I have many friends in Richmond that blog (myself included, of course), and I wanted to know what they thought about blog commenters, technology, social media and community.
Rebecca Joines Schinsky
1. How do you think your experience blogging has helped create a sense of community?
I started blogging out of a desire for community. I had just moved to a new city (Richmond!) and had a lot of new friends who read, but none who were interested in the same kinds of books. An account on LibraryThing led to discovering book blogs, and that led to starting my own. Blogging introduced me to other bloggers, and eventually to readers who just happened to check out my blog. The internet gave me a very real way to connect with other people who were reading similar books and wanted to talk about them. All of a sudden, I had a community where none had existed before, people to talk with about books, and eventually about other stuff. Many of my closest offline friendships today began with blogging and social media.
2. How do commenters contribute to that community? Do they help with content?
Commenters are what transform a blog from a monologue to a conversation, and I think they’re a vital part of blogging. When I see blogs that don’t allow comments, I become less interested–I don’t want to be talked AT, I want writers to engage with me and give me the opportunity to engage and respond. Commenters at The Book Lady’s Blog have been the source of more book recommendations than I can count. Book Riot commenters drive content pretty frequently–their questions, suggestions, and alternate ways of looking at things open up ideas for me and for our contributors all the time.
3. How has social media contributed to community?
I think social media is vital for building community around a blog or website. The stuff that happens in the comments section tends to be pretty focused and topic-oriented, whereas what happens on Twitter and Facebook is more fun. It’s like hanging out at a party, chatting about whatever happens to come up. I think about social networks as a big room–it’s important to show up and be there, and to respond to people when they talk to you. Book Riot is fun and unpretentious–we want to talk to any reader who wants to talk to us. And it’s not enough to espouse that as a value; you have to practice it. We reply to people on Twitter, “like” their comments on Facebook, take the questions they ask us and turn them out to the rest of the community. Good social media indicates that you’re approachable and invites people to make themselves at home, and that’s what community is all about.
Sarah Moore Lindsey
A fellow music lover, I met Sarah on Twitter and started following her blog documenting the local music scene, Sounds of RVA. She uses Tumblr, and I wanted to know how this platform affected her interactions with others.
1. Why did you decide to put your music blog on tumblr?
I have tried many blog platforms over the years, and being unsatisfied with wordpress, Tumblr was the best choice. Tumblr had (has?) some sort of underground appeal, like the cool kids are the ones who know about it. So there’s an instant hipness involved, and I needed all the help I could get in that department.
2. What do you think tumblr offers that others don’t in terms of technology? Are there limitations?
Tumblr has the feature to re-blog, which is helpful when finding new music. I can hit reblog, write my own piece, and publish it with credit to the original poster. One thing I’m disappointed with is the history and search features. When going back to search through my posts, no posts come up when I search for tags that I know exist. So that’s frustrating.
3. What do you think of the tumblr community? How do they interact with you? Reblogs/hearts/comments/etc?
Everyone on tumblr is really friendly and open to new things. They will “heart” a post or write comments. I’ll get re-blogs of my own with comments. I will have people message me on Tumblr, sometimes with corrections. I have a ton of people I interact with on a consistent basis that are from Richmond. I have even become friends with one of my tumblr friends, brittlikesthings.
4. One of the things I love about tumblr are all the great music writers (rawkblog, Maura Johnston, etc) who regularly post about new music. Do you find new bands and new content via tumblr?
Yes! In addition to bands having their own tumblrs, I also follow a bunch of music blogs. I find too much music to keep up with, honestly. There’s a point where you can only cram in so many things for your brain to process aurally. You can also search tumblr with tags, and even though sometimes it’s inaccurate with results, I still find stuff that way.