Monday sees the launch of ‘bloggers’ circle’. This was an idea first developed by my old chum Matt Cain following up comments on this site. The RSA has given a small amount of money for the limited start up costs.
Bloggers’ circle is inspired by three reflections on the blogosphere:
• There are too many writers chasing too few readers. Most bloggers have only their own site as a platform. This means it is hard for them to compete with bloggers who have a mass media outlet, like a national newspaper or broadcaster. ‘Amateur’ bloggers need to collaborate to provide each other with a platform for their content.
• Bloggers are day to day scribblers but, like any writer, there are times when they feel they have hit the spot - a post that really deserves to be more widely read and discussed. But what can a blogger do to get these posts through to a wider audience than usual?
• Bloggers come in all shapes and sizes and with a million and one perspectives on the world. But blogging isn’t just self indulgent rambling. It is a particular form of expression with its own conventions and qualities. To promote their art, bloggers should be able to put aside differences of opinion and recognise what makes a great blog post. Bloggers’ circle is a way to develop and celebrate the art of the great post.
The collaborative rules of bloggers’ circle involve members submitting up to five posts a month which they think deserve wider consumption. In return members are required at least twice a month to mention and link to one of the posts recommended by their peers. To provide an extra incentive there will be a post of the month for the most cross referenced post, and there is even a cash prize for the first month.
Matt has an initial group of thirty or so bloggers signed up, including yours truly, but I know he would welcome other people. At this first stage, the task of the circle members is to make it work. Like most web-based innovations the idea is bound to metamorphose into something slightly, or even radically, different to the vision of its initial architects.
We are starting small and maybe we won’t succeed but it’s always worth having a dream. Imagine if there were hundreds or even thousands of amateur bloggers signed up so that the best content we produce gained the kind of impact and recognition that is now generally restricted to professional journalists. Also think about what impact this could have in promoting those parts of the blogosphere which are collaborative, respectful and creative.
A recent workshop with RSA Fellows provided invaluable insight into the key concerns and opportunities facing cultural education workers and employers.