Recovered from the Wayback Machine.
Dave responded to my earlier post with a thoughtful and considerate posting that asked a very valid question:
So anyway, here’s a question for Shelley. When I see your site update on Weblogs.Com, I usually go for a visit to see what the bird is burning about now. I think of that as a community feature. Do you think it’s valuable? If not, why do you participate?
First, thanks for stopping by Dave, always appreciated. And as a point of clarification — I dropped that silly rule about comments I had about five minutes after I originated it, so please feel free to drop in with comments.
Back to the question: Why do I participate in pinging weblogs.com, when my interest tends to be on the people aspect of weblogging rather than the technology?
Though my focus is on the participants, I also appreciate much of the technology used in weblogging, particularly the weblogging tools such as Movable Type, Radio, and Blogger. And I also appreciate community services such as weblogs.com that let me know when my favorite webloggers have updated.
To me, technology provides a framework that allows me to communicate with my weblogging community easily and without a lot of hassle. I’ll alway be grateful for the folks who create all this technology that makes my weblogging life a lot easier. Still, technology is only an enabler — the content of the weblogs is the key aspect to “community” in my opinion.
If technology could be considered equivalent to the nerves in the brain, it is the people that provide the chemistry that enables the synaptic (community) connections to be made. Without the chemistry provided by the webloggers, the technology is nothing more than bits and bytes and wires all jumbled about in a chaotic and undifferentiated mess, thrown into the ether.
Consider my own community of webloggers — the virtual neighborhood that I reference fondly and at length. Technology will tell me that Bill Simoni’s weblog can be accessed at the URL, http://radio.weblogs.com/0100111/. And technology can let me know when Bill has updated his weblog, through weblogs.com.
Bill uses technology to create his weblog (using Radio), which is accessed through additional technology (the Internet). And I read the weblog through my browser (Mozilla by preference), contained on my laptop — yet more examples of technology.
However, technology doesn’t tell me that Bill is expecting a baby any day now. And technology doesn’t tell me that Bill has a nice, self-deprecating sense of humor, is pretty excited about the baby, and has a a thing about grammar and spellchecking 😉
If Userland and Movable Type and Blogger were to discontinue innovating their products as of this minute, we would perhaps have less fun toys to work with. We’d miss out on better products, and more reliable hosting, and more interesting ways to post, and better ways to aggregate the postings, and more efficient approaches regarding notification…
…but we’d still have our community.
You’d have to take the Internet down to take down our community, and due to the pervasive nature of the Net, I don’t think this is even possible, now.
Ultimately, the community is not dependent on the technology as much as the technology is, itself, dependent on the community. Because without the community, why would we need the technology in the first place?
And the topic is continued here.