Oh my god, oh my god, I can’t deal with another day of whining about the decline of the “blogging community” without asking: who the hell do you honestly think you’re talking about?
Seriously. Who is “the community?” Who comprises “the community?”
I know you can’t possibly think you’re talking about all bloggers, everywhere.
Not even all mom bloggers (which, let’s be honest, is where the “community! community!” stomping seems to come from). Because you can’t POSSIBLY think you’re in a position to lump all mom bloggers – let alone all blogs – as part of some unified community.
So who are you talking about? People who are attempting to make money/a career from their blog or in social media? That’s a pretty – no, EXTREMELY – small portion of bloggers, when you think about it – which you haven’t.
Or maybe bloggers who attend the same conferences and events that you do – again, very small group.
Or maybe bloggers you associate with on the regular. But you can’t mean them, because then you’d be lecturing to your friends, when it isn’t your friends who are the problem, it’s the other people.
So, who all is this “community?” You’ve got to have some kind of defined group in mind when you start worrying about the decline of “the community,” or else, what are you even talking about?
What I find hard to imagine is a way in which “community” can be defined such that it makes sense for a person – ANY person, because it has been SO many different people at different points in time – to climb up onto their soapbox and lecture about how “the community” needs to behave in order to prevent the INEVITABLE AND VERY CLEARLY IMPENDING destruction of “the community.”
I mean, before I can accept anyone as a voice for “the community” and an authority on “WHAT WE ALL NEED TO DO TO STOP THIS,” I need to know who that person thinks they’re talking to.
My “community,” I think, is built around my own specific site, and it would be ridiculous for me to ever think otherwise, because what the hell do I even have in common with any larger group?
So this here is my community, and you’re reading this, so you’re probably part of it, and you already know – I pretty much rule this shit with an iron fist. I’ve got no shame about it – this is my place and it’s my way or up yours.
And I’m a member of other communities, the central hub of which would be a certain blog or blogger, and I participate, but certainly wouldn’t think to speak for THOSE communities, because I’m not the boss of them, but I enjoy horsing around in and with them because they suit me.
And then, of course, there are more loosely formed communities of like-minded, like-humored or just liked people I hang about with on Twitter or what have you – I think you’d refer to those people as my friends and I certainly wouldn’t think to stand up and lecture them about how we all need to behave as a group, because, uh, come on.
I can speak for me and govern my own behavior. I can wave my little e-scepter around and tell people on this site – part of this community for which I write all the words and pay all the hosting – what shit is going to fly and what shit isn’t and change the rules by the day, IF I felt like it, which I usually don’t. I can control my own behavior – after all, I’m an adult who can decide these things – when I participate in other communities, and the heads of THOSE communities and other members can welcome me in or kind of shoulder me out, in a weird Internet Darwinism where the non-fitter-inners are eventually excluded by mutual, “eh, it isn’t working out” kind of decision. On a similar note, as an adult, I can also turn away from behavior I don’t care for, weed it out of my OWN community, or not participate in communities that engage in behavior I don’t like.
Behavior I don’t like – not behavior “the group” has decided is an unliked behavior because WHAT FUCKING GROUP?
But do you know how many blogs I read? A LOT. Too many for me to draw any kind of unifying “community” between them as a whole, and certainly too many for me to elect myself The Boss of Appropriate Conduct and try to “fix” what is wrong with a whole bunch of things that don’t really have anything in common to begin with.
And I read a LOT of them – and I bet you do, too – and that’s not even CLOSE to all of them! I mean, I realize the big trend right now is to whine about how blogging has changed and all of that, but surely people realize that their experience is not the universal experience? ESPECIALLY with something as diverse as blogging? There are 4 jillion blogs out there – you don’t read even a notable fraction of them, if you’re being honest with yourself, so how can anyone at all speak with any authority about “community” and how the behavior of some is ruining the experience of others?
What community! Who are you talking about!
If something is going on that is ruining “the community,” I think that to solve it, first you need to decide what exactly it is that you consider to be “the community.” Then, think about why you feel you’re in a position to govern the behavior of “the community.” Is it because you pay for or write the site the community is focused around? Is it because you feel like everyone needs to ensure that your experience is as molded to your own personal needs and expectations as possible? Is it because you have some kind of god complex? Is it because traffic was low this month and you needed to stir something up?
Is it because you haven’t realized the world is changing around you and you’re completely out of touch with what “community,” as it relates to blogging, actually is and your own authority within it?
Look, just get back to me when you’ve decided WHO the community is and WHY you think that you need to lead the charge to fix it.
Until then, I don’t think anyone really has any place to speak for or about “the community.”