Collaborative blog

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A collaborative blog is a type of weblog in which posts are written and published by more than one author. The majority of high profile collaborative blogs are based around a single uniting theme, such as politics or technology.

In recent years, the blogosphere has seen the emergence and growing popularity of more collaborative efforts, often set up by already established bloggers wishing to pool time and resources to both reduce the pressure of maintaining a popular website and to attract a larger readership.

However, collaborative blogs are similar to, but not the same as, web-based blog aggregators such as Planet, as the latter usually pull data from other single-user blogs to present a more constantly-updated, semi-collaborative stream of information; Planet-based aggregator sites, however, are mostly used to aggregate the blogs of individuals who happen to participate in a common project, often various free software projects. Collaborative blogs, on the other hand, tend to be a single site of post publication for members, replete with a common login system, user interface for the publication and editing of posts, and single-post comments system for other users of the blog.

Contents

Types

While every collaborative blog is unique they can usually be placed in one of two broad categories:

Invite only

An Invite Only collaborative blog is one in which a founder blogger personally selects a small group of co-bloggers, inviting them to contribute to his or her blog. The Invite Only blog typically focues on a single common interest subject - i.e. politics, legal issues or, occasionally, comedy.

For instance, in July 2003 Chris Bertram established Crooked Timber[1], a collaborative Invite Only blog frequented by such established bloggers and academics as Kieran Healy, Ted Barlow and Henry Farrell, beginning with the introductory post:

Crooked Timber is a cabal of philosophers, politicians manque, would-be journalists, sociologues, financial gurus, dilletantes [sic] and flaneurs who have assembled to bring you the benefit of their practical and theoretical wisdom on matters historical, literary, political, philosophical, economic, sociological, cultural, sporting, artistic, cinematic, musical, operatic, comedic, tragic, poetic, televisual etc. etc., all from perspectives somewhere between Guy Debord, Henry George and Dr Stephen Maturin. We hope you’ll enjoy the show.

A variation of invite only blog is one in which all bloggers on a particular topic are invited to contribute and the resultant posts are edited or curated prior to being published. Such blogs have been created by Online Media, as well as Domain Experts in entrepreneurship, data mining , and environment. Examples [2] are http://www.sas.com/blogs and Social Media Today

Open invite

Conversely, Open Invite collaborative blogs allow any user to register for a blogging account, providing instant access. Perhaps the most famous of these blogs is DailyKos, a left-wing collaborative blog founded in 2002 by Markos Moulitsas[3]. DailyKos allows bloggers the opportunity to post their opinions on the site without pre-approval of the content. Another example is LiveJournal's "communities" system, in which users join communities to read, post and comment on posts to a community; in this way, communities serve the twin purposes of collaborative blogs and Internet forums.

Open Invite collaborative blogs succeed on the basis that the community acts to weed out trolls, spammers and other troublemakers. Much like online forums, the accessible nature of the Open Invite collaborative site is protected by dedicated moderators and fellow bloggers who will act quickly to quell any signs of spamming[4].

Advantages

For bloggers

In recent years the blogosphere has seen the emergence of many new Invite Only collaborative blogs, each accepting contributions from a group of established bloggers. While it may be unfair to ascribe this trend to any particular cause it is often the case that the pressures of maintaining a popular individual blog for an extended period of time can become too great, leading the successful blogger to naturally tend towards a lower pressure collaborative effort.

One well-known example of this phenomenon can be found at Protein Wisdom, a popular blog written by conservative Jeff Goldstein. A much publicised incident in which Goldstein was harassed by University of Arizona adjunct lecturer Deborah Frisch - combined with various other real-life obligations - led Goldstein to retool Protein Wisdom as a collaborative site frequented by a number of guest posters while Goldstein partially withdrew[5].

Collaborative blogs (especially of the Open Invite variety) allow those without their own personal site (or those with poorly-trafficked sites) the opportunity to present their opinions to a much larger audience than they would typically have access.

For readers

A primary advantage for the readers of collaborative blogs is the simple fact that a collaborative effort usually make for a more regularly updated site. It is not unusual to find collaborative weblogs publishing new material 24 hours a day, allowing readers the opportunity to read new material on an almost constant basis.

Popularity

In recent years the popularity of collaborative blogs has soared. In fact, at time of writing seven of the top ten weblogs listed in N.Z. Bear's Blog Ecosystem (a popular league table of blogs based on the number of incoming links) employ collaboration of some sort[6].

In addition to the growth in traditional collaborative blogs the last two years has seen the emergence of a professional variety of collaboration - made up of either professional, paid commentators such as The Huffington Post or high profile bloggers engaged in a profit-sharing scheme (i.e. Pajamas Media).

Some web publishers have also used the collaborative blog approach to build a business model around content-centered communities. Examples are MarketingProfs and Social Media Today LLC, which has built and manages editorially independent, sponsored sites like MyVenturepad, The Customer Collective and SmartData Collective

See also

References

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