Weblogging as novel

Weblogging is the world’s greatest novel, written by me and about 10,000 of my closest friends.

Mike Sanders opened up a discussion about blogging communities today, which happened to fit perfectly with some thoughts that have been kicking around in my tired brain.

He mentioned the A-list bloggers and defined them as a community. I agree with Mike on A-list, but not community — community requires interaction and Cam and Meg and others of the A-listers seem to me to be strongly singular in their voices. In particular I see Cam as a man who is proud of being the lone wolf of weblogging.

I am part of a specific community of webloggers who I’ve come to know and admire. They are my friends as much as fellow bloggers. Unlike the A-listers, our weblogs take on the aspects of cooperative writing, with one person starting a conversation and others adding to it, within comments, weblog postings, or both. The effect can be profound, rich, and rewarding; a feedback loop that can send you at dizzying speeds throughout a loop of interconnected nodes.

In Mike’s posting he quoted a snippet from an email that Jonathon wrote:

I love this group. Being a member is one of best outcomes that flowed from starting my blog. I’m not sure how I became a member and I don’t know who all the members are. That’s very important to me. The amorphous quality of the group. It may well be that if you sat us all down in separate rooms and asked us to list the members, we would each come up with radically different lists. That makes it incredibly beautiful and special — because it means there are no barriers to entry and no possible sense of exclusivity.

Jonathon speaks for me with this paragraph as much as he speaks for himself — beautifully done.

Lately, though, I’m finding that, as with any new colony, the frenzy of early formation is now gradually giving away to a calmer and more mature community, attracting newer, vital voices just as the more mature members are becoming quieter — more thoughtful in our postings, perhaps posting more infrequently.

This quietness isn’t because of lack of interest in our weblogging community; it’s because the community is mature enough that we don’t have to post all the time — we’ll still be here when each of us has something to say, in our own time, and in our own way.

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