Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Whole Section of the Blogosphere Ignored

This morning I started reading Decoding the Blogosphere by Joel Lang in last week'sNortheast Magazine, a section of The Hartford Courant.
The article was about Connecticut's blogosphere. However, it seemed that Lang doesn't quite get blogging. He focusedprimarily on personal blogs. "The common blog takes the form of an on-line diary or journal, mixing details of the keeper's life with commentary." He also kept coming back to the anonymous nature of many of those types of blogs.

What he didn't address at all are blogs that are created around a specific interest or field of study or professional field. Like kidlit blogs, or literary blogs, or the many blogs that are maintained by librarians. Those are just the fields I'm familiar with. I assume there are bloggers active in many other fields as well.

The kidlit and general literary blogs I frequent direct me to news in my field that I a. might never find out about in the mainstream media; b. might not find out about because the mainstream media covering it is in another country; or c. might find out about when the mainstream media gets around to covering it.

For instance, yesterday I wrote about the Curious George movie. I was aware the movie is in the works because I read blogs, and I found the actual link I used through Book Kitten. In the kidlit world, a movie made from a children's book that's been around for generations is a big deal. My local mainstream media, however, probably won't cover the Curious George movie until sometime in February, 2006 when it will be in theaters.

I, myself, have mentioned the Connecticut Children's Book Fair a couple of times this fall. The local mainstream press will cover it the week before the event. Some years, the Fair gets nothing but a mention in a weekly arts calendar. For the librarians, teachers, collectors, and families who are interested in book fairs, relying on their local big city paper for all their news is pretty iffie.

Interest or professional blogs, whatever you want to call them, share news that wouldn't get around to people active in that field in any other way. A great deal of what I know about what's going on in children's literature I only know because I read blogs. And, no, I don't think professional people should just stick to their cubicles and not know what's going on around them, not be influenced by the real world. I should know what authors are popular with the kids I write for. I should know what's being written and how it's being critiqued.

Lang interviewed Thomas Fausel and Patrick Thibodeau who maintain Connecticut Weblogs, which monitors blogs that originate in Connecticut and directs readers to the more active ones by listing recent updates. (I'm included in their site.) Fausel says that he is trying to "build a sense of community" with Connecticut Weblogs. I think that specific interest blogs do become a community. A lot of us do check each other out to see what's going on in our field. But it's not the blogs, themselves, that makes the community so much as the content.

Good content makes a good blog. People interesed in blogs need to seek some out that cover a field of interest to them. We aren't all writing about bad dates and crazed coworkers.

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