Thinking about communities and blogs

A few people have come up to me and wondered why I share “personal” things on my blog: things like changing my job, or, more recently, having a heart attack and then having a pacemaker fitted.

Fair questions.

And, given I have a lot of time on my hands while I rest and recuperate, I thought hard about them.
I realised for myself that I view the blogosphere as:

  • a series of overlapping communities
  • communities where people are free to walk around as they please, no walls or doors anywhere
  • communities that are moderated rather than led
  • communities where conversations take place
  • conversations that are open and transparent
  • conversations that are persistent and archived and searchable
  • conversations that capture a richness of context that is hard to replicate elsewhere

And because I have that view, I don’t tend to recognise things like “content” or “flaming” or “soapbox” or “reportage” and stuff like that.

Once I see myself as part of a community, then it makes sense to behave like any member of any real community. You belong. You share things. You trust other members. You go through rites of passage together.


I’ve been astonished by the comments and reactions I’ve had while I posted about my recent medical challenges, pleasantly astonished. I’ve learnt even more about community as a result.

I’m really grateful to all of you for that learning. It is very precious. We all need to rediscover our sense of community, of shared belonging and identity, of being able to celebrate together and to mourn together, to learn together as well as to unlearn those things that hold us back.

We are only now beginning to discover the true potential of the blogosphere.

Thomas Madsen Mygdal and his team really had something when they themed reboot 8 this year as Renaissance. It was fantastic. I was privileged to be part of it, privileged to hear talented people share their thoughts and world views. [Thomas, if you read this, I hope you’re planning the next one already, and that you’re going to let us all know soon].

We need to continue to discover our true potential. And the blogosphere helps. As do events like reboot.

3 thoughts on “Thinking about communities and blogs”

  1. I think sharing at least some personal stuff is part of building the trust the Web requires if we are going to make the most of it. Since some/most of us who visit here only know you in the ether rather than the flesh. Judicious personal revelation allows us to know each other better when we don’t have the physical cues to assist.

    BTW – now you’re at BT, you may recall/unearth the story of the BT contractor who registered all the Adastral Park domain names, got sacked and kept them for a dating service … that’s a DIFFERENT Ric Hayman (though the similarities are interesting)!

  2. Hadn’t heard that one yet, but then I’ve been there less than 3 months… it’s a big place.

    Incidentally, when I lived in Calcutta, the whole family were into Regency Heyer. We’ve read the lot. And I mean we. My parents, my siblings and me.

    Our family motto was We Shall Contrive, which I believe came from the Masqueraders.

    Nice to meet another Heyer man.

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