On Friday, 27 May, I attended Book Blogger Con (BBC), a whole day of panels and programming for book bloggers. This is the second year this event has been held, and I was one of the lucky attendees both years even though I do not write a book blog.
Some of you may have noticed I have a lot of enthusiasm for book bloggers. I thought that in this post, instead of reporting on the doings of BBC, I would explain why bloggers are fascinating -- and, in the process, explain why BBC is such a fabulous event.
Until recently, in my other life, I did something that involved measuring what goes on on the Internet. Trying to figure out the macro level stuff -- what topics are trending, which websites or users are popular and so forth -- from all the billions of pieces of metadata. Long story short, one of my favorite research in this area is done by Morningside Analytics, a team that I consider at the forefront in measurement of large online networks.
Among Morningside's pivotal findings is that within large online communities of interest -- the total of all websites, users, etc on the internet (aka 'nodes') -- bloggers are the backbone of any community. While there will typically be all sorts of nodes making up the network -- news sites such as CNN or NY Times, YouTube and Facebook and the really popular sites that get looped into any network, etc etc -- it's the bloggers who end up defining the community. It's the bloggers who curate the community by pointing out (through linking) which content is most relevant to the community's interests.
And this happens in every community, whether it's book bloggers or environmentalists or anything. Any topic at all. Bloggers are at the center of the activity, driving new ideas, feeding the discussion.
Through the book blogging community, I've been able to experience this phenomena in action. Book bloggers are a strong and dynamic community. Which is why I find BBC so fun: it is the vibrance of the online world in the physical world. It's also the opportunity to meet the people behind the posts and vlogs and tweets, the people who are so passionate and driven that they put extraordinary energy and effort into curating top-notch blogs. Learning and mastering new technologies because they want to add a feature or capability to their sites. It's this drive that makes the book blogging community so strong. (There are many lackluster communities of interest out there. Low rates of participation. Sites using old technology and with antiquated look and feel. Dull conversations that flow like cold molasses.) Anyway, when I say book bloggers rock, this is what I mean: you really shine, among multitudes of communities on the internet. You are like a very bright shiny constellation in the darkness of space, a galaxy of life and activity. Without you, reading (not to mention book publishing) would be a much diminished space in the 21st century.