Bloggers generally use an informal writing style that suggests spontaneity. This seems to put some experienced writers at an advantage, while proving quite awkward to others. A good many blogs allow, even encourage, comments. So it might be said of the blogging style of writing that it is more like conversation between writer and reader.
Generally, longwinded essays usually don’t play as well in the blogosphere as do catchy blurbs; especially one with a barb in it. To bolster a point, bloggers tend to just put a link to the outside source in their copy and move on, which eliminates the need for footnotes or lengthy quotes.
Political bloggers tend to be partisan and assume the reader is familiar with the subject matter and doesn’t need a lot of background to set the stage. Although such bloggers seem to crave attention from the mainstream media, they usually write their copy as if it will be read by a regular roster of readers ... regulars, who are familiar with the views of the blog's publisher.
A visit to RVABlogs shows 288 local blogs’ posts are being grabbed out of the ether, so a reader can see the first couple of sentences of each and follow links to read any that seem worthwhile. Thus, RVABlogs, invented and maintained by Ross Catrow, is what’s known as an “aggregator.”
Of course, there are many blogs that are basically online diaries, written to be read by a small circle of friends. But this look at the blogosphere is more concerned with the aspects of it that are more ambitious and may be in the process of becoming an alternative to the mainstream media in some ways.
Any look over the listed posts at RVABlogs, these days, reveals that Richmond has become home to lots of food and drink-oriented blogs, some of which have a following. There are also blogs about refurbishing houses, comic books, music, having babies, and you-name-it. Which is all good, if you dig the esoteric.
Still, the most interesting development in this town over the last year has been the number of community news sites/neighborhood blogs that have popped up. The movement began with John Murden’s pioneering Church Hill People’s News in 2004; it became a network with the advent of RVANews, another aggregator, in 2007.
Two sources for background: Click here and here for a rear-view mirror look at this development in spreading the news by Richmond.com; click here to read John Sarvay’s comments at Buttermilk & Molasses.
Update: Click here to read Part Two in this series.