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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Answers, the third!

Continuing to answer queries from Ask Me Anything! August 2011!

LCScotty asks: When are we going to have another WNY blogger meetup?

I have no idea. Next!

OK, fleshing that out a bit...I'm not sure why it is, but it seems to me that the WNY blogging community doesn't really exist anymore as such. Which isn't to say that it's completely disappeared, but it's changed in a lot of ways, some of which I don't mind, some of which bug me a little. But it's the way things are.

Five or six years ago, blogging was pretty much it in terms of "social networking" online, and community formed in ways encouraged by the nature of blogging: with bloggers linking one another. At one time, bloggers in the Buffalo-Niagara region started discovering each other's existence, and links started flying back and forth, along with discussions of stuff -- politics, issues, Buffalo sports teams, Buffalo restaurants, life in this area, and other items of general interest. And in time, there were a few events where bloggers actually came together and shared drinks, food, and talked about stuff. I attended a couple of these, and they were terrific times. (Before the first one I attended, I asked in all seriousness what I should wear to such an event, and was told by one terrific person, "If you don't wear overalls, I'm gonna cry." How could I turn that down!)

Blogging, however, subsided a lot over the next few years after that, for a number of reasons. Some bloggers lost interest in blogging; others still blogged, but a lot less frequently. And some, for whom blogging was a social outlet, moved on to other outlets that were more to their liking: MySpace, then Facebook, then Twitter. There are occasional Twitter meet-ups, that I know of, but nothing that's as wide-ranging as the old 'Bloggercons' we used to have. But then, how could they be? There is so much online Buffalo population nowadays, and it's all pretty segmented. There are people I interact with on Twitter whom I am fairly confident never ever ever look at my blog, and vice versa.

And within the "Buffalo Blogosphere" itself (or, as I used to call it, "the Buffalo Prefecture of Blogistan"), things are pretty segmented, too. Links don't get shared much at all anymore. The WNYMedia.net blogs -- quite a few of which I read regularly, because they're really good over there -- seem to mainly link either each other or larger blogs elsewhere online, and those blogs tend to remain focused fairly narrowly on a few specific topics at a time.

Coincidentally enough, I'm writing this on the heels of Christopher Smith's departure from WNYMedia.net and -- one hopes temporarily -- the Buffalo blogging community. I've been reading him just about all the time he's been blogging, and I've (almost) always enjoyed his voice. His departure came out of the blue, and after he's been active in launching new ideas like the Buffalo Cash Mob and trying to brainstorm some way of jumpstarting Buffalo as an area of innovation and entrepreneurship. I can't shake the feeling that there is some kind of "Inside Baseball" involved with his exit from WNYM, but that's none of my business, really.

So, when the next Bloggercon? I have no idea. I'd be game, but who knows?

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