Blogging Communities: How valuable are they?

I have started to notice several blogging communities. These are essentially a blog with several contributing bloggers. Future of communities is one such blogging community. I have been following it for several weeks and here is my take on what’s good and not so good about this approach.

The Good:
1. Instant credibility: Since there are multiple and very respected bloggers (with their own blogging community), these blogs get immediate exposure to the blog readers of the individual readers themselves.

2. More frequent postings since there are several authors: One of the biggest issues with being a single blogger is getting the time to write something insightful and do it with some level of frequency. Since Future of communities has 20 bloggers, there are atleast 2-3 posts daily.

3. Single place for several (sometimes differing opinions): Tara Hunt had a good post on Where is my community, talking about the mis-alignment of the original objectives of the blog to its recent posting. I love this. The very essence of multiple bloggers in one place is the ability to get different opinions and read about both sides of the story.

The not so good:
1. Inherent conflict of individual versus group: The way this manifests itself is that the common objective of the blogging community is not always aligned with the individual bloggers interests. It becomes obvious when some of the bloggers promote their own agenda and adding really no value – they do add value in their own blogs, but that leads me to the next point.

2. Same blog posts on both their own blog and the group blog: Each of these bloggers on Future of communities has their own blog.
Some of them have been posting the same entry on their individual blog. What’s really the point of that? Well I understand that some of their own users dont visit the community blog, but still there is little value in saying the same thing multiple times in different places on the web. I can understand if it was a physical medium like a seminar or conference, but all you have to do is to link to your posting on the community blog. Done!

3. No value from the 1+1 is greater than 2: There are also no blog posts feeding of other blog posts, which creates (akin to a good movie) sub plots and bylines. Each blogger is off on their own route.

My suggestions on what do to to make it better:

1. Create a common blog manifesto – what should people write about, the main topics, the challenging questions ahead and the things that are worth talking about as group of bloggers.

2. Require “original” content of the blogging community. No cut and paste.

3. Get bloggers to build on story lines and blog posts instead of posting tangential and orthogonal information that leaves the user feeling like this is a news / blog aggregation site.

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