…which blogs to read?
A couple of posts on this topic have gotten me thinking today. Beanie Baby has been posting lately on the subject of Blogging Across Boundaries – an effort to make people more aware of the tendency toward homogeneity in our blog-reading habits: in essence, we tend to read within our demographic categories. And while that may be natural, it also stifles the potential of the Internet to broaden our thinking. I’ve been mulling that over all afternoon, and then I came upon a post from Crouching Mommy, Hidden Laundry, arguing that the blogosphere is infected with a high-school politics of name-dropping. So that has left me wondering – what factors determine the blogs that you read? Do you read – and comment on and link to – the "popular" bloggers in hopes of being noticed by their legions of readers? To what extent does your blogroll reflect an increasingly narrow niche of people exactly like you?
True confessions time. When I poke around the web looking for new blogs, there are certain criteria I bear in mind aside from pure quality of writing. Here are some of the factors I consider:
- Geography: I do read blogs from Arizona and Australia (among other places), but the shameful truth is that I almost always take a second look when I find an Ontario blog, which, in almost all cases, means a Toronto blog. Yes, as I have admitted before, I’m nothing but a shameless Toronto-blogger wannabe (and I’ve got the nails to prove it!).
- Myers-Briggs Personality Type: If you leave a comment telling me that you’re an INTJ, I will immediately subscribe to you through Bloglines. There are lots of other good personalities out there (and the mommy blogosphere appears to be dominated by INFJs like myself), but I shore do love me an INTJ.
- Jane Austen References: If you’ve got ’em, I’ll be back!
- Tear-Jerkers: Everybody likes a funny post, but I’m most addicted to the blogs that make me cry.
- High-Needs Children: When someone writes honestly and movingly about parenting a quirky child, a high-needs child, or a child facing some kind of handicap, I am always riveted. But this category is a strange one. I have been lurking for awhile on some blogs by mothers of autistic boys, but I don’t feel comfortable yet poking my head out to say hi, perhaps because I don’t really know how to introduce myself. "Hi, I’m the mother of a son who probably isn’t autistic (but might be)!" Seems insensitive at best and doltish at worst.
- Irritation: There is a very small minority of blogs that I keep reading because they irritate me, but in a good way. I often disagree with what the writer is saying, but I always come away feeling enlivened and stimulated.
- Small Potatoes: I don’t bother with the really big-name bloggers (the last thing they need is more readers!), but one of my favourite blogging treats is to find a brand new blog and leave the very first comment.
- A Partially Completed Graduate Degree: Okay, so I don’t actively look for that, it’s just something that happens to be shared by a surprisingly large percentage of the bloggers I love.
So what about you? How do you decide what to read?