LDS blogs: Size Matters

I have read posts on an awful lot of blogs. When I first found the bloggernacle I read everything that came up on the Mormon Archipelago. I still put in a LOT more time reading other people’s stuff than I spend in preparing and writing my own…..I probably shouldn’t have said that. You can tell can’t you?

Anyway, I have started to form an opinion about LDS blogs in general. I do not say these things to flatter or insult anyone. I am not going to mention any names or blogs in this. Just make some general observations. And what I have been thinking about lately, is that size matters when it comes to blogs. And it matters differently depending on what you want out of your LDS blogging experience. For purposes of presenting my thoughts I would like to suggest some categories, and make an assumption.
The assumption that I will make is that the reader is a member of the church, and is fairly strong and solid in the faith. I say this because I often feel there is an element in the bloggernacle of seeking for ‘dirt’ on the church at some level. If that is what you want, you will have some company and some sites that will be glad to fill you needs. I won’t be giving any assistance, or any thoughts in this area for now.

One of the categories I will suggest will involve what those faithful folks might be seeking in participating on the bloggernacle as a reader and commentator on blogs. The categories are:

1. Quality of content.
2. Social interaction.

The other categories has to do with blog size, or type. The categories I will choose are:

1. Solo blogs
2. Small Group Blogs.
3. Large Group Blogs.

Again, I am not trying to anger anyone in this, and will not mention any blogs by name. So, now for my thoughts.

Solo Blogs

Quality of Content. Solo blogs are all over the map here. Some are fantastic, some are not. Many are inconsistent. If you are searching solo blogs for quality content you may have to do your homework. There is getting to be an ocean of solo LDS blogs out there. Finding a solo blog that you like can be quite a find.

Social Interaction. In most cases this interaction can be somewhat – dare I say – intimate in comparison. When someone comes by my blog I feel almost like they have stopped by my house. I feel like having them sit down and offering a glass of lemonade. I have also been made to feel that way when visiting solo blogs. For a chance of social interaction that may even feel like a type of friendship, it seems hard to beat visiting a solo blog.

Small Group Blogs

Quality of Content. Small group blogs seem more consistent in their content than the solo blogs. There are a lot fewer small group blogs, so finding some that you like will be easier than with solo blogs. Most small group blogs have contributors that are very similar to each other, and are kind of a tight group. If you get into some debate on a small group blog, you will likely deal with the whole group instead of an individual. Small group blogs seem like a ‘team’ in a very real way. Authors on these blogs probably feel a responsibility to keep the content quality fairly high because it reflects on the group.

Social Interaction. This is an area where small group blogs have a lot of potential. There often appears to be a meaningful friendship amongst the group which can be felt by visitors to the site. This friendship may well be extended to others. Some small group blogs actually want to be big group blogs someday, so not only will they be glad for your traffic, they may even invite you to participate with them if you make yourself known by your comments.

Large Group Blogs

Quality of Content. Large group blogs have a potential advantage here. They are well established with lots of contributors. Individuals can take their time in making posts because there are so many other contributors keeping things going. Because of all this expectations – I imagine are quite high. Large group blogs are large and popular for a reason. In general their contributors are quite good at what they provide. There are very few large blogs as far as I know. Checking them out and finding those you like is easy to do.

Social Interaction. This seems to be something lacking on Large group blogs. These are well established authors with a fairly large following. They don’t really need you, and often will not have much time for you. It’s hard to feel really welcomed when you are comment # 127. In fact, that sometimes feels like what you are – a number – comment #127. Visiting these blogs for the first few times can seem like going to a new high school, and showing up on prom night, with no date, and inappropriately dressed.

So there you have it. My general view of LDS blogs. Now, I have only been around for about 7 or 8 months, but it feels like much longer. Has your experience been different? What have I missed?

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17 Responses to “LDS blogs: Size Matters”


  1. 1 Guy Murray June 29, 2006 at 12:41 am

    Eric, Nice post. I think it’s pretty spot on. (love the title by the way). Of course you maintain a good quality solo blog and also pariticpate in a good quality small blog . . . so you pretty much have the best of both worlds. Keep up the good work.

    Regards,

    Guy

    p.s. thanks for the lemonade

  2. 2 Rusty June 29, 2006 at 12:57 am

    Eric,
    This is a good analysis.

    Blog participation has fluxuated a lot for me. Lately I just haven’t had much time or even much to say and because the one other person on my blog (my dad) hasn’t either I feel like my blog has deteriorated. It used to be good, I’ve considered pulling some stuff out of the archives (because there are so many new bloggers with so much good stuff to add). I just need to take more time (like I used to) to sit down and write stuff. I’ve got a whole list of stuff to write about, I just don’t have the discipline to do it anymore.

  3. 3 Tom June 29, 2006 at 12:59 am

    That’s about right. I definitely feel like my comment is more valued and will be more likely to be thought about and responded to thoughtfully on the solo and small group blogs as opposed to the big ones. For the most part the big ones have really interesting and well-written stuff but I don’t find them very inviting. I don’t think this necessarily reflects a lack of hospitality or other deficiencies on the part of big blog proprietors, I think it’s just the nature of the beast. Sometimes there are big blog posts that I wish had been written at a smaller blog so that I could have the opportunity to discuss them in the more intimate setting.

  4. 4 Eric Nielson June 29, 2006 at 8:37 am

    Guy

    Thanks. Yes, in some ways I think I have it pretty good. Want a cookie too?

    Rusty

    I am glad you agree. You have some good things going over there. Bringing up older posts may be a good idea, I do think there is a lot of turnover.

    tom

    Thanks for stopping by. I hope I can raise the quality of my posts here. About the only way I can see doing that is to post much less often and read less of other people’s stuff. A difficult choice.

  5. 5 Tom June 29, 2006 at 11:52 am

    Eric, I didn’t mean to suggest that I find the quality of posts at your blog or other solo and small group blogs lacking. Just that when there are posts at big blogs that I would like to discuss I’m less likely to do so than I would be if the same post were at a smaller blog.

  6. 6 Eric Nielson June 29, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    I think I understood you fine. I would just like to be one of those high quality small blogs that people like you seek out. I’m not quite where I want to be yet in terms of quality. That is my assesment. Maybe someday. But I did not take what you said as a criticism at all.

  7. 7 Mogget June 29, 2006 at 4:43 pm

    Hi Eric,

    Nice little analysis. BTW, I called your dentist friend in Rexburg after you posted about him. I gave his office assistant your URL, so I hope they got back to you. I just thought it was too nice a story to go unnoticed.

  8. 8 Eric Nielson June 30, 2006 at 7:01 am

    Mogget:

    Somebody noticed?

  9. 9 Mogget June 30, 2006 at 9:16 am

    People read your stuff all the time, but don’t leave comments, you know.

    Anyway, yeah, I read it and then I googled the name for a phone number and then I called. Talked to a very nice lady and gave her the URL. She said she’d tell your friend the dentist about it.

    Since there was no comment last time I looked, I’m thinking that she couldn’t find it. I should have asked for an email addy and then sent a link, I guess.

  10. 10 Eric Nielson June 30, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks Mogget. Very thoughtful of you.

    Perhaps they read it but did not comment.

  11. 11 annegb July 4, 2006 at 11:56 am

    I check in regularly, but don’t comment. Life is so hectic. I bet a lot of people do the same.

  12. 13 annegb July 5, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Eric,I re-read your post. That is a really good explanation and exploration of blogging. My sentiments exactly.

  13. 14 Stephen July 7, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    Life is hectic, isn’t it.

    Good start, I’m looking forward to your working more with the theme.

  14. 15 Connor Boyack July 12, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    Interesting post, I agree with your sentiments on solo blogs. The good ones are far and few between. I know on mine, I’ll post a slew of political ones, then shift to religious themes then some mixing, and then throw in a post from left field about nothing (such as my post yesterday on my latest music preferences).

    But as you point out, this becomes more of a social interaction between the solo blogger and his/her readers. People get to know me better through my variety of topics and posts. I am not 100% political all day long, nor am I always thinking about religious things. The variety of themes shows what I’m thinking about on a daily basis, and thus represents me (a solo blogger) more accurately.

  15. 16 Eric Nielson July 14, 2006 at 8:35 am

    Thanks Conner.

    Have you thought about seperate blogs for different subjects?

  16. 17 Connor Boyack July 28, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    I’ve thought about it, yes. But I’d prefer to not have to manage more than one personal blog, and as I mentioned, the cornucopia of topics allows people to see what all is going on inside my head, therefore the single blog is representative of me as a whole. Well, at least pertaining to things that I’m okay with the world at large knowing about me.. :)


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