Before I started blogging a year and a half ago, I was not a regular follower of book blogs. I encountered them now and then when I was searching for a review or information about a particular book, but that was about it. So I had no idea of the vast extent of the book blogging world, which seems to have grown exponentially in the last few years. I found it quite impressive and sometimes overwhelming. With so many voices out there, how does one decide which ones to listen to?
After experiencing this abundance for a while, and encountering some frustration at trying to get my own small voice heard, I started to wonder: is it just too much? Does every single reader have to have his or her own book blog? Are we all talking to ourselves?
It seems as though pure mathematics is a factor. Time I spend blogging is time not spend reading or commenting on other blogs. And the more I become preoccupied with articulating my own thoughts, the less attention I have for everyone else. Taken to an extreme, this means that eventually everyone would have his or her own blog bubble. If for you, blogging is just like keeping a personal reading journal, this doesn’t matter, but it does to me. I want to talk to other readers, and I hope they want to talk to me.
What’s to be done, if anything? I certainly don’t want to squash anyone’s impulse to start a blog, but I do wish there were ways to come together and create more conversation. Collective blogs are an interesting approach, since they can attract a larger audience through the power of collaboration. The Socratic Salon is a new one that has roared out of the gate this year and has wonderful discussions about all kinds of topics, as well as being a place to talk about particular titles without worrying about spoilers. Vulpes Libris is an elegant magazine-style blog run by a group of “book foxes” whose varied interests are always a joy to encounter. Shiny New Books is another online “magazine,” focusing on new releases, that offers reviews from many different bloggers in a convenient, well-organized format.
Although I enjoy being the queen of my little blog kingdom, I’m intrigued by these endeavors (and have actually written for the Socratic Salon and Shiny New Books). Of course, if everyone has to have an individual blog, and a collective blog, this is not going to solve the too-many-blogs problem. . .
How about you? Do you sometimes feel like you’re making the sound of one hand clapping? Do you have ideas about how we can get together more effectively? Or other examples of creative approaches to the problem?