There seems to be a lot of talk lately about the loss of that sense of community on our personal blogs. I’m not sure about everyone else but I seem to be added to a new Facebook blog group every week at the moment and after my recent post about my love/hate relationship with that platform it occurs to me that this may be another part of the problem. I get notifications every time anyone adds a comment to a thread I’ve shown an interest in so every time I look at my phone I seem to have at least 16 notifications which gives me a dose of social media/information overload.
The community focus seems to be shifting away from blog-based interaction to group-based interaction – or is this current trend brought on by the demands of the Christmas season and the fact that a quick browse through a short comment thread on Facebook is considered less time-consuming than reading a 750 word heavy blog post and coming up with a thoughtful and considered comment?
As always there are gripes about ‘link-dumping’ on blog hops and to be honest I probably started joining less linkies myself the day I realised that I was, unintentionally, doing this myself at times. It is quite obvious when this happens that the entire exercise is rendered pointless – not only are your own page views and comments down but you end up feeling a sense of guilt, that you are letting both yourself and your community down.
I also find that the more popular and generalised the linky the less likely you are to generate page views and comments – well, it’s obvious – if you are one of 15-20 you are much more likely to get noticed than being one of 100 and the more interaction within a closed or limited group the more likely you are to get to know and feel affinity for the other members of that group.
This kind of leads me on to the fact that the blogosphere is exploding. I think I read somewhere that 50,000 new blogs were created every day in 2014. Admittedly this number includes blogs of every nature and variety, from business to fashion and everything in between, but it will have an impact on each individual niche.
Now, I’m no economist, but talking in economic terms, I wonder if we are in a boom/bust scenario here? It’s clear that there is a bit of an experiential arc for a blogger – you start off bright eyed and bushy tailed, seeking as many outlets as possible to showcase your ever-increasing output of blog posts, you plateau out, experience blogger burnout, taper off, lose a bit of interest and compulsion and before you know it 10,000 new bloggers have crept up behind you and said ‘boo!’.
Does the sheer volume of new start-ups water down the tight-knit community atmosphere and at the same time up the competitive element? Or is it possible that the more people blogging on any given subject, the bigger and better the community?
Personally I have my fears about population expansion in the real world but I realise it’s not a straightforward issue – to cut population growth has real economic implications, which is where the borderline believable plot of the brilliant C4 series Utopia falls down. It is not in the interest of the powers that be to lower the birth rate, let alone commit covert mass euthanasia.
Where am I going with this? Well, in our personal lives we have the option of starting a revolution to totally re-write our current economic reality, or we can learn to adapt and find our own place in society whether it be competing for school places or jobs, promoting a shift to home education, starting our own businesses or starting a trend to move away from over-crowded city based living.
In parallel, the situation within the blogosphere is also a case of adapt to survive, adapt to thrive, choose your interactions wisely and don’t be too fooled by boom and bust trends – what goes around comes around…