Not to stir this pot any more than need be, but what the hell. (*Edited for obscenity and/or profanity useage... )
With the advent of local weblog aggregators like Greensboro101 and GSOLive, and perhaps more coming, a democratization of weblogs is occuring locally - for good and perhaps bad in my opinion. While RSS (Real Simple Syndication) has been around for a while now (that's the technology that makes aggregators possible), it is just now starting to infuence the local blogosphere.
If you have a weblog with an RSS feed, and you take the time to offer that feed to an aggregator of weblog feeds, and they accept your feed, your writing will be made available to a wider audience immediately if that aggregator is widely visited by readers. So far, locally, things are going swimmingly, and that's good... but let's look ahead.
Before now, the main source of spreading the word about a weblog was the personal blogroll. For newbies, a blogroll is the list of links (mine is over there -------->) of sites a particular weblogger likes, reads, and tacitly recommends. My blogroll does not include every possible weblog out there, nor does it contain all of the weblogs I read. It contains links to weblogs that fit certain loosely defined standards, and each of them have exceptions, but... my standards are:
- Frequency of posting - I link to webloggers who work at it. To earn a spot on my roll, you will need to demonstrate a certain commitment to providing periodic content - at least every couple of days or so.
- Quality of writing - Sorry, but I'm a writing snob. You will need to demonstrate that you care enough about the English language to exhibit a basic knowledge of spelling, punctuation, sentence form, etc... If a fifth grader starts a weblog, and they write like a fifth grader AND I find their writing interesting they will earn a link here. But an adult who writes like a fifth grader will not.
- Friends, family and neighbors - If you are one of those, as defined by me, you have earned a spot with no other qualifications - except maybe for habitual bad spelling - which will negate this qualification.
- Interesting subject matter - I'm not going to link to you simply because you have figured out how to use Blogspot or similar. If your writing is innane, boring, incomprehensible, or just plain dumb (as defined by me) you should not expect a link on my weblog.
- No ulterior motives- If I sense that you are blogging for disengenuous reasons, or I think you are hiding something, or I sense you are not what/who you say you are - I have no use for you. If you are a continuous pot-stirrer who has no other redeeming qualities you will not earn a link on my blog. Self promoters fall into this category also (except politcal candidate bloggers, but even they must write like an adult).
- I agree.. or disagree with you - Either one is fine and carries equal weight. Just make a statement every once in awhile so I can apply my standard.
- Links only blogs - You know the type. All they do is link to what others say and have nothing original to add. They are a waste of bandwidth.
- Civil in tone and language - (Exception - JW - who uses profanity (*edited word) correctly) Excessively profane language demonstrates to me a lack of mastery of the English language. I can lay a person out much more completely with six carefully chosen otherwise-nice words than those who resort to single syllable profanities(*edited word).
- Writes local - If you are a local weblogger, and you write exclusively about inside-the-beltway politics - no thanks - unless you are REAL good at it. I've got enough national news sources - I want pertinent, local insights, happenings and opinions from the local bloggers I link to - but they need to adhere to some of the previous standards to earn the link.
Notice I keep saying EARN the link. That's important. At least to me. (Case on point)
So now we have aggregators that don't give a damn about my sensibilities and standards - or do they?
Greensboro101 has a few criteria now, but could Roch decide to deny a weblog's RSS feed if the author's quality of writing sucks, or if the author has never heard of a spellchecker? Will Cone's rudimentary aggregator deny a request from a local blogger if he thinks the author has ulterior motives? If the N&R aggregates weblog feeds in the future, will they ban a blogger who uses unnessesary profanity?
As I have stated before, all blogs are not equal, nor are all blogs deservant of equal access to my readers - that is why I have standards for my blogroll. As we move forward, local blog aggregator owners will have to wrestle with content standards as well. If they don't, I'll not use them because the cacophony of the aggregatation of non-deserving, mindless, pet/baby-picture-only weblogs will cause them to become just too unwieldy to be useful. If that happens, I'll just go back to utilizing my blogroll and the blogrolls of other bloggers whom I read and have earned my respect and share at least some of my standards.