I've Lost my Sense of Blog Community

And it’s my own fault. But part of it was a sense of mourning. Many of the bloggers I started out with are no longer blogging. Remy was the first to go after the birth of his child. Then Katie’s blog went dark. Chris the Book Swede suffered a death in his family and never really came back. Mulluane got tired of dialup connection with no possibility of getting anything better. But Aidan is still out there, and Robert, and John, and people who started blogging before me, like Ken and Theresa and Angela and Pat. And there are some new superstars, like Thea and Ana, and Heather, who show us all how it should be done.

To everyone, I can only say, it’s not you. I don’t even follow my own web stats anymore.

But when I read Robert’s wonderful news, I realized that I’ve missed that sense of community. And so I can only say, I’m sorry. I need to figure out ways to make better use of my time. I have Google Reader, but I follow way too many blogs, and I’m constantly falling behind. Any suggestions for a better news reader? I often look at blogs using my ipod touch these days, but I’m using Google Reader there as well, which might be part of the problem.

Do you run a blog? I have a Google Group around book blogging that I started way back in the old days, and which doesn’t get a lot of activity anymore. I could attempt to revive that. Maybe we can get a blog circle thing going.

Blogging is my social network of choice. I tweet a little, but not much. I let Twitter feed most of my Facebook posts. And I don’t keep up with my GoodReads account. I’m a blogger at heart. Advice is appreciated.

20 thoughts on “I've Lost my Sense of Blog Community”

  1. I’ve got 464 blogs on my reader (I just checked) and there is no way I could read them all.

    Other than friends, I give most people one paragraph to hook me. Sometimes, if the content promises to be interesting, or if I know the blogger is usually good, I’ll leave them on the reader until I have time later on, but most are deleted.

    It’s the only way I can track as many people as I do. I really do feel blogging is a responsibility, both on the part of the blogger and the reader. The blogger (if he is blogging to reach an audience) has to be informative, entertaining, or interesting. The reader has to decide what is worthy of his time.

    I don’t like Twitter. Try as I might, it just sounds like chatter to me. I do like Goodreads though. I’ve found some good books through my followers’ recommendations.

    1. I don’t think I have sat down long enough with GoodReads to give it a chance. I was able to get into Twitter because really — there’s not much to it.

      And so now I use it as a way to update my Facebook.

  2. I’ve noticed an ebb and flow to most online interactions.

    Finding a more efficient reader sounds like a good idea. I’m afraid I don’t have any suggestions, but I wish you the best of luck with that. {Smile}

    Of the net-places I’ve hung out in, LiveJournal strikes me as most like blogging. One thing many of my friends have done when they’re trying to regain interest in it is to go thru the friends list – the other folks’ journals they follow – and weed out any they feel are too dead, or that they don’t feel connected to. This gives you a little less to keep up with while you’re trying to get back into. It also tends to make what you do see more likely to be interesting. {Smile}

    The other thing they often do is look for new communities and bloggers that share their interests. I’m not sure if that would help in your case or not. {Smile}

    I hope you find something that helps one way or another. {SMILE}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    1. I didn’t really consider LiveJournal because it’s somewhat unfriendly to those without a Journal. But I do like the timeline-like sort of way that it presents all your friends latest posts.

      1. LiveJournal has its advantages. Still, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into it if I’d been looking for a blog. I got into it years ago because I got to know a couple of folks who kept one, and having my own account looked like a good way to keep in touch with them. That turned out to be true as I added more friends. Now it’s a convenient way to keep in touch with quite a few friends. {Smile}

        I like the time-sorted posts, I like the threading, and I like how easily you can set up a “community” which can be a second journal, a sort of group-journal like a group blog, or much more open. Still, in spite of their pushing Open ID, it isn’t nearly as friendly to non-LJ folks. {Lop-sided Smile}

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  3. I run a book blog and in the last year I have connected with a community of book bloggers via twitter. Turns out a bunch of them are local to me and now we get together when we can for a coffee or lunch. If you restart your google group I would be interested in joining.

  4. I know how you feel, Tia. Lately my free time seemed to shrink a bit more and I haven’t got much time for commenting on the blogs I follow and keeping in touch with the friends I made through blogging. My bookmarked blogs are in a great number too and I don’t have always the time to go through all of them. But I am happy to see my friends there and to know that in a spare time I can catch up on things, reading their blogs, going to Twitter or Facebook and talking with them a bit on that social sites too. I miss Chris and Mulluane, but I understand that life can take over at one time and we have to make priorities. I still dream of a worldwide bloggers convention and meeting many of my online friends there, but I am happy to keep in touch with them, as little as possible, online. And I hope that if they would not be able to keep blogging, we could exchange a few emails.

    1. Did you see my post a few weeks ago about a convention in New York? I know that doesn’t help you, but maybe you can start a Europe-based one. It has to start with someone!

  5. Yeah – I know what you mean. Time is short. Heck, in terms of the fan/blogger/reviewer I’m something of an old man with a blog that’s 4 years old now. In that time I’ve seen quite a few come and go or otherwise shift focus. And there a number that are hanging on and keeping things interesting.

    If you did start/revive a google group I’d be interested. Mullauane attempted the blogger message board which was good in theory, but I think most of us just didn’t have time to keep it a vibrant community. Maybe a google group will have better luck.

  6. A blog is a big time commitment. I think a lot of us start blogs without realizing the amount of time it takes to keep that blog lively. Not only do you have to write interesting, engaging posts, but you have to seek out, follow, and comment on other blogs in order to get anyone to notice yours. If you don’t take the time to write lively posts, no amount of commenting you do on other blogs is going to gain you followers. And if you write great posts but don’t do the blog networking thing, no one’s going to read your posts, and you’re going to feel like you’re talking to yourself.

    That last one has been my problem. I don’t follow a lot of blogs. I follow this one, a handful of author blogs, and a political blog. Between my writing, homeschooling, other family stuff, and my theater involvement, I just don’t have time. I mean, I could make the time to follow other blogs…if I wanted to give up those little joys in life, like watching LOST or going to visit friends or watching TV with my husband when the kids go to bed. If I did that, maybe people would read my blog, and I wouldn’t feel like I’m talking to myself. I think a lot of those bloggers you mentioned who aren’t blogging anymore were doing the blog networking thing in addition to writing interesting posts, and they just couldn’t keep up the pace when life got in the way.

    Personally, I’m amazed at what you’ve been able to do with this blog. You’re such a busy person, and the fact that you’ve been able to run such an active and engaging blog for so long is just amazing. I know I’d never be able to do it alone.

    I think group blogs are a nice solution to this problem. It divides up the responsibilities. I’ve run across a few blogs which were run by two or three people (too many contributors gets to be confusing, I think), and they were able to maintain the pace without anyone feeling overwhelmed. The political blog I read does it this way.

    I don’t really know how helpful any of that was. But that’s my two cents, anyway.

    1. Gah! I got so busy last night that I couldn’t finish answering these! Anyway, I think you are completely right. I only started attracting audiences when I started commenting on other people’s blogs.

      You have one more activity than I do — the theater involvement. I am fortunate in that my husband and I share the homeschooling duties, but it did take another bite out of my time, which is why I no longer post daily. (And I don’t practice piano or violin regularly anymore πŸ™ ) I also don’t watch TV. We don’t even have cable. (The number of channels you get on digital TV is rather surprising — triple what we got with analog.) So, that’s how I do it.

      And thank YOU for being part of my very small group blog. It has helped so much.

  7. And you are an uber-blogger dear! I don’t know how you do it.
    It’s interesting how relationships and groups evolve, even when they appear to be virtual. I fear I have no advice–I, too, seem to spend an awful lot of time blogging and not enough time visiting friends’ blogs. πŸ™
    I’m just now figuring out the Google reader!

    1. Thanks! And I don’t know how you do it with your Wardrobe by Sam blog! You have all those pictures to post every day or so!

      Google reader is good but I want something that doesn’t remind me of how many unread posts I have!

  8. {lost in thought}

    Does anyone know of a way to set up a group that could be read thru a newesreader? Not a group blog, but a more egalitarian group where folks are more concerned with conversation than attracting readers? I know LiveJournal has groups that ought to ought to work with blog readers, but I’m not sure folks who don’t have an account with them could post anything beyond comments. WordPress might have a similar arrangement, but I’d really prefer something open to folks from different blog hosts. {Smile}

    It’s just… Mihai, Neth, and Superwench got me thinking. I don’t feel I have time to add another stop to my regular rounds on the net. However, my blog reader isn’t as full as Tia’s and Maria’s, and it’s already a regular stop. I should be able to add a group or two to what my blog reader picks up without feeling stressed. {Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    1. That’s an interesting idea. I know you can do it with Outlook. Surely, Google will not allow itself to be outdone by Outlook. I bet the groups have an RSS feed and you can subscribe to that. I’d certainly prefer it there than in my inbox.

      1. I believe that if you have an Atom or RSS feed, you can do it. Just put the feed address in the add a subscription box. {Smile}

        I don’t need mroe email either. I’d rather have more to read on the newsreader at this point. {Smile}

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  9. I have about 450 streams on my google reader too and I find the set up clunky. I don’t think there is any efficiency secret it’s just spending the time hun. I agree it’s a shame people like the Book Swede have dropped it pretty much. I used to love his blog.

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