Every Wednesday, I'll have an essay or a feature on any topic that catches my fancy!
This isn't going to be one of those blogging-launched-my-career type of essay. John Scalzi has a lot more authority on that subject matter more than I ever could talk about. Instead, what I want to dwell on are the habits of publishers/editors/writers/critics when it comes to blogs.
First off is the question where are all the SF&F blogs. Two years ago, it was a big surprise to me that a good chunk of the speculative fiction blogs were located in Livejournal. That's not to say everyone uses Livejournal. Wordpress and Blogger are popular as well but some writers who use Wordpress typically port over their blog entries to Livejournal as well. A question I want to ask is why. The allure of MySpace for musicians, in retrospect, makes sense: one can upload/download music in that particular blog. The same logic applies to deviantART and artists. But when it comes to Livejournal, is there anything innately superior that one can't do in other blogs? Text after all seems to be the currency that publishers/editors/writers peddle and all blog support that function. Perhaps it's all the extraneous functions of Livejournal, from the Friends Page (which doubles as my RSS reader) to the conduciveness to networking of the User Info page. Or maybe because Livejournal is the current status quo of the SF&F community and getting people to migrate to other sites is more difficult than it sounds. (If there's anything disadvantageous about Livejournal, it's the new social dynamics it's created, such as disclaimers on "friending/de-friending" policies or getting angry at people that "don't friend you back".)
Personally, my blog got a sudden surge in popularity only when I started porting over my relevant posts to Livejournal. More specifically, I got the attention of Ellen Datlow (Vera Nazarian described her as "...this amazing individual knows everyone on the planet and can graciously put you in touch with -- or at least connect you to someone else who does." and that pretty much describes the reality) and events progressed from there. (So thanks Ellen!)
Of course there are other blogging networks which annoy me. MySpace and Multiply blogs are all well and good until you want to comment. Facebook on the other hand is nigh impenetrable unless you have an account in the first place. But for some people, that lack of accessibility is a good thing. The inability to comment at MySpace and Multiply unless you've registered is certainly a detriment to trolling. And as far as Facebook is concerned, your posts are private unless they're part of your network as blog entries don't really show up in Google. Perhaps one thing going for Livejournal is that these options can be tweaked (i.e. certain posts are private, registered comments are enabled, etc.). I guess it all depends on what you want the blog to do for you. If you want to use it as a vehicle to promote your books, the more public blogs are definitely the sites you want to sign up for. On the other hand, even the more private blogging networks definitely have a target demographic. For all my complaints of Facebook, it's probably a vibrant, growing community (especially along the teens).
Nowadays, an interesting development is that such blogging choices are not either-or propositions. Jay Lake for example cross-posts from his Wordpress blog to Livejournal. And a few personalities have signed up everywhere in an attempt to be accessible and reach a large demographic. Which is all well and good until you run across my problem of blogging prolifically and cross-posting becomes an actual chore (hint: problems start to crop up when you start editing your posts). Some networks have applications which make such transitions easy (i.e. Wordpress to Livejournal). Unfortunately, there is no universal blogging translator (pssst, third party companies, this can be your niche).
How about you, where can "your community" be found? And where are your blogs located? Do you agree that a good bulk of the SF&F community is in Livejournal or is that simply an unwarranted conclusion on my part?