Follow Up Debate – Is The Blogosphere Insular?

Thanks for the responses on the discussion I started last weekend about how insular the MMO blogosphere was or not, everyone! We got a lots of responses and they were all very interesting – given the sensitivity of the topic I’m really grateful you all took the time to reply. Heck, the responses were so interesting I started writing a comment in reply to that and it turned into a bit of a mammoth response, as I found I had follow up questions to ask lots of people.

So. I figured what I’d do is post a follow up post and invite you all to continue the discussion, whether or not you replied to the original post last Saturday.

The post’s format is a bit weird, I know. I thought I’d try it though and see how it goes down. It’s basically several direct responses (think really long comment to a post) aimed at individual commenters from last week, asking them specific questions. If you’re one of those people, I’d love to hear back from you again. If you’re not one of those people, feel free to read through and if you have any thoughts on a particular point or question I’ve asked, feel free to respond to it as well! If it’s interesting but you have no idea what the nitwibble’s going on, check the original post from last week here to get up to speed.

So, hope you enjoy the discussion and it’s thought provoking. Check behind the ‘read more’ cut for my questions/responses. If it’s not your cup of tea by all means pass up on it and have a very Happy Easter!

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@Pathak – you make a lot of good points – the ideas of the effects of attention span, and potential journal studies out there on the whole topic, are particularly interesting. I wonder if there’s any way an accurate, actual conclusion can be drawn. Anyhow – as to your million platinum answer – theoretically speaking you’re right. Asking open questions is a better way to invite feedback or discussion than not asking at all, but going on from that – what if those open questions don’t result in all that much discussion happening, either in comments or the blogosphere at large? How would you encourage more, either with different strategies or improving those questions? ๐Ÿ˜‰

@Alto – I hadn’t thought of the idea that some elements of the blogosphere are in a unique position of needing to balance how much readership they have in order to ensure the content they’re providing remains effective for the readership they do have – like gold bloggers. That’s a really interesting thought – thank you!

@Doone – interesting, and I can see your point when I look at blogs vs. forum useage. Though I don’t get *why* it’s panned out that way. There is nothing to stop non-bloggers leaving their opinion on a blog post (which probably gives them just as much food for thought if not more than a forum post); forum posts and blog posts share the same emphasis. It’s not necessarily about the blogger’s intentions for writing (though that can affect the style they produce); their posts are there to either share hard information or an opinion on a topic which the reader is likely to be interested in, otherwise s/he wouldn’t be reading them – just like a forum post. It’s still a gamer talking to gamers, and the info therein is applicable to the reader regardless of their blog-status. Do you think there’s any reason for this divide despite the similatity of content, or do you think there’s a way to combine the results we see in both forum and blog useage and achieve greater interaction?

@Cold – mmm, you’re right, various subscribey type things help. Though I think some things benefit some types of blog more than others. Incidentally, we did try an email subscription list for some time, and it got nada uptake. We’re about to start playing around with google optimiser in the coming weeks but I’m less sold on email subscriptions over RSS subscriptions for MMO blogs – although there’s something to be said that non-bloggers may be less likely to go for RSS feeds than they are to check their email. Any thoughts?

@Tya – thank you for answering – that’s really useful and somehow quite calming. I think you’re right – and one of my main tasks for the Pot next week is to go back to basics and get out there on other blogs starting next week. It’s very easy to forget to do that when you’re trying to make site improvements and whatnot! Just out of curiousity – if non-bloggers read an interesting comment, do you think they often click on the hyperlink in the commenter’s name to arrive at their blog, or do you think they just keep reading the comments on the post and don’t think to click through to individual commenters’ links? (that question’s a bit clunky – let me know if I’ve not quite got my point across!)

@Bangkok bill – While I think there are ways to reach out to the playing community at large as bloggers, I’d not thought of your point – that Blizzard (and ergo other gaming companies) could also really do a better job in promoting the vocal, blogging section of their community so gamers can find them. That’s a very good point. It’s really sunk into my head and I think it’s one I may be using/coming back to at some point in the future if you don’t mind.

@Nienna – okay, that’s a really thought provoking comment you’ve written. I’ll just go with one thought for now tho. Thanks for telling us what you’d like to read more of – not only is that useful (and probably of great interest to most of the blogosphere) but I’m now wondering about ways for non-blogger readers to ‘request’ more posts around the blogosphere on topics they want to read about. For example, would you engage in a forum thread/category that basically said “tell the blogosphere what you want to read about” and that bloggers could read the ideas people leave and write posts if they fancied, and then leave a reply with a link to the post? It’d be kind of like a think-tank where readers get some of the posts they want, bloggers get some ideas for content (maybe stuff they’d not thought of) and also get to promote their blogs?

@Eric – thanks for following along – if you only read 4 WoW related blogs and we’re one of them, I feel honoured! You’ve got an interesting (and sensible) take on what motivates a non-blogger to read/follow a blog’s posts. Just out of interest, I’m guessing that when we post community-based things (kind of announcements) like new blog round ups etc your interest wanes – are you happy with a happy medium between content that engages you and content that doesn’t, or do you have a “walk away” threashold for stuff you don’t find interesting?

@Mhorgrim – You’re right; as a blogger it’s helpful to define a niche and cater for those folks – particularly if you know what you want to write about. For example, boomkins are likely to be over the moon with a balance druid blog while others are likely to go ‘meh’. But at the same time, I think it’s not essential to define a niche – it really depends on why you’re blogging, and for whom – as that answer varies from blogger to blogger, and maybe between how confident you are with what you’re doing. I’m finding your thoughts abotu forum world/blogging world interesting though – do you think they should definitely be kept seperate?

**That’s it for reponses – remember, you’re welcome to answer these questions whoever you are, I’m just aiming them directly at specific people because it relates to their individual thoughts on the topic from last week!

Til then, see you on Tuesday post Easter – have a good weekend folks!**


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