Recently Syp posted his thoughts on the relationship between blogging and journalism, a topic that has been bantered about within the blogging community since Massively was shut down and subsequently reborn as MassivelyOP. So far I’ve seen the blogger and journalist perspectives and I’d like to add a little to the discussion as a reader.
Actually, this is my second attempt; I first wrote a response to Syp in the comment section of his post. However before submitting it I tabbed out to check and see if the expression was “rub elbows” or “rub shoulders” (FYI, it’s both) and then returned to discover my response was gone. Three paragraphs of the best, most convincing exposition of my life, gone. Pulitzer winning stuff, really. It was the greatest blog in the world.
You’ll have to take my word for it.
Rather than attempt to rewrite everything as a comment on Syp’s post where it might only be read by a handful of people I decided to try again with an independent post on my own blog where it would be read by no one, save my mom.
/waves. “Hi mom!”
I am primarily a reader. I have never been a professional journalist and I only just started blogging so the vast majority of my experience is in reading what was written on Massively, interacting with other readers via the comment section, and then more recently doing the same with the MMO blogging community. From my perspective as a consumer the greatest distinction between a news site like Massively and the community of independent bloggers was Massively’s ability as a centralized source of news and opinion to unify an otherwise diverse audience.
Massively reached a wide audience because of its platform as a games media site under the Joystiq banner and owned by a well-known (albeit witless) corporation. The staff was comprised of individuals with distinct opinions and voices who were gathered under one roof to make a unified site about MMOs. As a result the readership, which was equally diverse congregated in a single virtual space as well. How we the readers would interact with one another and sort through our differences was in part determined by the team’s example.
As a reader, what I saw was a mutual respect and willingness to consider the vantage point of others amongst the Massively staff. Not everyone agreed, but everyone was given the opportunity to speak: positions were challenged, refined, and hopefully made stronger. While the commenters may not have always extend the same respect to one another a precedent was still set by the Massively crew and I think it encouraged others (myself included) to think critically and interact civilly with one another. We, the readers were provided with a relatively safe space where all kinds of MMO gamers might rub shoulders (or elbows for that matter) and be better for it.
Could that happen in an environment exclusively made up of bloggers? Possibly, but I do not think it would. While I’ve seen healthy debate and interaction between bloggers, the fact that each writer remains independent and is only voluntarily and loosely associated with other bloggers leads me to believe that the result would be a sharded MMO enthusiast community. Sure, we might interact with neighboring groups from time to time but ultimately readers would coalesce around favored personalities and largely ignore the rest.
So whether or not a blogger or even a community of bloggers could write the same number of news and opinion pieces as Massively is irrelevant to me. I enjoy reading both blogs and media outlets for many of the the same reasons Syp listed in his article but I hope that there will always be a Massively to serve as a common watering hole for diverse players and playstyles; where we can all come together and engage with one another in discourse and trollery like civilized folk.
(And by the way, I realize that this was not the greatest blog in the world. No, this was just a tribute.)