Fresh & New(er)

discussion of issues around digital media and museums by Seb Chan

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Blogs as a ‘community strategy’

August 22nd, 2007 by Seb Chan

New Matilda has an short but interesting piece by Kevin Anderson, blogs editor at The Guardian. In the article he stresses that blogging is about generating and engaging the community, not just a new means of publishing. Rather than see blogging as a threat to traditional publishing, it should be viewed as a new strategy for engaging audiences and readers.

This has strong resonances with experiences of museum blogging. Blogs aren’t replacing traditional forms of official communication, but they are engaging audiences in new and effective ways.

Neil McIntosh and Jack Schofield launched The Guardian’s first blog in 2001, realising it was better to be part of the conversation than listen to it from a lofty perch. The Guardian now has blogs covering everything from currents affairs — on ‘Comment is Free’ — to sport, arts and culture, and most recently food and gardening.

But blogging is not a publishing strategy, it’s a community strategy. Being one of the world’s bloggiest newspapers has led to bloggers linking to our stories, helping us grow a grass-roots following in the United States, so that The Guardian now has more online visitors outside of the UK than inside.

One of The Guardian’s stated goals is to become the world’s leading liberal voice. And our website’s ‘Head of Communities and User Experience,’ Meg Pickard, has said that we also need to enable the world’s liberal voices.

The art of blogging is about building a community and coaxing people out from behind their keyboards.

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