Blogs Are Not Community

Social Gaming

I am breaking my own rules a little bit with this mornings post.  Generally speaking I sit down at the keyboard and write something fresh each morning, in the 30-45 minutes I have before I need to leave for work.  There have been times in the past when I have broken this rule due to me needing to leave for work early the next day.  Today however I feel that this topic needs a bit more care and feeding than my half awake brain can really muster.  As such I am getting started on this topic the night before my intended date of posting.  I am sure that sounds just as contorted as it did to me as I wrote it… but bear with me.

Today I spent a few minutes sifting through my Twitter list, and pruning folks who either are not active any longer, or that have never really engaged with me in the past.  I may have accidentally pruned someone that does not fall into that category in the process, and if so I will go ahead and apologize now.  If this happened and we talk regularly I will definitely want to correct that mistake.  Essentially I view the people I converse with in games and online as more than “just pixels”.  I think this is the side effect of growing up an only child, that I have a deep yearning for being people…  despite also having an introverted streak in real life.  So as I approach people, I see them as not someone from whom I can benefit… but instead a potential life long friend waiting to be discovered.

Blogs Are Not Community

This viewpoint towards social media and other gamers has caused me more than a bit of heartburn during my almost five years of blogging.  As I pruned my twitter list today, I noticed that a number of people that I thought I had made a connection with along the way no longer followed me.  There is a time that this would have absolutely devastated me, but over time I have gotten used to a sad fact of the gaming blogosphere.  While at times we think of ourselves as a community, in truth we are more like a collection of independent nation states.  While we may make occasional alliances, and share resources…  these alignments are all too temporary and fleeting.

This is not to say that I have not met some really amazing people that I will hopefully be lifelong friends with, but over the years a handful of folks I trusted ended up stabbing me in the back.  I have come to accept that unlike my guild, these are not always people that I can rely to always be there for me.  My craving this permanent connection is likely a side effect of the amazing guild I have been a part of since 2004, and the similarly amazing community that got me started in blogging in the first place.  I have given credit to Blog Azeroth and the Twisted Nether Blogcast in the past, but had this extremely nurturing community not existed, I likely would not have set down roots in the blogosphere at all.

Blog Azeroth

I’ve always enjoyed writing and found it extremely therapeutic, but the BA folks offered me support and fertile environment.  There are several truly amazing and completely selfless people out there.  I’ve talked a lot about how amazing @RowanBlaze of I Have Touched the Sky is… and I cannot highlight this fact enough.  However I have to take a moment to talk about @Fimlys of Twisted Nether Blogcast.  This man has made a career of highlighting the amazing work going on in the World of Warcraft blogging and podcasting community.  Similarly from the Blog Azeroth roots I met so many amazing people like Stop, Triz, Rev, Linedan, Llanion and so many others that I may have met initially through BA that I now associate with other things.  So these forces combined gave me a somewhat unrealistic viewpoint of what I felt being a gaming blogger was all about.

When I made the decision to leave World of Warcraft and venture off into other games, I was simply unprepared how tentative this “community” of friends I had built really was.  I joined Twitter initially as a way to hang out with other blogger types, and within a few weeks I had amassed a large group of people that I chatted back and forth with regularly.  However as soon as I stepped forth outside of the WoW Bubble I found that a good chunk of those people disappeared. Since I was posting content not related to WoW, they were simply no longer interested in me and  my non-wow discussion.  I tried to make connections within the more game-agnostic circles, but set forth with the false notion that it would be just as easy as it had been within WoW circles. 

Cold Outside

It is funny how a one game can instantly bring people together.  If you meet anyone in real life, and find out that you both play WoW… regardless of the Horde/Alliance divide…  you are pretty much instant friends.  You both share this large shared set of experiences to draw upon, and it gives you immediate common ground.  Going out into the outer reaches of the mmo landscape, was tantamount to leaving civilization behind.   I expected to find the same kind of fast friends I had experienced before, and instead had some pretty harsh reality checks.  Like I said, I go into almost every encounter with a new person open minded and entirely too trusting for my own good.  This is likely a side effect of growing up here in Oklahoma, but I generally expect the best from people.

The problem with the non-wow MMO blogosphere is that there is no common point of reference that we all have.  Sure I would imagine that most of us have WoW in common, but each of us exited that experience with a kaleidoscope of different experiences not all of which something you want to build a friendship on top of.  If you go a little further back there is likely a common thread of Everquest, however not everyone views those days with the same rose colored lenses.  So instead of immediate bonds over shared experience, what I found instead were a bunch of wholly independent personalities, not all of which were that open to new people operating in their shared space.

Lessons Learned

I had a bunch of bad experiences early on, and it has made me a bit more guarded.  I still try and be as open as I can be, but at the same time realize that I am “just pixels” to a fair number of the people I meet along the way.  This has made me cherish all the more the people I do feel genuinely care about my well being along the way.  I want to thank @Sypster for creating the Newbie Blogger Initiative and @ModeratePeril and @TRRedSkies for carrying the torch forward this year.  You three and everyone who has participated in the initiative in any way are selflessly trying to create the same kind of nurturing environment that lead me to start blogging.  The problem is, that once the initiative is over we all fail pretty miserably at keeping the ties we created going.  I’ve picked up several of the new bloggers on Twitter, but I could be doing so much more as well.

I think all of this comes down to the fact that once you leave the rather large and protective WoW-based blogging bubble… the community is somewhat flawed.  We lack a single focus, a single rallying cry to unite behind.  For a long time there has been a zeitgeist of players rushing to whatever happens to be the newest thing.  So for a short period of time, we have a rallying call, a thing everything wants to talk about.  When the magic fades from whatever shiny new toy we have, we are left again with a bunch of separate islands floating in the same stream.  I can wish things were different all I like, but I know at the end of the day I have a very few individuals that I can really count as true and long lasting friends.  Overtime I have learned to accept this and just expect folks to drift apart and forget or be forgotten.

What Was the Point?

Quite honestly… I am not really sure what I was trying to say before I started down this path.  I still find it disappointing when someone decides they no longer want to interact.  I know for example one individual who has followed and un-followed me at least a dozen times by now.  I feel like I am the same person I was the day I began blogging, or at least I am at my core.  I have always tried to be myself and be open to meeting new people, and hopefully integrating them into my own personal monkeysphere.  If you want to interact with me, and do so in a way that does not stress me out… then I want you in my sphere.   Chances are I am also going to try and adopt you into my guild family…  it is a thing I do.

This year I really want to surround myself by more positive influences, and be willing to accept that there are going to be some negative ones I need to let go of.  I cannot make everyone happy, and I am sure I will annoy the hell out of a good number of people along the way.  My hope though is somewhere between I will keep finding a lot of loyal and true friends along the way.  I also hope that by some small way I can do my part in trying to fix what is broken with our “community”.  I am not really big on making new years resolutions, but if I did make one it would be to continue staying positive and try my best to find the good in people.  Here is hoping that some folks will stick around long enough to find the good in me as well.

Factoid February

I have to credit @TheChindividual for the name, who is as a matter of fact one of this years crop of Newbie Blogger Initiative graduates.  This February I am going to do something to put more of myself out there in front of everyone freely.  During the twenty eight days this year I am going to start off each mornings post with a true factoid about myself.  @Ithato had a great idea of posting two falsehoods and one truth…  and as much as I like that, I think it defeats the purpose of baring my soul for all the world to see.  So I have a few days before this starts, and I am going to begin jotting down things… hoping by the time I need them to have all twenty eight ready to go.  Hopefully at least someone out there will get some enjoyment about my little tidbits.

35 thoughts on “Blogs Are Not Community

  1. I started my blog with the first Newbie Blogger Initiative at a time when I had stopped playing WoW and wanted to expand into other MMOs. Soon after I returned to WoW but I don’t feel like I am part of the WoW community and I agree that outside of a single game or a single guild, it is difficult to feel like you are in a community. In any case, I always enjoy reading your posts even if I am far behind as I am this week. I believe there is still value in writing for myself and hopefully, sometimes, people recognize some of their experiences in my posts as I have recognized mine in yours today.
    Kanter recently posted..A Week in an MMO Life: UldumMy Profile

  2. Bel,
    I don’t disagree with any of the concrete details you provide, but I wonder if your definition of community may have been the problem in the first place.

    I firmly believe that we are a community, but beyond the small fence that puts around us – a fence that’s easily hopped in either direction – the term doesn’t mean much.

    How well do you know all your neighbors? Other people in your community? I most of you a little bit – at least by name – and vice versa. A few of you I’ve made really close ties with and I consider my friends. Others I respect, sometimes from a distance, other times by commenting on their blogs (like I am now). Those community ties are very thin and easy to break simply by, for example, hopping to a new game, but that doesn’t lessen the fact that they are, fragile or not, ties.

    I feel like the metaphor of “Just pixels” doesn’t do the idea of another person justice (which is, of course, your point). At the same time, I know that many of the people who I know only digitally would at least notice my absence, whether or not they were affected by it. I believe the same is true for you. I really don’t think any of us have any idea how powerful and important some of our messages are. Not all of them, of course, not everything we write, but some of them, to the right person, at the right time.

    For what it’s worth, I have felt all the things you mention here. I don’t disagree with any of your points, except that a community that’s not close-knit and long-enduring is not a community.

    So when you think about the idea of community, think about it in a more real world sense. We’re all individuals pursuing vaguely similar goals in a similar digitally geographic location. That’s it. It’s just a starting point. From there, where you take it, who you meet, and how we treat each other is on each of us individually.

    Very thought provoking post! Many likes!

    Sincerely,
    Stubborn
    Stubborn recently posted..WordPress.com welcomes The Bloggess (and more!)My Profile

  3. Well, goodness. I must have missed a lot for not being on Twitter all day. Nothing quite quite like a slightly forlorn post to turn readers into commenters. And that’s a good thing. As was said, sometimes it feels like we’re shouting into a vacuum. It’s nice to know that all those hits are actually people and spambots. 😉 That’s what community can be, reassurance that we’re not alone in the universe, even if we’re not all the closest of friends. Puppy pile!
    rowan recently posted..Can We Talk?My Profile

  4. MMO Bloggers are likely like any other hobby bloggers: a bit insular. Most of us have branched out from being a single-game blog as an awful lot of those have gone under in the past decade. I can’t imagine yammering on and on for years about only one game. But then my attention span is… erm… what was I saying?

    I do rather miss being part, small though it may have been, of the overall MMO Blogosphere back in the day. The big thing is putting in the effort. Not only do you have to do the writing, the more often the better, but also make the rounds to the other blogs and post comments there.

    Suddenly Twitter came out and comments started dropping off because we could interact more frequently and way easier. I still fall short of saying you can have an actual conversation on Twitter though due to the short messages. Google+ has been a godsend in that respect.

    But as I’ve said many a time, my mood and/or self-esteem does take a hit when I spend several hours writing a blog post and get zero comments. Meanwhile I could spend 3 minutes writing a G+ post and the conversation stretches all day…

    But social media is always in motion, there’s nothing permanent about it to go back and look at later. What was I writing about 5 years ago? Have my interests changed? What were people saying then versus now? I can look at all that on my blog because it’s all MINE! But the awesome conversations or tweets? Poof into the ether.
    Talyn recently posted..McQuaid: Rise of the FallenMy Profile

  5. Hey guys, I’m just here for the group therapy.

    It’s an evolution isn’t it? We may have met in one place, but having that connection is what makes me pleased to read and interact with you all. Even if it’s things I’m not particularly interested in, there’s a voice that goes along with the writing, a person behind it, that’s the key. I went from WAR, to Rift, to PC games, to my current mix of whatever the hell I’m passionate about day-to-day, but it’s still me.

    If I didn’t have this community, your unique voices, your experiences recorded for the world to see, I would be missing out on so much. I remember before blogging was a thing and spending time on forums, but I always wrote too much. They weren’t a good place to really express everything. Blogging is a different sort of expression, one where we can be verbose, and passionate, and share with each other. Where everything we’ve become is in one place, tagged, categorized, and collected for statistics.

    There’s an amazing sidebar of blogs right here, most of us keep a blogroll to some extent. When I see someone new on those I usually add them to my Newsblur account to get a feel for them. If we wanted to be a lonely speck on the internet, our blogrolls probably wouldn’t exist. I feel those, and social media, are what ties us all together. When a blog goes dark or posts a final goodbye, people feel it. I just think we keep that bit of sadness to ourselves.
    Grimnir recently posted..Campaign ResourcesMy Profile

  6. FYI my story would’ve been less sucky if my phone didn’t autocorrect words. You get the point tho.

    1. Sucking
    2. FBI
    3. think
    4. Point
    5. I’m special
    6. We’re loosely a community of blog Creepers.
    7. I’ll be blocked from commenting soin
    8. It feels good to write posts like this and get great interaction like this.
    9.
    Scarybooster recently posted..MistakesMy Profile

  7. As bloggers we love comments. They’re like candy bars under our pillow when we’re on a diet (self reflection blog post). We are so excited to find them and eat them without thinking about our diet. Then we spend hours pissed at ourselves for breaking our diet. We might even go to the store to by kitten stuffed animals to kick in frustration. I have a lot of kitten stuffed animals Btw.

    While we’re at the store we discover other customers (bloggers) in the same mood as us. To our surprise all the kittens are gone!! You’re now brought back to 2004 waiting in a line for Beanie Babies because you refuse to pay $100 on eBay because that just proves you are depressed and need a little fuzzy bear to dry your tears. Before you can snap out of your flashback, you’ve knocked over a row of KY and you’re standing on a pool of it holding a teddy bear sacking your thumb. Yeah the cashier is looking at the FYI posters.

    My point is… Oh no, I thi K the comments above me made a better Pont and they seem less creepy. Oh Crap, it would be silly to post this comment…
    Scarybooster recently posted..MistakesMy Profile

  8. I find it the premise of this blog post a bit unusual. Why post to a blog if not for the chance to interact with others? As I say on my blog, the comments are the best part for me. I want people to come along and comment and discuss, which requires a little bit of a community.

    I think the real issue is that blogs aren’t communities by default. You still need to put some work into getting a community. Sometimes it’s a bit easier: if you are specialized into a specific area, then other people who share interest will be more likely to interact. The example in the post is the WoW blogging community. But, obviously, if you no longer share that common bond then the relationship will change, perhaps even end.

    I wrote a bit about the blog community last year: http://psychochild.org/?p=1210 I think that the MMO blogging community is a big diminished from when I started bloging over 9 years ago. Social media took over a lot of conversations, I think. I know personally I spend more time reading than commenting, so I’m not as active as I used to be. But, there’s still an interesting spark here. The fact that so many people I read on a regular basis crawled out of the woodwork to comment shows there’s still something special with the MMO bloggers. :)
    Brian ‘Psychochild’ Green recently posted..Python: PartialMatchDictMy Profile

  9. Everyone is talking about this post so I had to come to read it and… I guess I don’t really get it. Maybe I’m weird but my ‘circle of friends’ is constantly in a flux. I used to play golf a few times a week and I had friends that I played golf with. When I stopped playing we drifted apart… our interests diverged. When I was in high school I had a different circle of friends than when I was in college. That time it had a lot to do with geography.

    If you and I are playing WOW together we’re seeing each other every night. If I leave to play Planetside 2, we don’t see each other anymore and our bond starts to unravel.

    It just seems completely natural to me. Or maybe I’m just mis-reading the post.

    On blogs though, I think there’s an analog between gaming blogs and sports bars.

    If you write a blog about gaming it’s like a giant sports bar. The connection between this hockey fan and that Nascar fan is pretty weak.

    If you write a blog about MMO gaming then it’s like a sports bar that specializes in the NFL. Now everyone in there is at least a football fan, so the intensity between people is amped a bit. More people are friends OR enemies (team rivalry).

    But if your write a blog about WOW, then it’s like a sports bar devoted to the Denver Broncos. Everyone in there is pretty much on the same page. Sure there’ll be the odd person that just comes in to make trouble and cheer on the opposition, but those people are going to be shouted down by all the Broncos fans that come there to hang out.

    I don’t think it’s really limited to WOW though. It’s just that WOW is huge and has been around for a long time, so there’s a ‘critical mass’ of bloggers talking about it. If you could get half a dozen people to focus their blogging on WURM Online I think you’d get that same feeling of community between them.

    OK I’m rambling and I guess not making a point. But I can never pass up an opportunity to spew out a weird analogy….
    Pete S recently posted..A quick look at the Divinity: Original Sin alphaMy Profile

  10. Oh and one more thing (sorry!): I think us general MMO blog types actually have more in common with general game blogs than with WoW-only blogs. I would love to see more crossover between those two communities.

  11. Hey yo I heard this is where all my bloggers at!

    Belllllllll! I’m sorry you feel down about community. I’ve felt the chill that comes with switching from a WoW blog to a general MMO/game blog, but my take on it was from a totally different direction. It’s not that the general blog scene lacks community, it’s that WoW players are _freakin’ crazy_.

    Okay, not all of them obviously, but from what I see on blogs and on twitter there are a lot of WoW players who simply refuse to approach anything unless it is through the lens of WoW. And not just other games — I mean politics and music and food and everything. They are fanatics in the true sense of the word. Anything about WoW is good, anything not about WoW is bad.

    Which, like.. sure, okay, rock on, but I find it kind of weird and it means they certainly don’t have time for those of us who do not just want to talk about WoW. Forever.

    Anyway, for what it’s worth I love our blog neighborhood. I went through some of the worst times in my life late last year, and I got a ton of sweet messages from people that really helped. I think Syl is right to keep pushing for people to get on Twitter — I can think of at least two new general MMO blogs that shot up to my “must read” list in part because they engaged me on twitter and are neat people.

    Also, never check if someone unfollowed you on Twitter or any social media. Life is too short for that. 😉
    Liore recently posted..What Class Will You Insta-Level?My Profile

    • So honestly… there are times when you just lack the proper perspective. I was in fact down and stressed and bummed, but it is like today I have gotten this massive group hug from what as to be called a “community” by any sense of the word. I am supremely touched and humbled. Sometimes it takes something like this to realize just how NOT alone you really are.

      Thanks folks… I have no more cogent words than that right now :)

  12. Well I haven’t played or blogged about WoW for years and yet, here I am reading this post, feeling at home with all those familliar faces. It says something about how our bonds of connection or even friendship are more longlasting than people might think. I nodded in agreement about how the WoW blogosphere always felt much more cosy. I didn’t move forward to general MMO blogging, since I currently don’t play any games at all (apart from the Zombies, Run! app). But I always felt that way about MMO blogs when I was blogging: they didn’t feel as inviting and attractive to me. I hadn’t played or even heard of the majority of games they covered, so it really didn’t feel as if it was intended for me. It’s much easier to build a community and an interesting discussion if you’re sticking to a smaller territory imo.

    (and I used to be called Larísa and blogged at http://www.pinkpigtailinn.blogspot.com in case you’re wondering about my identity)
    Jessica recently posted..This is Not a TV-movieMy Profile

  13. Wow, people are feeling down or very cynical today. Must be the lack of sunshine.

    The blogesphere is like my neighborhood, which is a community for all practical definitions. We have neighbors who are good friends and we invite over. We have neighbors we chat with on the driveway or sidewalk and maybe give a small gift to at Christmas. We have neighbors we wave to. And there are a couple of problem neighbors that I don’t really like, but if they are away I’ll still pick up their paper or haul out their garbage cans if they ask. And I still wave to them as well.

    Community isn’t about equal commitment or 100% reciprocal arrangements or everybody being on the same page. Shared interests and a desire to interact is enough. We all have our own plans and issues and levels of comfort with others and motivations for blogging in the first place. Sometimes they overlap. Sometimes they don’t.
    Wilhelm Arcturus recently posted..In Which We Have Always Been At War With EastasiaMy Profile

  14. As the saying goes, life, and all it’s aspects, is a highway.

    When you get on a highway, you tend to flow with the group of cars around you. Some go faster, some a little slower, but you’re all relatively keeping pace. At some points, some of the cars get off the highway, and other cars get on.

    We share the journey with each other down the highway, but only for a time, and rarely permanent.

    As long as you’re not a jerk driver, everything is going to be alright. :)

  15. That’s so much for the mentions. I always feel like we could do more and bad that we don’t but it is nice to get feedback.

    I know the greater MMO community does exist out there and I think it feels a little more empty because it’s a much bigger space. This is even more true for the greater GAMING social scene. There are so many different types of games and gamers that it is almost impossible to build a cohesive “community” around these. The best part about all of this and bloggers and podcasters and listeners and readers and everyone else is that we are all different and all have out own views on things.

    If we think of it as a “universe” then we just have to look and say there is, of course, a lot of blank space out there between everyone but there are plenty of ways to fill in those gaps and make connections. And, as others have said, that’s what makes it a community.
    fimlys recently posted..TNB Live Sunday 1/19 – Eight Years in AzerothMy Profile

  16. You could say the same thing about work, a sewing circle, or a lot of other communities that are based entirely on shared interest. Once that shared interest ends, most of the time there is no community anymore.

    If you wind up finding other reasons to keep talking to some of the friends you met when that shared interest ends, then you might keep them beyond it. Otherwise there’s no reason for them to stay interested.

    (I had that happen with someone on Twitter. I started following him because he owned a local pizza business that I enjoyed hearing about. Then it closed down and he was going on endlessly about a Disney moms contest instead, and I couldn’t find a way to care in the slightest about anything he was saying. The unfollow was inevitable.)

    The WoW bloggers in this case have a single uniting interest: WoW. Trying to make a community on the basis of “not-WoW bloggers” is a much tougher task, because the interest is so vague. If I’m interested in a specific game that isn’t WoW, do I have any reason to be interested in any of those blogs, or do I go looking for a Rift specific one?

  17. This is such a true but also different experience than I’ve had. I lost a lot of WoW pals just because our politics are wildly different so I’ve gotten very used to the WoW community turning tail the moment I start talking about hard topics. I’m not someone people consider friendly, polite or cool.

    Despite all that, I have made some lifelong friends and guildmates, bloggers because we see eye to eye on something that transcends my involvement in WoW, thankfully. So in that way, I have started to find an actual community that I suspect will be around after I stop playing WoW, because there’s always new things to tackle and critique. It’s kinda odd that way but it’s made being friends with those people easier.

    Good blog post though.
    Apple Cider Mage recently posted..Fans Extend the Universe Farther than Warcraft Could DreamMy Profile

  18. @Syl – Good points! :) It’s commenting, I feel, that makes the blogosphere go round, makes it a ‘sphere’, even. Sometimes I struggle with commenting because it takes me so very long to read blogs, but I comment on 98% of the posts I read to make up for it because discussion is the whole point. :)
    Jaedia recently posted..Blogs CAN Be CommunityMy Profile

  19. Blogging is like a business card for the ego. We write stuff in a vacuum, publish it, and then other people post their words beneath our words. It always feels like a broadcast, and despite the comments section, it’s really a shout followed by murmurering. That’s why you’ll see people writing posts about other people’s posts; we don’t want to get lost in someone else’s comments. We want people to come to OUR sites, to read OUR words, to be THE broadcaster, not the murmurer.

    Communities are built on direct interaction. Blogs are great for lurking under someone’s window to learn what you can about a person before you engage them directly, but social media is the actual “community” aspect. Everyone is equal on social media. Everyone is broadcasting; everyone is responding. It’s always on. You never need to check in on a person on social media because you check in on EVERYONE, all the time. They’re always with you. Blogs just can’t provide that kind togetherness.
    Chris recently posted..Why I Don’t Write About What I PlayMy Profile

  20. @Jaedia
    Aww I’m happy you enjoy the podcast so much! :) that means a lot!

    @Bel
    In addition to my tweets, while I completely get the sentiment you express here and it’s all too true, I’m always surprised when the general MMO blogging space is called less communal. personally, the wow-centric blogosphere has been a source of too much drama and big ego for me in the past, so I was always glad I belonged to a wider crowd with different interests. it feels more equal to me there even if that equilibrium might appear less communal. but that’s not my perception – I see lots of cross-blog debates happen all the time in my personal blogosphere, passionate arguments, back-and-forths, memes etc. so in a way it’s interesting how our perceptions differ here :)

    I do enjoy events like the NBI and did my best to support it (for ex. with the poetry slam) but I’ll be honest and say that many more such regular events in the blogosphere would feel forced to me personally and I can’t usually cope with set deadlines. I like the more spontaneous hot-topic action between our blogs even if they’re much harder to track and don’t always give everyone the same chance of participation.
    but that’s really the thing about community for me, while it’s not for granted and while it doesn’t “just happen”, it absolutely does happen where bloggers put continuous effort into it and my blogroll is full of positive examples. I usually like to ask ‘what do you do for community?’ when the topic comes up because I think that’s a crucial question we need to ask ourselves every day. I have times when I feel lonely and that’s when I ask myself, what I can do? I’ve sorta accepted that for my RL too, that I need to be a maker or stirrer or organizer rather than waiting on others to do it all the time.

    We have to make our own community, our own interaction. the general MMO blogosphere is incredibly welcoming imo and forthcoming with reactions and the way disagreements are handled. I have marveled at this before. comments and pingbacks are still one of the most effective ways of facilitating blogger community and yet, so many bloggers still blog in a vacuum and hardly ever make their presence on other blogs noticed (or then only on a select few). that is of course their choice and right – but there’s no way of calling a community lackluster that you’re not partaking in regularly, is there. :) and that includes making yourself visible and writing about the kind of topics that invite debate.

    (I personally don’t mind off-topic posts but if it’s very regular, I am likely to prioritize other blogs that allow me to participate somehow.)
    Syl recently posted..The Music of Death Knight Lovestory (A Guest Post by Hugh Hancock)My Profile

  21. Great post! I know where you’re coming from and a lot of the experiences I’ve had and felt. I’ve even quit blogging because I thought I made friends that turned out only liked me for the game I played not who I was. I vowed this time around my writing was about me not what me “friends” wanted to hear.

  22. Okay so you nearly made me cry there with how spot on you are here, also being of the ex-WoW-blogger-turned-more-generic-MMO-blogger crop of the blogosphere. But that may just be because I’m feeling a little low in myself right now. Who knows. Still, you touched a nerve here and I must applaud you for that because I know it wasn’t easy for you and if you’re anything like me you probably had to close your eyes when you clicked “schedule” or “publish” on this post just to shut up the little voice telling you that nobody would care and those that did would think you’re an idiot. However, not true. This is a problem that I have noticed also and lost a lot of followers over the past few years and I have no idea why. I presume it’s because on occasion I talk about my personal problems on Twitter and all they want to see is the bright, bubbly gamer girl, so when she goes away for a while, they lose interest. Fine. That kind of person isn’t who I want to connect with anyway. Like you, I want a community and friends who share common interests so when I find people that I genuinely enjoy talking to and spending time with, I latch onto them. It is exactly why, despite being entirely disinterested in WoW at this time, rather than culling all WoW folk from my Twitter and blogroll and reader like most probably do, I’ve merely separated them. Sure, I have removed a few that I never felt a connection to but if I ever considered them a friend or interesting, then I’ve held onto them because I like them as people and think they are worth keeping around.

    The MMO blogosphere CAN be as communal as the WoW blogosphere. I have seen it. All it requires is a bit of inter-blog commenting, Twitter discussions, link love, whatever. But interaction is the key. If that’s not there, what’s the point in blogging? Surely blogging is about sharing and welcoming the new peeps? If you don’t, then as the community gets smaller and smaller, because there are people coming and going ALL THE TIME, eventually, you’ll be left alone. And that’s no fun at all.

    Even though we all play different things, we do share common interests. Battle Bards is a FANTASTIC example of this. All three are playing different games, they have different opinions, but they share this common love of music and that is a wonderful thing. I think the rest of us could learn a lot from them. Maybe we could do a few more events like Blog Azeroth put out there. Remember the easter egg hunts? Secret Santa blog swaps? Shared topics? It brings the community together and promotes blog hopping. It introduces older bloggers to newer ones and more unknown bloggers to everybody. The NBI is a fantastic way to do this, but maybe there should be a little more throughout the year? Shared topics. Anonymous love letters at Valentines, Easter egg hunts, something Midsummer related, harvesty, Halloweeny, Secret Santa post swaps, New Year posts, some kind of event to beat the January blues.. there’s lots that we could do. It’s just finding ways to bring people together, even if we are playing different games, we DO have a common interest. Each other.

    Fantastic post. *hugs*
    Jaedia recently posted..A Cheerful Sunday in EorzeaMy Profile

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