The importance of independent broadly political blogs cannot be overstated. The time invested and dedication shown by a number of devoted individuals – who strive to break news ignored or missed elsewhere, expose hypocrisy and idiocy and analyse the spin doled out to the public – is incredible. They should be cherished.
Recent months have seen something of an attempt to organise part of the blogosphere. While the content, voices and personalities of the independent bloggers is what will always matter, two initiatives are working to benefit a good number of relatively small or little known blogs. They are Orphans of Liberty and Independent Political Bloggers.
One seasoned blogger I have spoken with has correctly identified that: ‘the essence of blogging is the individuality… people will do it for their own diverse reasons and the people who are any good will not be marshalled. Readers go for the person.‘ That being so, the greatest value of Orphans of Liberty and Independent Political Bloggers is that they provide a bigger stage for independent bloggers, the opportunity for them to be supportive of each other and offer encouragement and referrals by cross linking to each other.
It is the willingness to link to each other, helping to drive traffic to each others’ content and enhancing search results in engines such as Google, that is key to increasing audience share.
Mutual cooperation is the only way to build a greater profile as independent bloggers cannot rely on the likes of the so called uberbloggers or hacks in the mainstream media to provide credit where it’s due for good or informative content or add links to excellent content. Richard North at Independent Political Bloggers hits the nail on the head:
Inexplicably, though, the independents often help the corporates out, linking freely to their parasitic clogs – who will never reciprocate – and ignoring their fellow independents. Thus does some fine writing in the independent blogosphere struggle for an audience, while the clogs prosper.
In what is a battle for survival, therefore, independents can help each other out, by favouring other independents in their links, and being extremely sparing in their links to the clogs, the claque and other parasites. Basically, the convention of reciprocation should be a guide, leaving the parasites to feed their own.
While it is easy to talk about this issue, all independent blogs have it within their gift to do something tangible help each other. For my part that effort starts this weekend.
I will be updating my blogroll to ensure it only contains good independents and those who do actually link to ‘Division 2’ blogs (done). I will also make an effort at least twice per week (hopefully more) to link to good content on blogs I’ve rarely or never linked to before to bring to your attention informative or entertaining content that is worth reading. As someone with posting rights to both multi-author blogs I will also make an effort to at least cross post to them once per week. Hopefully other independent blogs will do something similar.
It isn’t a new idea, many have done this before. But hopefully it will become part of a more concerted effort by a good number of independent bloggers to make a lasting difference and prevent themselves being subsumed by the claque and the clogs which, in order to stay in with the movers and shakers, rarely deviate from the ‘approved’ narrative.