I was chatting online recently with a friend, someone who I’d consider to be a really popular, successful parent blogger. But this woman doesn’t feel part of the blogging community. “Oh I’m not in with them,” she said. “They just don’t like new people.”
I was a little taken aback.
But then I thought about it. Surveys consistently show that the reason most people blog is to connect – to reach out to like-minded people and become part of a community. Those same surveys also show that something like 95 percent of blogs are abandoned within a few months.
Could it be that it's actually really hard to become part of an online community? And how can a community be more welcoming to new members? Because a growing, thriving community with lots of new voices is a good thing, in my book.
I don't know if there are any cliques, but I would say as an observer that there are bloggers I’ve un-followed on Twitter because I can’t see any point in following them. Their entire Twitter stream is a series of in-jokes directed at five or six of their best mates, and they never bother to respond or reach out to anyone else. That’s not a bad thing of course, and how you use Twitter is entirely up to you – but it’s boring as all heck to read if you're not part of that particular close-knit group.
I also sometimes think online communities in general can be quite insular with memes and awards. The same people tagging the same people, week in, week out. You can almost predict who some people will tag before even reading to the bottom of a post. Again, this isn’t a bad thing by definition. But I do suspect it’s quite intimidating to new bloggers. How do you break into that sort of close-knit circle? Not everyone feels comfortable barging into a conversation that seems to have its own in-jokes, tags and lingo, after all.
So, rather than just wittering on pointlessly, I’m starting a new meme of my own. This meme is called the “You're Welcome Meme”. I'm tagging three bloggers I really respect as great community builders with this meme: the fabulous Sleep is for the Weak, the Mummy Whisperer and TheMadHouse. Also, I'd love for the tag to go to Beki at Beki's Bloggy Bits, Heather at Notes from Lapland and Peggy at Perfectly Happy Mum. I can't wait to read all about your favourite new discoveries!
Here are the rules:
- Visit the new blogs I've introduced you to. If you like them, subscribe!
- Recommend three new blogs you've discovered and loved (if you link back to me, I'll share all the new blog links in a subsequent post)
- Tag three other bloggers and ask them for three new blog reads.
Daisy Darling: written by a teacher, this blog combines family insights, creative projects for kids, vintage fabrics, craft projects and lovely photos. Oh, and there are cats. I'm very keen on Internet cats, until Flea and I find the perfect kitten to add to our family. Daisy Darling is in fact a haberdashery house, which makes gorgeous hats for children and adults.
I love blogs, and great content always means more than great writing. But every so often you find a blog that is written by someone who was BORN to write, and that’s the case with Dad blogger Brit out of Water. His posts about living in New York with his daughters is beautifully written, and just really smart. Also, his Jude Law airport story cracks me up. I, too, am a master of the airport immigration slalom, friend.
Everyone should read Lavender House. It's painfully honest, inspiring and one of the few blogs I've discovered that I think uses words and pictures together in a seamless way – each one equally important to the story being told. And she's in Brighton, my favourite place in the UK. Everything's more fun by the beach.