out if you need it, to support you when you need it, to challenge you when you should be, to laugh with you and at you when appropriate…Basically they take the time to get to know you when you’ve shown to do the same.

I think it’s also smart to try and connect with those folks who will soon replace those “A-lsiters” that so many refer to today (as long as you genuinely enjoy and appreciate what they have to share). Social Media constantly changes and evolves and so do the players.

At the end of the day – we’re all human and we all make mistakes – and so are (and do) the folks we call “A-listers” – but what makes the difference are the one’s who are real – those who interact as well as know what the heck they’re talking about.

Just my 2 well…4.5 cents ;).
Great discussion piece you wrote here Craig. And the comments from each are very interesting to read. After all – that’s where most of the gold is!

Have a great evening.


Craig McBreen September 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Hi Ingrid,

Nice to see you here! And thanks for the mega-comment. Talk about commenting gold :) Really appreciate you jumping in.

Ha ha, good point. The “… more athletic, richer, bad-ass’ers” should have spent more time studying and less time picking on people who weren’t like them. Maybe they were deeply insecure. I don’t know.

Great points! when I first started looking into blogging, pre-blog, I began with the people I knew about: Brian, Leo, Chris and Darren. But sure glad my venture soon brought me to Gini, Danny, Mark S, John F, Mufasa, etc!

I’ve been lurking on Brankica’s and Margie C’s blogs for a bit now, and they both offer amazing content. Deep, rich content for sure!

And you are right, boy does this social media world change in the blink of an eye. It will be interesting to see the shift to a new A-Lister group. I’m sure starting to find out who among them practices what they preach.

Thank you for your … 4.5 cents. Much appreciated :)

I wrote this piece because I was genuinely curious about this issue. How people perceive the so-called A-listers. And I wanted to see other people’s lists. And yeah, just look at these comments. Commenting gold, indeed.

Thanks, Ma’am!


Michael Schechter September 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I certainly think there is a lot of what Gini is saying and I’ve been guilty of lighting a fire or two on the subject (not my proudest moments)… But just as often I think there are two types of a-lister hate. Legitimate: I’m just picking a fight to pick a fight link bait and incidental: questioning what you hear from those a-listers. It’s often done poorly (again, see my own posts), but those big names are like big brands and it is interesting to dissect what and why they are doing. Just like I look at Apple and Microsoft to see where tech is going, I look at what guys like Brogan are doing to get a feeling for Social.

We have to do it with respect, but just because your brand is your name, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to question things. It’s just become difficult to question the idea and not the person when the two are so intertwined.

There are also challenges with the fans of a-listers. Just like Apple fans such as myself, we tend to be fervent. We may occasionally perceive any question as a slight and attack (read: we always perceive them as that…). Then we loudly and often unnecessarily come to its defense. I think we see a lot of this with A-listers as well.

Bottom line, it’s just as often good debates that end up as bad squabbles than it is hating (although there is still plenty of that as well).
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Craig McBreen September 22, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Good way to look at it. The legitimate A-lister hate … Picking a fight reminds me of that VERY interesting post over at Danny Brown’s place regarding Scoble. And, I wonder if that is where we are going with this type of attitude. If being mean-spirited or condescending brings you a much larger audience?

Nothing wrong with questioning the big guys and girls, but you are right, they’ve become brands, big brands! And I guess that’s what my question was really about. What is the behavior, or social error these big brands engage in that is so unnerving to others? Probably too many to mention for some. Don’t know. I too, look at guys like Brogan to see what’s up. You know, where is this guy going and why? Should I try?

Agreed that we must be respectful in our questioning. Goes without saying, but some do not follow that rule.

Yes fans can be a bit too devout, and when one is criticized, pile on!

As the new kid in town, I often perceive the questions as back-handed attacks. You are right there. Like I said, I was all Zen Habits, and now I’m in it! The A-listers certainly have to develop a thick skin though, don’t they?

Thanks for the great comments, Mr Schechter! Much appreciated.


Michael Schechter September 23, 2011 at 12:10 am

Not entirely sure if you mean that Danny’s post about it was mean-spiritied or if Scoble’s initial comment was, but it is a double edged sword. Guys like Scoble need to be careful with what they say as they are being heard by a large audience and we who are likely looking for a large audience need to be careful of what we say for fear of coming off as (or being) an asshole.

If our company spoke to a customer like that on social media, you wouldn’t hesitate to write about it. But since it was Robert, it is much harder. Was that Robert Scoble, the brand or the person being an ass. And more importantly how do you talk about Robert Scoble the brand in a situation like that without attacking the person.
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Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I thought that Scoble’s comment was mean-spiritied and condescending.

Danny mentioned in one of his comments that he used Scoble’s own terms when it comes to “asshole”, from his G+ post I believe.

Yes, if I was a customer and a company spoke to me like that … well now I have a platform. A little shack at the moment, but a platform.

Maybe the guy had a bad day. Maybe he is trying to liven things up, by being this way. I don’t know. I do think if you’re the position he’s in, you just can’t do what he did. If someone was attacking him, well that’s a little different, but I think you still need to be civil.


Erin Feldman September 22, 2011 at 9:44 pm

For me, the A-listers are people like Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble, and Brian Solis. Do I follow some of them? Sure, but only because I think they have something interesting to say, or they have a read on scenes that I don’t. They have access to information that I can only dream of accessing. Do I expect them to engage with me? Not necessarily. To use Gini’s high school metaphor, I’m the invisible one. I may retweet something that’s been shared or reply to something they’ve said, but I don’t expect a response.

I guess what irritates me about the “big names” is that they often forget to act like humans or, perhaps, act too human. They have their cliques, and the barrier of entry to that clique is high. They attack someone and, since they’re “big names,” their minions go on the attack, too. I’m much happier conversing with Gini and Danny because they’re “real” but more importantly because they’re kind (They also have snarky senses of humor, which I love.). I know they’re “big names,” but they’ve somehow managed not to be confined or tainted by those names.

Ken Mueller and I struck a deal that if we ever become “A-listers” that we would watch each other’s backs. If I turn into an egotistical maniac, he’s allowed to slap me upside the head. If he turns into one, I’m to hit him (I promise; I’m really not a violent person.). I don’t know what happens if we both turn into haughty A-listers at the same time. I guess we need to include more people in our deal. Perhaps that’s the key – community. A community keeps you grounded while helping you to soar.
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Craig McBreen September 22, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Hi Erin,

It seems like many consider Seth Godin to be on an even higher level. That last name fits, doesn’t it? :) I haven’t read all his books, but do try to read his posts every day. I guess he’s considered the grand master? Don’t know, but his influence is spread far and wide. Marketing wizard, no doubt. I’ve read Guy Kawasaki and Robert Scoble, but not familiar with Brian Solis. Must check him out.

Hey kid, you and I are the invisible ones :) It’s almost as if the “big names” have a mote, and a mighty fortress we can’t penetrate. Yikes, speaking of metaphors. I too, am much happier conversing with Gini and Danny. They are kind, very helpful, and yes, pretty damned funny! “Shit Goggles” anyone? And I’ve heard about Gini’s singing.

If you and Ken turn into haughty A-Listers, I’ll slap you both silly :) :)

Thank you for stopping in, and congrats on your guest-posting gig over at Bill Dorman’s place!


Erin Feldman September 23, 2011 at 1:55 am

I guess Godin could be on a higher level. He doesn’t seem to get drawn into the tawdry conversations, such as the one that recently took place with Scoble. I try to read Godin’s posts every day, too. I sometimes use his ideas as a springboard for my blog or whatever I’m contemplating. I haven’t read any of Kawasaki’s or Scoble’s books. Do you recommend certain ones? I attended Kawasaki’s webinar about his book Enchantment. That was hilarious because of the technical difficulties.
Erin Feldman recently posted..Where’s Your Publishing Schedule?My Profile


Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Seth Godin’s posts are “idea generators” for me too.

I have not read any of Kawasaki’s or Scoble’s books, just their blogs. I am interested in “Enchantment” though.


Danny Brown January 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Haha, sorry Erin, just saw this now, for some reason.

See, that’s the funny thing – I really don’t consider myself to be a “big name”, and I’m pretty sure Gini doesn’t. Mind you, she does talk about herself in the third-person occasionally, so… ;-)

Blogging’s a weird thing. People can grow a great audience and readership, and there’s the perception that they become a “name”. But then, I read blogs like the one here; or Judy Dunn over at CatsEyeWriter.com, etc (and the ones in the CommentLuv link below this comment), and to me, they’re big names, since the content is awesome, and kicks the “bigger names” into touch.

That’s not to say I’m not grateful for the really kind words, because the “real” and “human” approach is something I feel all bloggers owe their readers, no matter how “big” they may get. So thank you so much for that.

But here’s to less names and more name-taking. ;-)
Danny Brown recently posted..12 Bloggers You Really Should Read in 2012My Profile


Erin Feldman January 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Haha! How funny. I had to re-read some of my comments to get a sense of the context. Perhaps I fell into the comparison trap. Most people seem like “big names” to me. Once Write Right is syndicated by NPR (Aim high or go home, right?), I can be a big name, too. :) Craig and Ken already have promised to slap me silly if I forget my roots, so I should be able to avoid an egomaniac complex. ;)
Erin Feldman recently posted..Here’s to not Twiddling My ThumbsMy Profile


Craig McBreen January 13, 2012 at 4:55 am

Go after that Grammar Girl, she needs some competition! :)


Danny Brown January 16, 2012 at 3:00 am

Oh, I think you’re already proving you’re a force to be reckoned with, Erin! :)
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Craig McBreen January 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm

You and Gini ARE big names, but are approachable and open to helping the rookies in the crowd. That’s why we appreciate you guys so much.


Danny Brown January 16, 2012 at 3:00 am

Well thanks, sir, truly.
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Al Smith September 22, 2011 at 11:39 pm

What a douchebag !
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Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 12:00 am

Okay, Al. I need to leave, but I’m coming back to deal with you later, man!


Al Smith September 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Just messin with you Craig. Not to get off the subject, but you sure don’t write like a rookie. You are going to do great in the old blogosphere. Personally, I can’t worry about what other people are writing, who they are following, or if they are following me. I just do my thing and try and stay loyal to the people who have embraced me. Some of the so called A-listers are cool and some are not. God bless em. the best thing for me to remember is to not have any expectations. Expectations of other people create pre-meditated resentments. Sure, i wish some of the big dogs would check out my blog and leave a comment. But it isn’t going to change me. I think I went off a bit. Oh well. What the hell. I’m a Z-lister. Ha ! Thanks brother.

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Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 2:53 am

Well, stop messin’ or I’m gonna … :) I still think I have a long way to go man, but thanks! Speaking of writing, I was joking about writing poetry over at Bill D’s place and you know, just know I’m going to catch a load of crap from him :) Oh well.

I certainly like your attitude. I just read some posts and, I don’t know, enquiring minds want to know what is up. And yes, some are very cool, some are not, and for these people, yes, it’s nice not to have such high expectations. I’ve been spoiled by some of the folks I mentioned in my post, who have been very open and offered up advice along the way. So, they are very approachable people. Like I said, I try not to court rock stars, but they kind of reach out without the courting :)

We are Z-lister brothers, man. Thank you for dropping by. Really appreciate it!


Erin Feldman September 23, 2011 at 4:21 am

Oh, Bill already gave you grief about the poetry. He even wrote a poem.
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Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm

I just knew it. That, damned Dorman!


Nancy Davis September 23, 2011 at 12:20 am

Here is my take for what it is worth. When I first joined Twitter, I had no idea what I was doing. It was a lot like throwing darts in a dark room and hoping to hit the dartboard. I got lucky. I met Mark Schaefer early on. I also met Margie Clayman. The two of them taught me a lot about Twitter, and social media. I even got to meet Mark and have lunch with him. What a fantastic person he is!

Back to the subject. I was at one time “followed” by Chris Brogan – I will even admit that I was excited when I saw he followed me. I thought it meant I had something to say that was worth hearing.

I have learned later, to my dismay that was not the case. It is alright. I have never been with the popular kids anyway. I don’t want to do that much sucking up.

My personal A-list is – Danny Brown, Gini Dietrich, Marcus Sheridan, John Falchetto, Margie Clayman and Mark Schaefer.

I put Seth Godin in another category too. He is really someone who has inspired me to push myself.
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Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 4:02 am

Hi Nancy,

I still have no idea what I’m doing on Twitter, but I did read Mark’s book on the subject, and will re-read it. Unfortunately I left it on my last flight, but will definitely get another copy. Glad you were able to meet Mark, and hey, look who showed up below :) I’ve sent Mark some messages on Twitter and he was very quick to help me out, so I definitely know what you are talking about. Yes, great guy!

You know what. I would have been exactly like you. When you first start on this blogging adventure you can’t help it, really. When I was just starting to research this whole blogging venture, I focused on the four guys I mentioned in the post. That’s who I was reading over and over and over.

I’m with you. Never been with the popular crowd. Although I would love to keep telling everyone my very positive experiences with people like Mark, Gini, Danny, etc.

I have to start reading Margie’s blog. I’ve been there a few times and man she has a content rich site! You know how I feel about Gini, Mark and Danny. Feel the same way about Marcus and John, although those two are kind of becoming like coaches. They do that motivational thing so well :)

Yes, I’m late, but I’ll be reading most of Mr. Godin’s books over the next few months, or listening on the ipod.

Thanks, Nancy!


Mark W Schaefer September 23, 2011 at 2:19 am

This is a complicated subject. I wrote a blog post on this, trying to provde some clarity which I think will be interesting to your readers: http://www.businessesgrow.com/2011/03/27/why-are-the-social-media-elite-ignoring-us/

From a a personal standpoint, being foisted into some sort of celebrity status is an honor, but certain aspects are unwelcome. I won’t whine about it, but let’s just say I’m just a guy, a father, a husband, a friend, a professional and a teacher. I get tired, I get sick, I get stressed and I make mistakes. I don’t deserve to be on a pedestal and am uncomfortable there. On the other hand, I also don’t deserve to be harassed by people who never even read my posts or taken the time to get to know me. But it comes with the territory. I cringe when people call me an A-Lister or tell me they are a fan. I know they are being kind, but really, I am no more deserving of this than you, Craig.

Everybody has talents, everybody is a star in their own way. I just got lucky that I’m a good writer in the right place at the right time. That doesn’t make me better than you or anybody else.
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Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Hi Mark,

First of all, thanks for the link. Great post. You summed it up perfectly, and that’s really what I’m saying here, with several of my own questions. I simply think these people are way too busy, and most are creative, hard-working people, like you said. Not snobs. Well some, but only a small percentage.

You were tweeted by Alyssa Milano. Dude :) :) Seriously, that is really something that she brought the house down, crashed servers, but there was no lasting impact on the blog. I am finding out that building a blog community is very hard work. Very hard work! I now have to schedule my days and weeks around this blogging venture. I knew it would take time, but didn’t anticipate how much! I’m not complaining though, so far I love it and I don’t think that will change any time soon.

Love this: “Spending all your time trying to get the attention of the big names is probably not going to have a business pay-off. So go make your own tribe.”

I read Srini’s “digital babies” post and totally agree. Although I still appreciate people like you, Danny and Gini who have been so accessible AND helpful. Although, Mark, you are on another level, just dealing with the requests, etc. With that being said, I certainly understand how you feel. If I was in your position I would feel the same way, but I have no idea what you are inundated with each day. I think I would be overwhelmed for sure.

I don’t understand someone who harasses you, or thinks you owe them a response. That’s just silly.

Love what you wrote here, and I’d say we have some STARS right here, commenting that is!

Thanks, Mark!


Ken Mueller September 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I’ve told this story before, and I’ll tell it again: When I first went out on my own and was new to the whole world of Social Media marketing consultants, etc., I was amazed at the way Twitter, in particular, allowed me to connect with people I would never have a prayer of connecting with. I won’t name names, but a lot of them had written books. Books that make up the initial canon of Social Media texts. Great ideas. Good books. We were taught to engage, to connect, to relate, to be genuine, etc. We all know the buzzwords. I then spent an inordinate amount of time trying to connect with them. I would tweet at them. nothing. Every once in awhile, one of the would respond to me, and I would try to engage them in conversation, and…usually one or two tweets was enough for them. But they would very actively tweet amongst themselves. When they responded to me, my inner 14-year old jumped up and down and screamed, “He talked to me!”.

Then I started meeting other people. Bloggers who were writing material that was just as good, if not better. They didn’t get as many comments or views, but the material seemed more…real. And I’ve told her this, but I’ll say it here in order to make her big head even bigger, but Gini was the one that opened my eyes, without knowing it. Here was a blogger/practitioner who actually got her hands dirty. She actually practiced what she wrote about. I get the feeling some of the big names and authors really don’t know “how” to put together a social media marketing plan. They have people for that. And their people have people.

Well, Gini has people, but they’re good people. And she puts them out front. She doesn’t hide them and take credit for their work. And i was introduced to a great community of bloggers, Danny Brown, Mark, Michael, Marijean, Shonali, etc.

They are real. They communicate. They care about you. They interact. AND…they actually know what they are doing.

With the big names, I feel like they do a lot for show. They can’t be bothered with us, but throw us a bone every once in awhile. It’s as if they have started to believe their own press. But they are far removed from the real world. When one of them tells us that Google Wave is the greatest thing since the 8-track, well, we all go, “Well, I hate it, but he likes it, so it must be good!”. And I know I’m probably wrong in doing this, but when I read some of their tweets, I sense a smirk. As if they tweet and think, “My, I’m rather clever, aren’t I?”

Yes, I’ve become a snob in the other direction. I’m not doubting their brains and knowledge and perhaps wisdom. But in many ways I doubt their sincerity.
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Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Hello Ken,

That must have been frustrating. You are not harassing these people, but you just want them to acknowledge you, and when they do, it’s like the best thing that ever happened :) OMG!

Before I started this blog, I spent about three months or so just commenting on blogs and communicating via Twitter. At first, I was enamored with all the big names. Then, I started exploring some of the commenter’s blogs, and yes, soon found some really great content and people that worked on fostering community, and practiced what they preached.

And yes, there is a reason Gini is so popular, well many reasons. It’s great how she does implement what she writes about, and shows the world, hey this is how it’s done! I’m getting to know Gini’s people and they are good people. Lisa Gerber comes to mind. I think she might put in a few hours :)

I don’t mind that the A-listers can’t be bothered with me. I’m not knocking on their doors begging to be let in. I am temped though :) It is amazing how much influence a guy like Chris has. And I’m sure there are many fans, marching in lockstep to the sound of their leader, eh?

Like Mark said, “Spending all your time trying to get the attention of the big names is probably not going to have a business pay-off. So go make your own tribe.”

And you know what, Ken? This is all becoming clearer to me now. I was asking for explanations, and boy am I getting them.

Ken, Thanks for stopping by with great comments. This “digital baby” is learning.

Hurrah, it’s Friday!


Bill Dorman September 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Wow, I must really suck; you left me off both of your A-lists……….I’m taking my ball and going home now………..and this Friday had started out so well for me………..

I did like Mark’s comment about not asking for it, but certainly not whining about it. Regardless of whatever level you are there will be some good with the bad. At the end of the day, we are all just human still trying to find our way.

I came up pretty much the same way you are doing. Every name you have mentioned from the second list have extended a hand, a kind word, an invitation to join the party and I graciously accepted it. I will defend them all day long.

If you put yourself out there and somehow you achieve some level of A-listness, you will always attract some haters. I think that is just normal.

Like you, celebrity does not awe me. Do I think it’s pretty cool I know some of the people I do, absolutely but it’s because I feel I know them on a personal level; not some elevated caricature of what others might perceive them to be.

And I will close with this:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Your beard looks funny
and your breath smells too

How’s that for a Friday send-off rook? Have a good one my friend…..
Bill Dorman recently posted..The blessing of rejectionMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Hey man, you’re on my B-List :) Just kidding. I’m learning the ropes from following you around. You do know how to network better than just about anyone, just look at your town over there at billdorman.me. Believe me when I say this: You are included in an upcoming fan-boy post here on my blog. Spread the word, my friend!

You summed up Mark’s post very well. Good with the bad, but be humble and don’t whine about your position. I really liked the post he included as well. And we are always just finding our way. Even old guys like me.

One of the reasons I didn’t start a blog right away was the fact that I wanted to network, see what others where doing, and network some more. It’s been fun, really. When I did get some feedback, or few kind words from the people mentioned, it felt good, but most of all I saw how they practiced what they were writing about day after day. (I’ll try to control my run-ons.) I will defend them with you!

When I talk about this blogging venture with my wife, she doesn’t know who ANY of these people are. Nobody I talk to outside of this world does. That puts it into perspective. I do have her reading a few blogs and she’s become a big JackB fan though.

Ha ha! Love your send-off. The beard takes the spotlight off my disappearing hair :)

You have a good one too!


Jack@TheJackB September 24, 2011 at 5:07 am

Hi Craig,

I alluded to some of the issues you touch upon in this post:


Anyhoo, I don’t think that there is one set of A-listers in social media. Try mentioning most of the names you used to people who aren’t involved in social media and they won’t have any name recognition.

I don’t pay attention to follower counts, number of comments or what Ad Age has to say. My focus is on content, content, content and engagement.

Great content will hold my attention. Good content will too. Add a good personality and a fun community and I am probably going to spend some time there.

FWIW, none of this means that I don’t want a million followers. A million followers would provide me with the opportunity to monetize my blog in a way that I haven’t been able to, but that is a side issue.
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Craig McBreen September 26, 2011 at 4:21 pm


Thanks for the link. I have never been to a blogging conference, and HAD no idea what to expect regarding the quality of speakers. I do now! As I stated above, I am naive, but learning. So, if I paid the fee to attend a major blogging conference, I would expect speakers with plenty of experience, bringing many words of wisdom, and most of all, teaching me new tricks of the trade. I would expect an entertaining, significant experience. Little did I know of all the narishkeit :)

I want to see you speak. I also want to hear the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain playing the theme to Shaft and see you strut your stuff, doing the pimp-roll up to the podium :)

Yes, there are not one set of A-Listers. This was just my list. Well, my list when I started, and my wife has not idea who these people are, nor would any of my acquaintances. Good for them I guess :)

I also agree with what you say regarding content AND engagement. I don’t want to court these people, but I don’t think they are so bad. I’ve learned quite a bit from plowing through their archives.

A million followers! What you could do with a million JackB fans. Maybe one day in the future, eh? As I mentioned, my wife is now a fan. She sent me a text message from the airport to say how much she enjoyed your writing. She’s now checking out everyone who comments on my blog. There’s another fan for your list :)

Thanks for stopping by, Jack! Really appreciate the comments and link.


Jack@TheJackB September 27, 2011 at 2:28 am

What could I do with a million followers? Well I could monetize that, oh yes I could.
Jack@TheJackB recently posted..Your Blog Bores MeMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Oh yes. Monetization. I guess there comes a time for that, eh? A million would be something. Right now I’ll settle for 50, or maybe 100 :)


Bill Dorman September 24, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Whew, I didn’t know if I was going to make your cut but you dropped in personality and fun so it bolstered my confidence. I was the guy that was described to a blind date as ‘but he’s got a great personality’………………
Bill Dorman recently posted..The blessing of rejectionMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 26, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Honestly, you are the first person I thought of when Jack wrote that. Even though he taunts you southern boys on your blog, he means well :)


Lisa Gerber September 26, 2011 at 1:55 pm

My question back to you is, “why does it matter?” do we really need a defined A list? I think we all have our own definition for our favorite blogs and thankfully for bloggers, everyone’s list is unique. I’d rather not name the bucket. It feels elitist.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly some bloggers I’d get starry-eyed over meeting. I guess I’m opposed to the idea of an A list.
Lisa Gerber recently posted..Control Your Own DestinyMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Hi Lisa,

I just wanted to get some feedback and a better understanding of the negative atmosphere, or anti A-Lister mood, something I’ve seen over the past few months.

Yes, we all have our unique favorites, but there are some who always seem to be included on the guru list, for lack of a better term. I guess with stardom comes more scrutiny, and a larger audience will bring out the critics. I think the people mentioned in my post are great, honestly, but they are an insular group. Detached because there is too much to keep up with. Probably.

We don’t need a defined A-List and no it doesn’t really matter. Righto! I’m more in tune to great content AND engagement. You are right about it seeming a bit elitist, putting some people up on a pedestal like that. I guess we all do that to some extent, don’t we?

I say all that, but watch me become a start struck nut if I ever meet someone I admire :)

Thanks for stopping by!


Alicia Jay September 27, 2011 at 3:21 am

Hey Craig!
I sooo despised the popular crowd in high school. Probably because I wasn’t in it. No, I think I just didn’t see the point. When I got to college and realized we all started at the bottom again I absolutely loved it!

When I started blogging I did the same thing as many others here. I searched for who to follow on Twitter and was told of these “A-listers.” My reason for following someone was the same then and is the same now. I’m looking for good content, something that holds my attention, humor and great conversation. So if you have these qualities I don’t care if you’re an A-lister or a D-lister–I’m checking you out!
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Craig McBreen September 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Hi Alicia,

Thanks for dropping in to comment. To me, high school was a bit like being in prison. Well, I exaggerate a bit, but it wasn’t a great feeling. I do agree that college leveled the playing field. It seems like there were a set of unwritten rules in high school, and all the cool kids knew about these rules. We on the outside were not only blacklisted from in in-crowd, but at a loss, confused when it came to operating in their world. At least for me it was that way :)

I like your methodology for searching for who to follow on Twitter. I feel the same way now, but yes in the beginning I was chasing after the big guns. No more though. You did mention, “good content, something that holds my attention, humor and great conversation.” I’m waiting for Bill D. to drop in and thank you for talking about his blog :)

Thanks again!


Alicia Jay September 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Ha! That was good! Are ya listening Bill??
Alicia Jay recently posted..Does Your Business Smell Like A Stinky Diaper? Here’s What To Do…My Profile


Craig McBreen September 27, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Oh, he’ll be here. He’s perceptive like that ;) Like a fox that one :)


Bill Dorman September 27, 2011 at 7:06 pm

The invisible one, remember………
Bill Dorman recently posted..Why blogging is like baseballMy Profile


Bill Dorman September 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Kind of, sometimes you have to shout at me; too many rock concerts. So what is Craig saying, I didn’t make the A-list but there might be a spot or two on the D-list side?

I was chasin’ early but now I’m more interested in engagement. If you are too big to do that, then that’s ok but I’ll go where the music isn’t so loud so we can at least talk.

I’m just trying to do the best I can.
Bill Dorman recently posted..Why blogging is like baseballMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 28, 2011 at 2:06 am

You are attending many venues these days :)

I would like to think Alicia was talking about my blog when she wrote, “good content, something that holds my attention, humor and great conversation.” … but I think she was referring to you and your place :)


Alicia Jay September 28, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Of course I meant both of you:)
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Craig McBreen September 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm

You are too kind!

Alicia Jay September 27, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Are you sure you meant a fox? Maybe a pesky wabbit…
Alicia Jay recently posted..Does Your Business Smell Like A Stinky Diaper? Here’s What To Do…My Profile


Craig McBreen September 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Ha ha, Alicia. That’s a good one!

“Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting (trolling) for wabbits” ;) ;)


Danny Brown September 28, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Great conversation starter, mate, and some excellent and very thoughtful replies in the comments (not surprising, that’s what happens when a great topic comes along).

I think there are various reasons, and they relate to people in general as well as A-listers (perceived or otherwise).

Much can come down to experience, or lack of. When you have someone build their trust in you, buy your products (because you talked a good talk), and then they find out you didn’t know what the heck you were talking about, that’s gonna piss them off.

Or, if you respond only to comments or tweets, etc, that are positive about you, and ignore the critical stuff (you know, the stuff that can actually make you grow as a person), that shows your weakness.

My favourite, though, is that generally all the whining about too many followers, too much noise, too much email, etc, is brought on because you wanted the fame and the glory. So you went about adding people left right and centre – and then complain about too much noise?


Tell you what – get a real job, one that you know what you’re doing, and then complain because you’re tired from 14 hours in a mine, or 36 hours on a hospital ward…

It’s not a soap opera, people, but you make it look like one. ;-)
Danny Brown recently posted..The Most Important Job in the World?My Profile


Craig McBreen September 30, 2011 at 12:35 am

Hi Danny,

Thanks and I agree. I loved going through the comments in detail. Great, great replies there. As a rookie, it’s a very interesting topic to me. I’m sure my opinions will change as I learn the ropes. Well, they already are a bit, after reading your comments and other’s thoughtful replies.

Looking into simply monetization, I’m finding more than a few people who just want to reel you in, but really don’t seem to have much in the way of real-world experience. Well, as far as I can see at least.

The critical stuff is what makes you grow. If your ego can’t take that, well … certainly agree with your point there.

Your winning me over with the “whining” issue. After reading one of your posts on that, again, I’m starting to get it. It took it a while to register, but I’m naive like that.

Regarding getting a real job, I love what you said in your last post, The Most Important Job in the World? Really good stuff!

Thanks for making an appearance at my humble little joint. Really appreciate the comments you made!


Dave Van de Walle September 30, 2011 at 12:57 am

Nice post. I’m all sorts of “meh” about the “who’s on the A-List?” discussion. I’ll tell you what drives me nuts – arrogance of those who stand in front of their 14,000 square foot home, showing us the lifestyle that I, too, can lead…if I just watch how they did it.

My A-List doesn’t include any of those folks. Plus, I think I need to add your blog to my reading list. Nicely done.
Dave Van de Walle recently posted..The Lively Art of Twitter LanguageMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 30, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Hi Dave,

Thanks for stopping by. When I first started really looking into blogs, I found more than a few get rich quick types. They reminded me of those cheesy half-hour infomercials. “You too can live the dream … drive a Lambo … lounge by your giant pool, etc. Sure, that’s easy. Just buy my 10-step program and you can live like me :)

Thanks for the comment and the complement. I really appreciate it!


Jason Fonceca December 2, 2011 at 4:11 am

Woo! What a beautiful post. I can feel the heartfelt curiosity, and I love the discussion it generated. Many people like to talk about A-Listers, but how many inquire about How We Conduct Ourselves?

Bravo Craig!

I’m late to the party, but I’ll weigh in…

I passionately study celebrities and fame. I see them as accomplished people who have done something many of us WANT to do.

-Made an impact
-Been significant on a large scale.
-Grown their outreach, and spread their message.
-People who’ve been loved by many for who they are
-People who’ve somehow become immune to being hated by many as well

A-Listers in any field, including blogging, have achieved all of the above, and there are a few reasons to hate on people who’ve accomplished such wonderful things, in my mind.

Jealousy, envy, mistrust, confusion, judgment, etc. (though these might all be summarized under one heading).

I believe great comedian Katt Williams applies:

“What are you complaining about? What do you think a haters job is?

To hate! So let them do their job. What is you complaining about? Ladies if you got 14 women hatin’ on you, you need to figure out how to get to 16 before the summer get here. Fellas if you got 2o haters, you need 40 what is you complaining about?”

(expletives deleted :D)

I love successful people, in any area, in any field. They may not share every single value I share, but they have certainly done what I’ve listed above, and bravo to them. I aspire to similar.


Craig McBreen December 2, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Hi Jason,

Yea! the party is still going. Thanks, Jason.

When I first started to look into blogging and was commenting everywhere, I kept reading these anti-A-lister posts. And honestly, since I was so new to the game, I was very courious about it and wanted some genuine feedback. Well, I got it, didn’t I? :)

Great group of people commenting here.

You make some very good points. While I wouldn’t put many celebs in the “accomplished people” category, I think many ARE and they are scorned for no good reason other than jealousy. People also love to gossip.

Regarding A-List bloggers. I do think there is some envy of course, but also, after reading some of the comments, I have come to understand why some feel the way they do.

I also look up to many of accomplished people. I guess they have to be fairly tough too, huh? When you get to a certain position you have to have some pretty thick skin.

Thanks for the great comments here.


Jason Fonceca December 3, 2011 at 6:17 pm

They do have to be tough, because almost as soon as they become ‘accomplished’ the amount of negative judgments passed on them by others increases. Ideally they simply tune out the noise, and that’s an interesting challenge :)

As for the ‘accomplished people’ thing:

I find that any discord usually arises from 1 very key premise that is held differently by the A-Listers and … the rest.

A-Listers, almost to a person, believe deeply, passionately, and committedly in the value of human spirit to expand the economy and attract success to oneself.

The Rest, generally hold the belief that there is a ‘pie’ of resources that is being continually divided up by some Greedy Ones and some Unlucky Victims.

At least, this seems to be the common denominator in any discussion I’ve seen about the difference between the 1% + the 99%.

If these core, root beliefs were seen with more understanding, I imagine greater harmony between the groups.


Craig McBreen December 6, 2011 at 12:18 am

Hi Jason,

Yes, some are expert at tuning out that negative noise, aren’t they? But I often wonder if a small percentage thrives on the negativity. The mindset that any attention is good. I think the majority of very successful people of any discipline fit your description and have a ton of positive energy, but a small percentage are in it for ego-gratification and nothing more. I think ego-gratification is only human and who doesn’t like their ego stroked every once in a while, but if that’s the only thing that drives you, you’re not in a great place to help others, or yourself.

I do agree that some people will never be satisfied and they choose to play victim or blame others for things that have happened to them or not happened for them. Some people in this world have been dealt a bad hand and really have no choice, but many do choose to sit back and whine. I don’t like whiners ;) I get the feeling you don’t either. :)

Thanks, Jason!


Jason Fonceca December 9, 2011 at 12:46 am

I’ve been researching the Attention Economy a lot, so I’m glad you’ve brought this up.

“Negative attention” isn’t like ‘counterfeit bills’. If you’re being “Who You Really Are”, you *will* have haters.

They help. They’re a mark of success.

My understanding is that hate is not the opposite of love. APATHY is the opposite of love.

Once you begin getting that attention (love/hate), it’s not apathy, you have attention-income.

Like any income, this can go to someone’s head, or … not :D

Whiners basically don’t exist in my world lol, I’m with you :)


Craig McBreen December 10, 2011 at 1:10 am

Good point and yes, I guess anyone with A-list status will have haters.

“Attention income.” I rather like that, Jason. But yeah, managing that “income” is another thing entirely.

Yes. No Whiners!!!!

Thanks again for stopping by, Jason.


Ana Hoffman January 12, 2012 at 4:54 am

I don’t personally have any problem with A-listers, Craig; it’s their content that I mind.

Sure it’s easier to hire a bunch of people to run your blog and have guest authors write for you.

However, that’s reflected in the quality of content.

Where did the problem-solving go? That’s why we read blogs, isn’t it? To solve our problems. Once they stop doing that… well, I stop coming.
Ana Hoffman recently posted..How to Get More Followers on Twitter FastMy Profile


Craig McBreen January 13, 2012 at 4:41 am

Hi Ana,

Good point. There are some very popular blogs I frequent and I gravitate to the older posts, mainly for research. Maybe I’m avoiding the latest, because it’s not the greatest, not sure.

But there are more than a few on top of the heap that are still writing a ton and are very involved in comments, etc. Love to see that, and it often keeps me coming back for more.

Thanks for stopping by!


Jason Fonceca January 14, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Ana, I love your call out for high-quality content that delivers.

It raises an interesting point of “what’s solving a problem?”

What if my ‘problem’ is I have a desire for knowledge of how my A-listers go about their days, and the A-Lister provides on their blog or Twitter, some relatively banal explanation of their day.

Does that count as a problem solved? ;)


Jason Fonceca January 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Oh and if anyone’s hungry for quality content, hit up my new brand: http://ryzeonline.com – Sexy Success | Ryze up!


Ana Hoffman January 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm

I don’t think it qualifies as a problem, Jason. lol

People come to my blog to learn how to get more traffic.

If I stop talking about it or start writing some generic information you can find anywhere else, then one of two things would happen: some of the readers will leave because I stopped addressing the need that used to bring them to my blog, and then some will hang around for networking purposes – I might as well open a matchmaking business at that point.
Ana Hoffman recently posted..Internet Marketing ToolsMy Profile


Craig McBreen January 15, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I keep asking myself, what topics can I write about and actually help some people in the process? As I move along here, I’m really trying to refine my message and bring value. If I can help just one person, I feel that I’m doing something right.


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