If I met you at a cocktail party and you turned to me and said, "How do I get someone more important than you to listen to me and to pass on what I'm saying," I think I'd prety much walk away right there.
So when Nick Carr rants about how difficult it is to get "A-listers" to link to him and calls its "open and democratic and egalitarian" nature "an innocent fraud", I'm sort of offended... on behalf of all the onesie and twosie readers of really small blogs and all the bloggers with little or no traffic who keep writing.
When I teach blogging at Fordham's MBA program, I always stress that its not about getting traffic, but its about making sure you're available to be discovered. Take this blog about custom labeling. You think he really cares about links from "A-listers"? He just wants to be known to the
custom labeling community... his community. What's great about blogs is that your community will define itself, because discovery is so easy. Stake a claim on Technorati, tag your posts, and make sure you ping the right servers and the right people will find you. So, if Peter only has 15 subscribers for his label blog, its probably the right 15 people and I'm sure engaging in a dialogue with them is worth it.
You don't have to influence everyone... and sometimes just influencing one or two people in a meaningful way can change your life, your business, your career, etc. That, to me, is what blogging is all about.
I like MikeCrunch's take on this as well... that its all about the power of the community. Its not about your blog or my blog, but if word of mouth gets passed around that cocktail party, and we're all talking about it, that's very powerful.
I also think that blogging, if you really want it to have an effect, on you or others, needs to be a lifestyle. I don't mean that you have to post everyday... but, for example... I'm very forthright about the fact that I blog. Its on my outgoing e-mails as a footer link. I know so many people who hide their blogs, but one of the most rewarding things is when someone who just happened to get an e-mail from me, six months later, sees me in person and says, "Hey, what you wrote the other day really made me think... that you're completely wrong."
Can't win 'em all...