Blogging Mafia: Do They Really Exist?

December 20, 2009 | By | 16 Replies More

Reading time: 4 – 6 minutes

Blogging has definitely evolved from being a simple personal journal into a huge threat to mainstream media causing some thousands of print media closures and struggles. Blogs indeed played a major role in shaping the internet and the way information is disseminated across boarders and multiple channels rapidly immeasurable.

One blog post at present can virally transpire across the globe through the influence of social media. It has become mandatory for blogs nowadays to incorporate social media tools in their platform to ensure widespread distribution of content.

With the advent of today’s social media, blogs generally have found a solid backbone for viral distribution and it leads me to thinking if the idea of a Blogging Mafia exists or does it really exists in the first place or if so, will it thrive or remain relevant.

Blogging and Affiliation

If the likes of Darren Rowse or Brian Clark engages only within the circle of elite A+ bloggers, does that make them part of a Blogging Mafia? Or if you’re somewhat close and mingle only to the likes of Yaro, David Risley or John Chow, does that immediately make you one of them? Or affiliation with Chris Brogan and Pete Cashmore already make you a social media guru?

Niche and non-niche blogging could genuinely create close or tight groups sharing the same passion and possibly some ways of thinking. Think about flocks of birds and schools of fishes. Can you see an odd-one out?

a choir of chicks

Although it’s different if we’re going to talk about people—engagement, affiliation or what have you because there’s always a sense of belonging. Mainstream media even have the same thing going around. But what makes affiliation so important?

Considering the way Mafia works, a Mafioso (Mafia member) is not supposed to introduce himself to another Mafioso. If he wants to establish a relationship, he must ask a third, mutually known Mafioso, to introduce them to each other which make sense that if the likes of Robert Scoble introduce you to Michael Arrington that means you’re within the circle. I can be wrong or maybe right.

Associations are pretty important if you really wanted to make a name, at least for infinite reasons. You wouldn’t want to be associated with bad neighborhoods, do you?

To what extent does affiliation can backfire social interaction and transparency? If a Blogging Mafia does exist, it only means that if you’re within the level of plankton, you cannot interact with those within the top of the pyramid of social classes.

It’s a little absurd to think about social classes at this time of age or an apartheid-like kind of thinking where one does not belong to the other. It’s insane.

Blogging Success and Perceptions

If blogging is an instrument that hopefully in the upcoming years would continue to be relevant and alive, I’ll be happy to wake up each day and find that everyone’s all equal. What a perfect world could that be? I guess blogging simply gives each one of us a voice, a rather unique voice that gives us freedom to express ourselves or much more.

I’ve once read of a blogger who said that those who were thinking of a blogging Mafia’s existence are simply jealous of others successes. Such perceptions could have been a little over the top, a character reflected of a Mafioso.


As Mafia’s are characterized by men often having negative connotations of arrogance, conceited and overly self-assured countenance, it’s undermining of one’s character to be labeled such.

Final Thoughts

We cannot classify ourselves from others and neither it is healthy to tag people as such simply because they don’t conform to our likes or are differ in interests and opinions. We are all different in various ways—character, talent, skills, etc. If a Blogging Mafia does really exist, which I hope not, then I’d burry such idea in a sea of oblivion created by a lame state of mind however if it does and I have no choice but to take a stand, I’d rather associate myself with genuine and truthful bloggers who were humbled by their successes and achievements.

Do you really believe that there’s a Blogging Mafia going on or is it just plain stupid to think that it really exist?

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  1. John Sullivan says:

    Hey don’t sweat those snobs their days are numbered.I like when “they” say you don’t get IT. Like your a troll and they are wonderful those people make me sick. 2010 is OURS.
    check back on that post you commented on 🙂 Thanks
    .-= John Sullivan´s last blog ..What’s your word cloud ? =-.

  2. Mathdelane says:

    I always believe that life is an endless wheel that keeps on turning and when you’re on that part where you’re on top, that’s when you have to realize that you might go down at some point however if you’re on that part where you’re almost near the top, that’s when you have to look back and carry with you those who needs a hand.

  3. David Risley says:

    Interesting post. And, no, there is no blogging mafia. Kind of a funny concept.

    The people you named (including me) are nobodies unless people pay attention to us. We’re all just dudes with families and blogs. We happen to make a living at it. That’s it.

    Speaking for myself, I have been making my living as a blogger for many years now, but when I actually started talking about that fact, I was a nobody in the “blogging mafia” you speak of. Yet, now you are including me in those ranks. What did I do? Just provide good content and spark up relationships with people (including those you mentioned). There isn’t any secret handshake. 🙂 It all comes down to action. I offer guest posts. I hop onto airplanes and travel to conferences and meet people in person.

    Those who work most rise to the top. No secret to it.
    .-= David Risley´s last blog ..4 Bloggers Doing It Right =-.

  4. Darren Rowse says:

    Interesting thoughts.

    I’m not sure that these groups of bloggers who cluster together are anything but a natural thing that happens when any group of people comes together.

    I still remember when I got into blogging 7 years ago – in the niche I was blogging in there was bloggers interacting with each other in a way that seemed very exclusive. I felt quite on the outer.

    The reality was that those bloggers all started blogging around the same time and had a shared history and as a result knew each other.

    In time I started to get to know some of them but also started to form relationships quite naturally with another newer group of bloggers. In time another group started to form who were newer bloggers again. There was some interaction between all the groups but of course we all naturally gravitated to those who were at a similar stage to us and who we had shared experiences with. I don’t think that he first group ignored us or tried to keep us down – they were just friends who naturally interacted with each other.

    I think another thing at play is that some groups of bloggers actually get to meet one another. I used to feel quite on the outer because I was in Australia and a lot of the other bloggers in my niche were seeing each other regularly at conferences in the US that I was unable to get to. The face to face time they were getting naturally meant that they had stronger relationships (more share real life experiences).

    For me it meant I had to work extra hard to meet and build relationships with people – as well as get used to being a bit of a loner. I also started to go to meetups in Australia to meet more local bloggers who I could work with.

    In the end it can be hard to break into friendship groups whether it be in real life or virtual ones online. However I guess for me it slowly changed over time as I began to meet new bloggers on a similar level to me, as I blogged for years and some of the older bloggers began to notice me more and as I worked hard at putting myself in places where I’d naturally meet other bloggers.

    Thanks for the post – lots of food for thought here.
    .-= Darren Rowse´s last blog ..Rookie Lessons for New Bloggers =-.

  5. Mathdelane says:

    Apologies for having included your name and the likes of Yaro and John. I mean no offense but this was just to add substance to the post if that doesn’t mean directly insinuating a pat on the back because firstly, I wouldn’t be picking your name if it’s not worth mentioning. I guess the common denominator between the three of you is making a living out of your blogs (which is what I’m trying to emulate) but that’s just about it.

    When I started blogging, I’ve never heard of this coined phrase, “Blogging Mafia”, until sometime this year when I’ve read a post about it in our blogging locale that stir up some conversation. I simply can’t recall where I’ve read it for an added citation.

    To think about an idea (such as a blogging mafia) out of perceptions/judgment that maybe a result of non-conformity in beliefs or incongruous behavior over the other as a result of misinterpretation is unhealthy to the mind and soul. On the other hand, it would be vain glorious for a blogger to look down on people who were just starting their journey.

    Imagine if we’re all born at the same time, I wonder where we’re going to get some ideas if there weren’t people who came before us, lead, and share what they know and perhaps there wouldn’t be new breed of bloggers if there weren’t the likes of you or Darren.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Mathdelane says:

    Your insights are quite the same as mine. Maybe I was at the point where you are when you’re starting out. I couldn’t agree more with you because people naturally have tendencies to cling with those whom they share similarities. Perhaps, if I were a first timer to attend a gathering of bloggers, I would initially find someone whom I know of than trying to mingle at first in closed knit groups.

    I’ve attended local blogging events and WordCamps this year. At first I felt out of place maybe because I was a bit aloof but somehow I’ve realized that I have to exert some effort if really wanted to make acquaintances. Boldness sometimes has its rewards.

    One thing I’ve also learned though is to stop reading blog posts about rants and things that aren’t healthy for the mind and spirit otherwise it’ll hold you back and keep you astray out of thinking positively. It’s not at all bad to read random rants sometimes however, filtering the good ideas out of a negative write up works wonders.

    Thank you Darren for sharing your experience and views. I appreciate it.

  7. I don’t think there is a blogging Mafia per se, there is however a group of “power bloggers” people who have been in the game longer than the rest of us, and have achieved massive success and recognition as a result. A few small bloggers rise to this level with original idea’s, terrific niche and sometimes sheer networking charisma.

    I was shocked and glad myself when Chris Brogan left a comment on my blog one time, just out of the blue, I hadn’t reached out to him or anything. I felt pretty good that I was noticed by someone of his magnitude.
    .-= Dragon Blogger´s last blog ..Can You Quit Your Day Job to Blog? =-.

  8. Mathdelane says:

    Hi Dragon Blogger,
    First off, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate it. Just a quick word thou, I only accept personally identifiable names in the comments name field and unlink keywords or domain identifiers such as yours based on my comment policy unless they state their name at the bottom of their comment. I find it not being personal when somebody does it.

    Anyway, based on your statement, I would assume that these power bloggers’ comments on your blog gives you a different feeling of recognition.

    If that’s the case, then I would recommend the likes of them to comment on any upcoming bloggers (notice that I didn’t use “small bloggers” because I don’t think there are really “small time bloggers” unless someone really thinks they are big and someone thinks that they are small) to give a lift which I don’t expect and neither that I would imagine them doing from time to time unless their brand or names have been mentioned or talked about on the web (I did not use the word “dragged” here in place of “mentioned” because that is such a distasteful word to use unless name dropping is the game today just to get some attention).

    It is sometimes helpful to put ourselves in somebody’s shoes so we can understand where they’re coming from. These guys would rather create content that would benefit the many than please a single blogger’s thirst for recognition if not attention. I’m not sure what other words to use just to make it lighter.

    On the other hand, getting a comment from them isn’t that bad after all and who wouldn’t want that? It’s like a pat on the back.

    However, if we’ll reverse the situation and you become a famous blogger, would you give a hand? Or would you mingle only to the likes of you?

  9. Kikolani says:

    I think of mafia as being a negative thing. I do believe that some bloggers are closely knit and possibly work together to do things to help each other out, but only in positive ways.
    .-= Kikolani´s last blog ..Twitter Direct Messages – Best (and Worst) Practices =-.

  10. Mathdelane says:

    That’s what I thought, Kristi. The negative connotation of the word mafia is rather dragging in character. I wonder why some people came out with the idea. Is that because they are jealous of others successes (which I hope not) or maybe because they were intimidated? I wonder if the likes of Darren ever feels they are intimidating? Or at least to some. I’m not sure.

  11. Keith says:

    There has been quite a bit of this going on in forums and on blogs I read. This Blog Mafia or A-Listers or whatever terms we use are usually out of envy, and I think we all go through a phase of this.

    I once asked a question about capitalizing on a post I had written that had gotten 4x the traffic of any other post in the ProBlogger room at FriendFeed and Darren wrote an article about it mentioning my name later that week, man I was high on life for weeks after that, maybe months. I am sure he doesn’t remember it now as it was over a year and a half ago, but it really made me feel good.

    I don’t think this type of article is as much negative as it is controversial and in some ways it is good to have this type of conversations to get things out in the open, maybe get someone to think of ways to make “A-Listers” more accessible to upcoming bloggers.

    A good example is David Risleys latest post on 4 bloggers doing it right.
    .-= Keith´s last blog ..Permalink Structure for SEO =-.

  12. Mathdelane says:

    I think it’s admiration turned into bad impression rather than envy or jealousy. It’s a little harsh to think it was because first, if there weren’t any rookies, there wouldn’t be veterans.

    Something I believe is that if you’ve reached the height as high as a bamboo, the only way to bend is breaking you. If you’re as high as a giraffe, no matter how high your head is, you still can bend below effortless.

    Thanks for being here Keith.

  13. Holly Jahangiri says:

    What you’re talking about here isn’t a “mafia” but a “clique.” And I think a lot of it is simply a given blogger’s perception; if someone is intimidated by Darren Rowse (poor Darren, we’re always using you as an example, good or bad – you’ve become something of a household word among bloggers) then they may perceive him as an “A-lister” or a “snob” or an “untouchable.” The truth is, he’s a human being. He’s got his circle of friends – as Darren, himself, says, above:

    “The reality was that those bloggers all started blogging around the same time and had a shared history and as a result knew each other.”

    They share a history. They know each other. It’s comfortable. And in all the noise and clamor of people trying to find a way into the “inner circle” as they perceive it, there’s only so much time and attention to go around.

    It isn’t exclusionary based on someone’s notion of the “A list” or the “B list.” Be bold. Say something interesting and fresh. Most people aren’t that interested in sycophants or toadies – they want to have a meeting of the minds.

    We’re NOT all equal. Some bloggers are better writers than others. Some are brilliant marketers. Some have deep psychological insights to share. On the other hand, some just recycle the same crap over and over again. Others scrape content from third-party sources, proving they haven’t got an original thought in their heads. Some are snake-oil salesmen who would sell their mother if the price was right. You want to be THEIR equal? I don’t.
    .-= Holly Jahangiri´s last blog ..How to Generate Traffic without Selling Your Soul =-.

  14. Mathdelane says:

    Hello Holly,

    First off, thank you for stopping by. I appreciate all your thoughts. I’m not certain if you were referring to me or in general in your final question but one thing I’m going to tell you is that no blogger would ever intimated me no matter how famous he/she maybe because I definitely don’t measure myself with anybody’s talent or skills.

    I have my own voice and my own strengths. It will be counter productive to gauge yourself on somebody’s achievements because it hinders your capability of growing more than you could imagine.

    In life as they say, many are called but few are chosen, success has no short cuts but we travel on the same path. It’s up to us which way we want to go.

    I care less about other bloggers and what they do. It’s a waste of energy thinking about negative things about other people. Of course, not everyone’s equal…in talents, skills, etc. We have our own precious gifts. Be it imitating others or scraping out others content like you said, that doesn’t matter to me for as long as people would try to become themselves or perhaps believe in themselves and live their lives without stepping other people, then who am I to judge?

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