I admit that my first impressions of Alltop were underwhelming. The site is a clean and simple collection of links to blogs in just about every category except technology. Here, you’ll find the “best” blogs on fashion, food, humor, celebrities, religion, music, sports, and business. You know, the stuff that the vast majority of normal people care about.
In an homage to that special characteristic that sets blogs apart from other media, there’s even a section on “Egos,” highlighting individual blogs that contain some of the best (and. I might argue, some of the lowest) writing in the blogosphere. It’s this collection, like some sort of self-fulfilling prophesy, that got the most attention in posts yesterday, predictably from individuals whose blogs are included in this section.
Alltop is neither complete nor definitive, but it ultimately proves very useful as a discovery vehicle. For both novice and sophisticated social media hounds, Alltop may even take on the roll of RSS reader. Why hassle with feeds when so many good blogs have been aggregated in one place?
If Alltop where just another attempt to “curate” the Web, however, it would not be so notable. What makes this curated collection interesting, and perhaps even important, is the lens.
Behind this collection is Guy Kawasaki, Apple-Evangelist-turned-entrepreneur’s-guru. He writes a popular blog himself, speaks frequently, writes best-selling books, and is generally the man about Silicon Valley. In short, he has a perspective and he’s broadcasted his point of view for much of the last 20 years. Whether you know Guy or not, you think you do. It’s that perspective that enables you to interpret the collection – the curation – at Alltop.
Simply put, Alltop is the stuff Guy likes. But more than that, it is the stuff that people who like Guy like. In collecting these links, Guy went to his community on Twitter and asked his followers what they liked. And they, in turn, put him on to a wide range of sites that he’d not known before.
“Twitter played a major role in Alltop,” Guy told me. “If would not be the same without Twitter. Without fail the Twitter community would always come back to me with the best stuff.”
Alltop, then, is a collection of the stuff that top bloggers, Twitterers, and social media buffs like to read. It’s not the wisdom of crowds, so much as the wisdom of the most engaged social media advocates.
In the past, Guidewire Group has been critical of attempts to curate the Web, primarly because these attempts to collect and categorize the “best” links are made without clear point of view and too often with more than a little condescending arrogance.
Not so, Alltop. The clear perspective and the engagement of a known and engaged community make this curated collection work. And because we understand and largely respect the point of view, Alltop may well become the one stop blog shop.