Thursday, December 08, 2005

Communication/Distribution: My blogging experiment

My experiment with blogging has run for over a year now, and I’ve learned a few things:
  1. It’s hard to attract an audience
  2. Isolated blogs are not the way to go
I intend to continue writing on this blog, if for no other purpose than to record the assorted thoughts that I have on the nature of power relationships in our society. Of course, I also enjoy the little feedback that I get. As always, feel free to subscribe to my RSS feed if you want to be notified when I write something new here.

I started blogging with the hope that syndicated blogs could provide the foundation for a communication system in which each of us produces a small amount of content focused on specific topics that interest us, which is then distributed widely. Isolated blogs are not the way to do that. For the time being, I think that online communities offer the tool for creating the inclusive communication system that I seek.

I’ve participated in the FreedomDemocrats online community for a couple of months, where I started another blog. What I like is that the community moderators read all of the blog postings that are made, and promote good postings to the front page. This provides a sort of quality control system for readers who are interested in getting the most important information from the Freedom Democrats movement, but it still would allow readers to subscribe to my own RSS feed at if they are interested specifically in what I have to say. The Internet communication system that I would like to see includes both the ability for individual producer-consumer connections, as well as a role for middlemen who sifts through several content sources to find the best content addressing a specific topic and then redistributes it.

The FreedomDemocrats site is powered by Drupal, which can be a powerful tool for creating an online presence for various communities, especially when combined with the CivicSpace adaptations.

Another experiment in communication that I’ve participated in is the Mutualist Journal Club. A journal club includes several members, each of whom monitors a particular publication for articles of interest to the group, and then reports that article to the group. I started this in cooperation with Kevin Carson (Mutualist Blog) and we are currently recruiting members. I’m not aware of anything like this, so I’ll have to see how well it works.

A final community site to consider as a model for many-to-many communication is Wikipedia. Content is limited to that which fits into an encyclopedia, but the Wiki system has great potential to be expanded to other types of content, as can be seen at the “Proposals for New Projects” page.