This month’s RPG Blog Carnival, hosted by Mark over at Dice Monkey, looks at the RPG blogging community:
What does the RPG Blogging Community mean to you? What are some blogs you read that you think should gain more recognition? What are your tips for being part of the community? These are all topics you can look at on your own blog as part of the carnival. Make sure to link your articles here on this post.
To me, the blogging community is a fairly nebulous idea. When I first got the notion to start Held Action, I was a passive reader of blogs via RSS feed. I skimmed, and rarely clicked through to articles to comment or browse further, unless the feed only showed excerpts. That’s still the case, for the most part, though the number of blogs I read has diminished, if only due to writer fade or broken feeds. The drawback to passive consumption via RSS is you don’t always get word that someone’s changed their feed or web host.
When I started blogging in earnest in 2009, I did all the recommended things to increase engagement. Held Action syndicated on RPGBloggers.com, and later, RPGBA.org. I made an effort to make relevant comments on other blogs, showing appreciation or asking questions. Twitter was then, and remains now, an endless firehose of fragmented thoughts that one can only glance at from time to time.
After a while, it turned out that active participation in a community, plus keeping up a regular blog, is really time- and attention-consuming. The reward for the effort was also more minimal than I would have liked, to be honest. We reach out to be reached out to in return, at least in part.
Since then, my engagement has tapered off. I still watch mailing lists like RPGBA and rpgpodcasters. I look forward to updates from blogs like Destination Unknown and its cavalcade of satellite identities and My Dice Are Older Than You because I feel like I’ve got a connection with the writers themselves, rather than only sharing an interest in role-playing games. Bonus points when they’re an actual friend like Geoff. In contrast, I glance at posts from Illuminerdy because they touch on secret history and conspiralunacy, but there’s no personal connection to the contributors.
The trend I’m seeing in my experience is that strong online relationships follow from strong real world relationships. It may be otherwise for other people, but I note a correlation between people who connect in the real world — even if once a year at GenCon or some other gathering — and continue that connection online through blogs, forums and other social media.