No personal touch
I know this is probably a very uncool and politically incorrect thing to say these days, but I am going to brave it anyway.
I have wondered why, with all the briliant people writing in the different group blogs, am I not toally enchanted with them? Like, for instance, Gamegirl advance has been around in my field for ever, but I never really did become a regular reader. I'd check it up once in a while when I was in the mood to see what they had written about games, but it was never on my absolute to-do list, like so many of the single-writer blogs out there. Then as Grand Text Auto came alone, I thought that would certainly become a hit: my kind of people, my kind of theory, and people I knew personally! But no, I still read it, but it's not like checking out if Noah has posted again on his sporadically updated kind-of blog. Which I have to admit I check more frequently than GTA!
When misbehaving.net got online, I thought at first that my annoyance with it was because I was not asked to be part of it. I am quite aware of my touch of vanity, and live in terrror of letting it take over my judgement. So for the first while I just shut up and read it, determined not to speak from my dark side. After all, there are GREAT people writing there. But after a while I discovered a few things. I had no desire to be part of the discussions - the form didn't speak to me. I did the cooperative blog thing a couple of years ago, it was great for that particular task, then it was over and I didn't feel a craving to continue a public conversation while both Jill, Hilde and I could do the same thing through linking to each other's blogs.
And that is the heart of the matter I think - why I do not really like the group blogs. I like to choose the author I like to read. When I check GTA I read Nick and Noah's posts first. When I read Terra Nova I read TL of course, Castranova, Lastowka - and the others as the topics catch my attention. But this means that I have to sort out things I don't care to read, go through the postings and seek out the ones I am curious about. This takes time and energy, and makes it a much more pleasant experience for me when I read one person's blog.
I love Anne Galloway's writing, and when I check PLSJ I don't have to search through the posts to get a fix. I know that Lisbeth will almost always post something I am interested in, I enjoy the long rambling posts of Mike and the way Dennis collects links and topics from all over the net - so I go there and get what I like: I get my fix quickly, easily and without distractions.
I think the group blogs become somehow too closed, too directed inwards, to the discussion happening there between the participants. Perhaps it is just me: That I like to feel that I address one person at the time, that I like to focus on the individual and get confused, stressed and loose interest when I have to relate to a multitude. It might also be that group blogs are getting too close to the newspapers and the journals: That the blog as a form is not really all that good for groups and the group blogs should utilise better the same techniques as online newspapers: headlines, categories, columns rather than the informal disorganised conversation-like rambling that the personal blog is so well suited for.