Part of my blogging life involves signposting readers to interesting posts from other blogs, or news articles, commentaries and critiques. I like doing this – I like searching the internet for these nuggets of useful and/or interesting information. There is so much out there, and not everyone has the time to read it all (in fact I doubt if anyone has the time to read it all). This cycle of mutual commenting and sharing creates a real literary blog community, in which bloggers and readers help each other by highlighting interesting content and using that content to form new points of view.
This article by Mark Thwaite discusses this very issue, and begs the question, what are we looking for in a literary blog? And what are the functions of a literary blog? Thwaite discusses blogs that are primarily concerned with publishing and book reviews, where I also blog about writing and writing techniques. But the point he makes is about the changing nature of how we share and access information. Its difficult to write concise posts every day sometimes, and it must be even more difficult if all the posts are book reviews. So we turn to other websites, and we share their content, writing and commenting on it on our own blogs. Exactly like I’m doing now. But blogging itself has changed with the growth of social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as they allow people to share interesting content at the click of a button. No extra commentary needed.
I personally still like to use my blog to write about interesting articles I come across. I find it more pleasurable and more useful to actively comment on things, rather than simply reading them, and I hope that my posts are interesting for those who do just like to read. There’s nothing wrong with sharing a link on Twitter; I do it myself quite often. I share links to my own blog on my Twitter page (that’s @w_notebook if you’re interested…). But if I really want to engage with something, and want others to too, I will put together a longer commentary. A link in 120 characters or less is the first step to discovering something new. Reading, digesting and forming your own conclusions are the steps that logically follow.