Blogging and Journalism: A Reader’s Perspective

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.)

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5 thoughts on “Blogging and Journalism: A Reader’s Perspective

  1. Good take on the subject!
    I do agree, Massively took many positions- you knew the author’s positions, they each have games they like/dislike. There were “one-game” types and “multi-game”-types, sandbox/themepark fans, and so on. And they all could provide a unique perspective on some topics.

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  2. # /waves. “Hi mom!”
    *processing information* *confused*

    On the topic itself: yes, i liked a good part of Massively, although part of it really just felt like a game company news outlet. But i guess that just was necessary. So i wish the new project all the best.

    And last not least: nice Tenacious D reference. 🙂

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    • I’ll admit, my perspective is full of bias because Massively was the first site of its kind that really resonated with me. Blogging I discovered much later (actually because of Syp at Massively) and I haven’t had time to explore it fully. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much bloggers interact with one another in a constructive and community building way.

      However the aspects that I saw as strengths in Massively– being a more visible MMO journalism site that could draw together a sizeable and diverse audience– is also why it could feel impersonal or sales and marketing driven for some people. I think that’s why both coexisting is important, they really do fill different needs for the wider MMO community. One has greater opportunity of drawing people together, the other provides a framework for more intimate interactions.

      The other thing I didn’t address in the post is the strong possibility that both Massively and my experience with the community was an anomaly and not representative of the wider games media market. In which my thoughts are more anecdotal than anything else.

      I appreciate your feedback, it helps in being able to stand back and see things a little more objectively when I’m reminded that not everyone’s experience mirrors my own.

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      • On the contrast, i mostly disregarded Massively before i became a frequent reader of Bio Break. When visiting Massively the “normal” way, it just looked like a long list of “new game, flashy article now, read then buy” to me. While that did not completely cover the site, it was how it presented itself. Thus i never really spent any significant time there.

        Only while following Bio Break, i came to take a closer look of the columns of Massively and started to appreciate them, while actually still mostly ignoring the frontpage.

        Also, on the point of the “common watering hole for diverse players and playstyles”, i understand your point of view and think that this might indeed be the strong point that Massively had and the restart might make good use of. On the other hand, when i think back to the comments section of Massively, reading those usually required washing my eyes afterwards, before doing anything else any more. The comments section of Massively quite often was rather toxic, while comments at most blogs are more friendly. I wonder if Massively Overpowered has the ressources and manpower spare to moderate all the comments and keep things under control, if the same hostile crowd of old Massively commenters also moves to the new place or of their toxicity will kill the place for many people.

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  3. Pingback: This week in /saved | Party Business

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