Yesterday I wrote why the newbie blogger initiative is a poor idea. But I left out the biggest reason to back up my view on this so as to make a seperate post of it today. Not just to wring blood out of a stone, but because I consider it to be so important. Milady commented yesterday that:
“… I know one of the organizers for this year and I can assure you that he is only thinking of attracting more people into the ‘fold’ …”
This actually sums up the greatest issue I have with this idea of forming what will ultimately become a bloggers collective. When a group is formed you are either in the group or out of it. Being left out of a group can lead to disallusionment and feelings of resentment that the excluded are not part of the clique. The knock-on effect can be that people who were once willing, engaged and active participants now decide that this is not a place for them. And they may well be right in making that decision. I am not talking about bloggers who are not in the cool blogging collective. I am talking about you, my friends. The readers.
Forming a clear and identifiable group of bloggers merely serves to highlight to the average reader that they are not part of that group. To me the most valuable comments I receive on my blog are from people that I have never heard from before. Perhaps they have been reading the blog for some time before they find the urge to write a comment. It can be a big deal to write that first comment and then wait to see if the blogger has responded or if other people have weighed in with their thoughts. The average reader does not have a link on their name to their own blog. They have no vested interest in making a comment. They are doing it because they are engaged to a level where they want to participate. That is priceless, and if you are a blogger those are the most valuable readers on your site.
I called yesterday’s post a circle-jerk, and that was with reference to this idea today. Bloggers posting on other people’s blogs, bloggers writing a post in response to someone else’s blog post, these are things that occur on a regular basis and they are fine. The readership puts up with it, even though I know for a fact that it annoys some readers a fair bit of the time. But making a blogging clique is taking it too far. This merely serves to rub it in the face of the reader that they are not part of this group. They are not on the same level. They are not as important or valued as other readers who also happen to blog.
Authors do not form cliques that alienate the reader while they ingest the product. Nor do journalists, or musicians or film-makers. There are however, some isolated examples of these groups doing just that. The film Oceans 12 is a prime example of this. The first film in the series was a big success, the second not so much. The reason was because the film-makers and the actors made the film for themselves. The audience were not in on the joke, unlike the first and third films in the series. You can’t do this and expect the audience to put up with it. At best the NBI posts disengage the general reader. At worst they cause them to never come back. And who can blame them? The posts are certainly not for them so why should they read the blog?
This NBI thing won’t alienate every reader, far from it. But it will piss off some. And how much it will have a detrimental effect is unknown. There should be no reason to make such a visible group of this nature. If people want to know how to blog they can ask. But really, what is there to know? You blog when you feel that commenting on blogs is not enough for you and you have more to say. In other words, you have your own beliefs and opinions that you have a strong desire to put out there on a visible basis. If there is any value to your opinions you will attract readers. If not, then you won’t. Couple that with writing on a regular basis so that readers keep coming back and you should be able to develop a clear voice over time. Joining a group usually means that you end up following the group’s beliefs and opinions. I have seen group think evolve many times in my life and this will be no different. If you’re serious about writing a blog I would stay far away. Successful blogs, the ones that readers keep coming back to, are unique.