A few tasks to complete this week, firstly to have an understanding of what blogosphere is and blogging networks and then to make contact with a member of a blogging network to see if they would benefit from facilitation services. Interestingly, before I even started to look at blogging networks, I had read that blogging has become a 'little old hat' in comparison to Facebook, Twitter or having a MySpace page, but then I also read that blogging remains one of the most effective ways to brand a business online, so there must be merit. Could this also be just part of technology, where we quickly move from one technology to another. Some of the key points that I have picked up from "bloggers" is that you need to ensure that you post regularly to your blog, post from experience, define your context, write well and use a clean design. Although there may be many more key pointers, these are a good starting point.
I think a Blogosphere is a site which lists blogs relating to a particular topic or theme, really a centralised point of reference for a particular subject. People that contribute form an online community within this network. Within the See Also section from the Wikipedia entry for Blogosphere there was a link to the New Zealand Blogosphere Tumeke!. This represents an online community which seems to concentrate on New Zealand politics and society in general. When I checked out the site it was crowded and confusing, the layout daunting and to be honest I really did not want to explore it further.
So onto the next task – finding a blogging network. I decided that I would start my search with some of the blogs that I follow to see if they were part of a wider blogging network. I follow a number of blogs associated with the hotel/tourism industry as part of my professional role in teaching hotel management, as well as my personal keen interest of hotels and travel.
Another blog that I follow is Upgrade: Travel Better. I did not know before this part of the course work that they were actually part of a wider blogging network or community called Trusted Travel Blogs. There are 25 listed blogs and they state that it is a ‘community project’ and ‘user monitored’. They state that their members “love reading and writing travel blogs and hope the keep the community fresh and clean”. They have two primary things in common:
- they're recognized for consistently high publishing standards and
- their content is not influenced by undisclosed affiliations with third parties.
Again, like the activity that we were required to do for the online forum, it is quite hard to make contact with someone…. Still working on that part for the above network.
Although I have not received a definite answer whether or not blogging networks should have a facilitator, I think it is important to remember that blogs are people’s ideas and opinions and are not necessarily the way that everyone has to think. Yet, saying that, if you are going to say something in an open forum, then you have to be ready to have your view points challenged by other members. Within some networks there may be some guidelines (similar to closed forums) of membership regulations. Over the past few weeks, I have seen that blogging networks and online forums are thriving in many different ways.