There is no real blogging community on the Internet. There are a ton of small sub-communities out there, but nothing connects all of the weblogs together. I was a LiveJournal user for a short amount of time, but found the options and features to be limiting and boring. I did enjoy that there is more of a community, where friends can connect with each other easily. It was important for me to have a highly-customizeable framework and have it be easy to use. I looked at WordPress, Facebook, MySpace, and a few others, but settled on Blogger, since it ties in so nicely with all the other Google products (plug!)
I’ve been on Blogger for a few years now with very few complaints. I had to install a third party page counter to see if anyone actually read my blog. To my astonishment, people DO read it (or at least stumble upon it). They just don’t leave comments.
A few friends of mine have blogs on LiveJournal, which has since become slightly more advanced, though I’m not a fan of paying a service fee for some features. It seems that LiveJournal (LJ) users are very connected with others who use LJ, but not too much outside of that. In fact, I get the impression that users of LJ don’t read outside of LJ often.
On a related note, people not associated with MySpace can read blogs on MySpace (MS) but cannot leave comments. LJ bloggers have settings options to restrict users from posting comments using either their LJ account, an OpenID account, or just remain anonymous. Blogger bloggers can also limit who can sign comments from either a Google/Blogger account, an OpenID account, putting in a nickname, or remaining anonymous. The topic of OpenID is to be saved for another post, I think it’s a fantastic, overdue idea.
And what about the private bloggers, those who have their own system in place? How do we connect with them? There needs to be an easy way for all bloggers to converse and communicate with each other. The average user doesn’t know to grab an RSS feed and plug it into a reader to stay up to date on their friends’ entries. Who is going to go to a third party site just to get updates on entries anyways?
Here’s my current solution: I set up a Google Reader account and added all of the blog subscriptions to it. I then set them into a folder labeled “Blogs.” In the Google Reader settings, under the “Tags” tab I set my “Blogs” folder of blog subscriptions to be “public.” Adjacent to these settings is a link to “add a blogroll to your site.” I took the code from there and inserted it into my Blogger blog template. Now, I have an up-to-date list of links to the blogs that I subscribe to. Every time I add a new blog to my subscriptions in Google Reader, it will be automatically updated in the list on my Blogger blog.
The only problem I see with this is that I can add new blog subscriptions all day, but the bloggers of those subscriptions won’t know that I am subscribing to them. While I can understand that major corporations won’t want to know every single subscriber, or do they? Would that help with marketing? What about privacy, is that too invasive? I meant finding a method to inform family and friends that I am reading their blog and they can read mine too if they so chose. I feel like I’m alone in the blog world!
What do you think? Is there an easy way of connecting to other bloggers without violating personal space?