JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

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So what shape is it?

February 6th, 2005 · 1 Comment

One of the wonders of blogging happens when others take what you have written and add another layer to it, creating a richer dimension and a beautiful collaboration.

Tim Bray referred to my post Why blog about your baby?:

I think that the Long Tail is actually a tangled mess of microcommunities and subcultures and tribes and hobbies and fanatics. Julie Leung writes about the community of mommie-bloggers that the New York Times wrote up as a big deal, but it’s really a big deal as an example of the structures out there in the tail.

In the midst of dissecting the newspaper’s bias and weaving writing together from a collection of links and thoughts, I did not make the Long Tail connection. Ted likes to say we are finding our tribe through blogging, and I certainly feel I have been finding a group. I like Tim Bray’s description too: a tangled mess of microcommunities and subcultures and tribes and hobbies and fanatics. Fanatics, certainly, we are all a bit crazy, eh?

Then Mitch Ratcliffe added further insight: I think the tail is a topology, not a curve.

It’s a topology with rolling hills and valleys of influence, where erosion and time take tolls on a site’s ranking. It’s 3D, not 2D. It’s a badlands we can get lost in, especially if we rely on a badly conceived map, yet we’re at the same stage in understanding that territory as in the time of the Catalan Atlas.

Beautiful picture of the atlas as well.

So is it Tribe? Tail? Topology? A tangled mess? Unknown territory?

The attitude expressed in the New York Times Mommy (and Me) piece was one of incredulity: why would anyone blog on tiny topics for small audiences? Why bother blogging for a few readers? What is remarkable is that being a parent has inspired so much text and that so many people seem eager to read it.

It seems we are in unknown territory. But looking at Tim Bray’s description, I can say that the fun – and friends – are in the Long Tail, where we find each other. Such informal social structures have always existed, the only thing that’s new is that now they span the globe in real-time. And in that context, what they’ll grow into is anyone’s guess.

Looking at Mitch Ratcliffe’s map, I can say that the adventures of discovery are only beginning. The joy of exploration in this new space is ours together.

I’m amazed and grateful at the riches others have given me through blogging, as rich as the illustration of the Catalan Atlas; these exchanges are only examples.

Tags: blog

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 david parmet // Feb 6, 2005 at 6:14 am

    Who knew that the simple act of parenting would get us all into the Long Tail! Remind me to thank my kids for getting me into a cool demographic!

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