Religion Blogs: Too Many to Count
Lately I’ve been waking up with these terrible cold sweats. Reptilian reflexes bounce me out of bed and to my laptop across the room, where my fingers pull up a familiar spreadsheet. I’ve forgotten a blog! How could I leave that one out? Now I’ve got to spend half the morning revising the whole thing to account for it…
Months in the making, it is finally finished: the Social Science Research Council’s report, “The New Landscape of the Religion Blogosphere,” of which I was the lead author. It’s a somewhat cumbersome overview of blogging, academic blogging, blogs about religion, and our blogging future.
Part of the process (and hence the cold sweats) was assembling a list of nearly 100 blogs upon which the report is based. Oh, goodness, I wanted so much for everyone to feel included! We’ve already been receiving complains from deserving bloggers who were overlooked. All you bloggers out there: we come in peace.
The purpose at hand is to foster a more self-reflective, collaborative, and mutually-aware religion blogosphere. Ideally, this report will spark discussion among religion bloggers that will take their work further, while also inviting new voices from outside existing networks to join in and take part.
At The Immanent Frame today, ten (all male, unfortunately) religion writers, scholars, and bloggers discuss the report and their experiences with religion in the dirt devil of (can we still call it that?) “new media.” My favorite bit of it comes from Frederick Clarkson of Talk to Action:
First, I invite everyone to consider the possibility that blogs may be one of the greatest gifts to writing and to writers in the history of the world.
Mark Silk of Spiritual Politics also makes a fine point, a reminder that a lot of blogging doesn’t have to be altogether different from forms that came before:
Analytically, what seems to me missing from most accounts of blogging, including this one, is how much it is like serving on the editorial board of a metropolitan newspaper. (There aren’t a lot of people with that experience; I had it for a few years in Atlanta.) What an editorial writer does ranges from short, easy takes—shooting fish in a barrel—to careful, fully researched analyses of public issues. On a good editorial page, the writing ranges from sharp and light to serious and sober. And you’ve always got to feed the beast. It seems to me that what can reasonably be hoped for in the religion blogosphere is more of the carefully reported and nuanced kind of opinion writing—posts that are actually meant to convince, rather than simply snap the wet towel. A good editorial can better and much more quickly orient a reader than an extended take-out by a reporter; but too often, bloggers don’t think they’re accomplishing anything unless they act as hanging judge.
tags: lists, office, popularity, technology, writing