Sunday, August 05, 2007

An Old Idea Re-Visited

It's been mentioned in the past, generally to a lukewarm reception, but something I read today made me think about bringing it up again: the group blog. I think Tammy was the first in our corner of the blogosphere to suggest this, last year (though I could be wrong), and then a little after that I floated the idea an inch or two up the ol' flagpole before dropping it again.

Why? Well, I like my own blog, and I wish there were more blogs that I could enjoy reading as much. Oh, I know there are millions of blogs out there, but most of the ones I've been to just don't cut it (with some notable exceptions). While famous peoples' blogs can be fun, it's not the same as reading the words of people you actually know. I suppose it's just an extension of that community feeling that I'm looking for.

One of the more obvious obstacles to overcome is: what would we blog about? Most of us already have blogs - even if a select few don't act like they do! - so why start another one? While I don't have a definitive answer, the topic that seems to interest all of us to some degree is movies. From what I can tell, there's a wide enough range of tastes between us to provide for some variety, both in terms of what would get covered, and the views expressed. So I guess I'm asking: if you're a frequent visitor to this site, would you be interested in participating in such an experiment? (And by participation, I mean more than simply reading.) And is there a topic more suitable than movies?

Another obstacle, of course, would be agreeing on what blogging site/software to use. I like Blogger; others swear by Word Press, and I'm sure there are probably other options. If we did this, then clearly whatever we'd use would have to provide access to multiple posters (they probably all do) and be fairly easy to use for those unfamiliar with it.

So what's the feeling? Am I barking up the wrong tree here?


cjg said...

I really like the idea of collaborative blogs. I've found, as far back as I can remember, that certain kinds of group projects work really well for me. That is, I can produce much better results than alone.

So movies would be good, except that in recent times I haven't been that capable of seeing new films. However I do have an extensive interest in animated features. Not that you'd know that talking to me.

Another type of collaborative blog that I'd like to see is fiction-based one. One where a group of people could generate stories together, or even just come up with ideas. I find my best story ideas have come from throwing ideas around and then finally running with some obscure tangent of an idea.

So, in conclusion: collaboration good, movies good, movies plus fiction better.

tammy said...

not that you didn't give me credit, but hey this is the exact same thing i suggested!

tammy said...

but yes of course i'll contribute, especially as i probably see more new releases than anyone else in our blogosphere. although i don't like spoiling my lists, so i'd have to think about a way to handle/satisfy both.

cjg said...

Tammy: I don't think that you'll be spoiling anything. Collaborative posting could turn into something quite different from individual posts. I think of a blog post plus its comments as being the "thing" rather than the post itself. Having a multi-poster blog could be like having all the common commentors add their input into the main body.

Or it could be more turn-based, with each contributor adding a "thing" (post, article, series). I think that you would find different reasons for posting in each place. I also think it is better to just start the thing and see what happens.

Peter J. said...

I'm in.

An option for the collaboration tool would be to use a Planet-style aggregator, like I set up for Planet CBC or Planet [name of company] (which exists only on the intranet).

One of the main benefits of Planet is that no one needs to switch software: it's basically a feed aggregator. It can have a common design/theme without requiring any changes to the contributor blogs; it can include only posts in specific categories; and comments are posted to the individual blog entries so it wouldn't be pulling traffic away from somewhere else.

It's also got outgoing feeds which behave the way they should: posts are re-fed with the original URLs and IDs of the contributing sites, so subscribers won't see duplicated posts if they're also subscribed to one of the contributors.

It wouldn't allow multi-author single posts like cjg suggests---sounds more like a wiki---but I kind of like it. In fact, it's what I plan to use for the next version of Grapevine, and to replace my own aggregator.

mikem said...

i'd say to consider tv series, too. one of the things i love reading (guilty pleasure) is tmz's lost recaps, where they post commentary that a group of folks make during the show. (probably gathered over MSN or IRC)

boneman8 said...

I could see myself contributing to something like this (actually adding value is something else!).

Tim said...

In for a bit.