Community Blogging the Metblogs Way


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Presentation given to the Blogging and Community Symposium through the University of Washington Simpson Humanities Center April 28, 2007.

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  • I’m Dylan Wilbanks. I write for Metblogs and have since 2005. I also maintain my own blog and have since 2000. I’m not exactly sure how to address this topic. It seems a little large. So I’m going to give a brief synopsis of MB, comment a bit on the kind of community we seem to foster, and then throw out some discussion topics to ruminate over so you can wow me with your big brains in question time. I could give a lot of examples here from the blog, but I’m going to skip them. If anyone wants to see them in question time, just ask.
  • Community Blogging the Metblogs Way

    1. 1. Community Blogging the Metblogs Way Dylan Wilbanks April 28, 2007
    2. 2. Metblogs: The Basics <ul><li>Started in 2003 ( by Sean Bonner </li></ul><ul><li>Expanded to other cities; Seattle added in 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>54 cities, 5 continents, 700+ bloggers </li></ul><ul><li>City captains </li></ul><ul><li>Unpaid (though there are goal-based rewards) </li></ul>
    3. 3. How A Metblog Is Formed <ul><li>Person has interest in forming local Metblog </li></ul><ul><li>They start blogging (soft launch) and recruit new bloggers </li></ul><ul><li>Who recruit new bloggers, and so on, and so on </li></ul><ul><li>Once there’s critical mass, public launch </li></ul>
    4. 4. Seattle Metblogs <ul><li>15 writers right now (8-10 normally) </li></ul><ul><li>Age range from 20 to mid-40s (median ~28) </li></ul><ul><li>~50% live in Cap Hill/Eastlake/Madison Park </li></ul><ul><li>Strive to be Seattle-centric – global memes only discussed if there’s a Seattle connection </li></ul><ul><li>Still have our own blogs </li></ul>
    5. 5. We fall into roles <ul><li>We write about what we know and love </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Zee: Movies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Samantha: Art </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ryan: Sports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kristen: Politics and culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dylan: Ranting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But we don’t have defined roles </li></ul>
    6. 6. What does the community look like? (Please tell us. We’d love to know.)
    7. 8. How do we know we even have a community? Because people are willing to take the time to say how much they hate us.
    8. 13. Discussion topics
    9. 14. YOYOW (You own your own words) <ul><li>But…with group blogs, is that still true? </li></ul><ul><li>Ownership questions </li></ul><ul><li>Mean Kids </li></ul>
    10. 15. Blogs != Forums <ul><li>Blogs are primarily two-way: Blogger writes about a topic, readers respond. </li></ul><ul><li>Forums are multi-way: Readers write, writers read, everyone responds. </li></ul><ul><li>Horses for courses </li></ul>
    11. 16. Group blogs mean the group must interact with each other. <ul><li>Seattle MB writers interact: </li></ul><ul><li>Physically </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Meetups (second Thursday, all invited) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tastings (coffee, chocolate, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>As writers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online story meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Commenting on each other’s posts </li></ul></ul>
    12. 17. How does a group blog build a good online community? <ul><li>Good ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Good writing </li></ul><ul><li>Good readers </li></ul><ul><li>Good feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Good interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Good connections -> community </li></ul><ul><li>So good community starts with good writing and ends with connections </li></ul>
    13. 18. <ul><li>Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. </li></ul><ul><li>-- E.M. Forster, Howard’s End </li></ul>
    14. 19. Links and Contacts <ul><li>Seattle Metblogs – </li></ul><ul><li>Metblogs – </li></ul><ul><li>Dylan Wilbanks – </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: wnalyd </li></ul>