Monday, April 04, 2005

Group blog trend

Josh Marshall talks about the formation of a group blog.
I have felt for some time that as bloggers come to terms with how much time and energy it takes to maintain a good blog they will turn to group blogging as an alternative.

I've mentioned a few times of late that we're soon going to be launching a new website that will be an adjunct or companion site to Talking Points Memo. One of the main features of the site will be a new group blog, which we're very excited about.

It will feature some voices you're likely familiar with, and others you've either never heard before or at least have never read in a blog format. It will likely have a few more than a dozen authors -- a mix of writers and politicos, at least a couple of whom you will have seen as guest bloggers at TPM.

In addition to that, however, the site will also be a forum for TPM readers to discuss and debate the issues raised on TPM as well as to raise and hash out questions we're not discussing, but that you think we should be.

Another reason for launching the site is something that only became clear to me in the last six months or so. And that is, the way that blogs can facilitate what amounts to a sort of distributed or open-source journalism. Perhaps, you might even call it open-source muck-raking.

I began to sense the possibilities of this during the whole Sinclair Broadcasting debacle last fall, again with the 'DeLay Rule', and then on a larger scale with President Bush's jihad against Social Security. When people guest-blog on TPM, they never fail to be amazed at just how much quality information comes in from readers. And in this case, I don't just mean solid thinking and analysis, but concrete factual data.

It would have been impossible for me, for instance, to have written most of what I've written on Social Security over the last few months if I didn't have literally thousands of people reading their local papers and letting me know what they're seeing or reporting back from townhall meetings or giving me the heads up on things that are about to break on the hill. That's not a replacement for journalism; it's different. But it's potentially very powerful.

Of the blogs that I read regularly, at least a fourth of them are group efforts.
So many individual blogs have gone inactive that I created an "Inactive" folder among my bookmarks as a personal archive. I expect the trend to continue.

Update:

Before the day is over I came across this from Virginia Postrel:

Why I Don't Blog A Lot
The entry on the movie premiere took a full hour to put together, and that's with the Thorp quote handy. (I just typed notes from her book yesterday.) That time does not include photo manipulation, which I did last night.


Her blog is perfect, of course, because she is a pro and pros don't do anything half way.
People with high standards can work themselves to death replicating processes that might save time in a group.

She didn't say so, but another reason she doesn't blog a lot is that content is more important to her than her blogging schedule. I read a lot of fluff on blogs that is nothing more than today's fluff. Heck, I do that myself when I'm tired. The internet has a lot more fluff than meaningful content. Besides, thinking sometimes takes more effort than I want to exert.

3 comments:

bob (a.) said...

Hoots -

Thanks for your help yesterday - this is the first post that has popped up on my new RSS feed set up. Yippee!

Kobayashi Maru said...

This makes complete sense. Look at any industry you want (automobiles, computers, newspapers, fast food, etc....) They all enjoy an initial flowering phase of individual heroic, innovative effort followed by consolidation of those efforts into more sustainable enterprises. Food for thought as I learn how consuming this can be...

Deborah said...

It makes good sense. I have been invited to guest host at several group blogs. My individual blogs have not gone dormant only because I found a way to make some money via blogging. (And that took 18 months of blogging at no compensation, before I found that way.) Also, I rely heavily on "Talking Points" supplied by think tanks to keep me abreast of issues, etc. It would otherwise be impossible for one person to keep a political view fresh and updated.