Belghast published a fantastic post today talking about the community of both MMO blogs and World of Warcraft blogs and the differences between the two. It wasn’t until I published my comment that I realised I had a lot to say about this subject so here goes.
Many of us have our origins in the World of Warcraft blogosphere. It was the game that projected the MMO market to a more mainstream audience and so many of us have our beginnings in this game, in MMO gaming, and in blogging. Of course, not all of us, for sure, but even those who started back with EQ, Ultima, and such will have played WoW at some point or at the very least considered doing so.
Those of us who started in WoW blogging will most likely have signed up to Blog Azeroth and met other WoW bloggers through the forums there. There’s an introduction forum to introduce yourself and your blog, so very often new bloggers will interact most with other new bloggers and then go on to check out the shared topics and various community events which get bloggers, new, old, known, and unknown alike interacting and getting to know each other.
This is all fantastic, but World of Warcraft isn’t forever and isn’t the only MMO out there and many of us drift away eventually. Some stop with MMOs, some move on to others. Some stop blogging, some switch to a more generic MMO based blog. Sadly, this is where things get a little tough. As Belghast says in his post, “…with the non-wow MMO blogosphere is ..no common point of reference that we all have… instead of immediate bonds over shared experience, what I found instead were a bunch of wholly independent personalities, not all of which were that open to new people operating in their shared space.” This is the comment that really hit home for me. Yes, I’ve been fickle with my posting since changing my blog up, and yes, I have made a few friends that I’d like to think are very open to newer bloggers and don’t mind my fleeting existence in this ‘sphere – you guys are wonderful, by the way. But there are those that (and this could well be down to my poor mental health) make me feel.. not so much unwelcome as disinteresting. They couldn’t care less if new people start blogging in these parts or not and this is, I feel at least, the issue with keeping people in this little blogosphere that we like to call a community.
As I said in my essay comment on Bel’s post, which was almost a blog post in itself, “The MMO blogosphere CAN be as communal as the WoW blogosphere. I have seen it. All it requires is a bit of inter-blog commenting, Twitter discussions, link love, whatever. But interaction is the key.”
Lots of us are great with commenting, discussing different things on Twitter, linking up to other blogs in some way or another, and of course there was the Newbie Blogger Initiative (which I just missed out on yet again this year), which is all brilliant, but I feel there is a lot we could learn from the WoW blogosphere. Remember the shared topics? Easter Egg hunts? Secret Santa blog post exchanges? Heck, I even remember a secret admirer programme a few years back for Valentine’s Day! They were all great fun and brought people together, introducing bloggers and blog readers to blogs they may not have previously known about. We need more of this, the only problem is time. And a lot of us don’t have it. I, sadly, know full well that I would start out with the best of intentions and quickly forget a post, leaving it to stagnate, so I’m not entirely sure where to go from here. However, I fully believe that something can be done. What do you think?