Writing about the blogesphere, trying to capture the conversations and summarize what is going on and generally connecting with one another, has a long tradition in our corner of the woods.
I have been on about this whole community thing before, I know. But it is undeniable that it does exist in some form. That so many of us have blog rolls on our side bars speaks to a sense of community. We also link to other blogs on a regular basis by way to joining a conversation or continuing a point made elsewhere or setting the foundation for something we want to write that might have started out as a comment and then grew in the telling. It is a way to connect and nobody… well, almost nobody… acts like they are doing you a huge favor if they link to something you have written.
Some people have gone beyond just links and blogrolls at times. For quite a stretch Tipa wrote a Daily Blog Roll column (which I once attempted to parody) on her own blog to try and take the pulse of our little corner of the net. Others have gone for a less arduous weekly wrap up at times. Currently we have J3w3l at Healing the Masses and her Monday Link Dead Radio posts, Marcus Scarus is starting up a weekly Blog Bulletin, and there is Silverangel and the semi-regular Weekly Wyrm posts over at Kitty Kitty Boom Boom.
(I know somebody else does something like that as well, but I cannot think of who at the moment, so hit me in the comments and I’ll add it in.)
(Also, a note to bloggers: If your are going to do a regular series like that, give it an exclusive tag or category so readers can view the whole thing as a specific body of your work. Also, it makes it easier to link to it!)
There have also been events, like various “tag, you’re it memes” and events like the Newbie Blogger Initiative (a new one coming this year I hear) and things like the EVE Blog Pack and the monthly EVE Blog Banter.
Then there are people who take this even a step further and put together sites to help bring the blogging community together. VirginWorlds started as a blog and a podcast, but quickly became a focus of our little corner of the web as it created a popular amalgamation of feeds featuring MMO bloggers. Then there is Scr.ee from the Scree of the Cynic Dialogs, an attempt to map and track trends in the blogesphere. And for space nerds there is EVE Bloggers and Total EVE, sites focused on bringing together EVE Online blogging into a single feed.
And then there are the commercial MMO sites. It seems natural for those sites to pay us some attention, seeing that they have drawn any number of contributors from our ranks. The earliest column I can recall that spent time with the MMO blogesphere was Michael Zenke’s Massive Update column on the late 1UP.com site.
It was focused on MMO news, but Mr. Zenke spent many of his column inches linking out to us. And that tradition carried on when he went on to become the founding editor-in-chief of the recently departed Massively. And while he (and his successor Shawn Schuster) ran the show, the site was often very generous in acknowledging the blogesphere.
But at some point that idea seemed to pass from Massively and other commercial MMO sites. I am not sure why this happened, if blogging had been declared dead yet again or if blogs were suddenly passé or if editorial policy was changed to never acknowledge that there are other sites on the internet or if people were just sick of hearing about us, but there was clearly a period of time when a link from Massively was exceedingly rare and them writing about the blogesphere appeared to be strictly verboten.
That time of neglect seems to have passed. Towards the end of Massively’s run, Syp revived the blog community presence with the Global Chat column, a regular feature that has found its way to the Massively Overpowered successor site.
Of course I am happy to see some more focus back on the grass roots blogging scene, but I am also interested in why this turn of events has come. Are MMOs just not generating enough news these days? Have budget constraints meant that sites have gone to covering niche topics by linking out to the crazies? (And we’re all crazies on this bus.) Have such sites decided that they need to tend the garden from which so many of their staff have sprung? Or is this just a quiet time aberration, soon to be dropped once something interesting happens?
What do you think? And who did I miss in my summing up?
Addendum: Mr Luvva does a regular blogging wrap-up feature as well.