July 28th, 2006

The Underground Blogosphere Is Just Networking


Steve Rubel complains about the “Underground Blosophere,” which is essentially bloggers emailing each other in search of links. Steve admits that this email practice is what helped get him where he is today, but then he brags about having “kicked this habit,” as if it were shameful.

Many of the comments on his post say this is a bunch of bunk, and I agree:

Brian Clark

The “underground blogosphere” is just business networking — an age old practice that turned digital well before people started to blog.

This whole post is ridiculous.

Steve Hall

I love the Underground Blogosphere and just the plain old emails I get from readers. Without that, my site would be nothing. In fact, most of the material for Adrants emanates from emailed readers tips and, yes, press releases sent from PR firms. While this may be sacrilegious, I now, as opposed to early blogging days, get my best stuff via email and no from the 100 or so rss feeds I subscribe it.

But this Underground Blogosphere is nothing new. It’s just email people talking to people the way thay have since the first caveman learned how to grunt. We’ve just slapped a new label on it.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

I gotta say, one email at a time is good with me. I read enough feeds that I can barely tell the difference. Even multiple emails to make sure I remember to reply are ok. It’s unsolicited Skype IM that stresses me out!

I get lots of emails through the Underground, and I am grateful for every one of them because they help me up the learning curve and because networking is so critical. I also carry a lot of guilt for not being as are responsive to all of the emails as I would like to be.

I’m sure Steve gets A LOT more than I do, but I can’t imagine ever getting to the point where I would think it right to thumb my nose at them.

For goodness sake, why blog if you don’t want to be part of this network?

So please keep the emails coming! If I don’t respond, email me again.

I also still send links by email, not as many as I used to, but I am remain as grateful as ever for any responses I get.

To Steve’s credit, he does make a constructive suggestion:

I am eager to hear how you feel about the Underground Blogosphere. Maybe there’s a way we can pool all of our emails together into a new site that creates value.

But if he wants to be constructive, why make an arrogant comment like this?

Other days I want to set up a great filter that moves them all to a spam folder.

If there’s any habit I feel like kicking, it’s this silly blogging about blogging.

NOTE: For some reason, Steve has never approved a trackback when I link to his posts — I’ll be curious to see if this one shows up.

Comments (3 Responses so far)

  1. Podcast Rigs The podcasting rig that we ordered (mostly, we’re using different software and some different microphone mounts) Podpress plugin for WordPress Steve Rubel: The Underground Blogosphere Scott Karp: The Underground blogosphere is just networking Those Bastards: The Underground Blogosphere isn’t underground, you just chose to ignore it most of the time Jesse Oxfeld headed to New York Magazine Joel Johnson leaves Gawker Media Syntagma Media’

  2. Yesterday brought two discussions of successful people actively avoiding opportunities to network. Steve Rubel wrote—some say complained—about the behind-the-scenes email among bloggers, which others defend as just networking. I’ve found my blogs and email to be an effective combination for meeting interesting people, and I’m happy to receive messages from people who think I’m interesting, too. IQ Interactive recruiter Ragan Jones wrote about the

  3. Steve’s post just completed perplexed me. I didn’t want to jump on the guy, but it just rubbed me the wrong way, as it seems to have others.

    As for trackbacks, if you use WordPress, there’s a bug sending them to Typepad blogs like Steve’s. I don’t think it’s an approval issue. Seth Godin’s blog is the same way, which is especially frustrating since he doesn’t allow comments.

  4. [...] I picked up a meme on various blogs about the Underground Blogosphere. I caught it first at Publishing 2.0, and then it seemed to explode all over the place. Steve Rubel said it first here. Read it yourself first, if you’d like. [...]

  5. [...] Steve complains about the amount of e-mails that he receives every day that essentially ask him to post a link to another blog. Many others in the techsphere got all worked up proclaiming that it is an unimportant subject. Yet what fascinated me by this idea is the operation of a parallel, low-impact network that has physical consequences in the higher-impact network of blogs. I suppose I’m a little slow on noticing this, but keep in mind that Swarming Media is merely the 188,421th most linked-to blog, compared to Rubel’s 59th, so I have never received nor sent any e-mails with the intent that a link would follow. [...]

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