Monday, June 13, 2011

On blogging, and some renovations

I recently returned to active blogging after two years' of 'survival posting'. On my return my blog was much the same, but the world in which it lived had sure changed!* For example, there was a new tab on the 'blogger' dashboard interface called 'stats'. As google is collecting the information anyway, I see it as a good thing that they are sharing some of it with me. Very interesting. So I looked at my stats in between postings...

Eventually I found that a significant source of traffic for the Adelaide Gamer was coming from a Blogger site called "wargamesblogs". I went and had a look, to find it going under the name of 'Blogs of War', a perpetually updating list of the posting activity of a sizeable portion of the wargaming blogosphere. It has over a thousand blogs listing on its updating scroll. Treasure indeed! So I added it to my list of favoured sites and, inspired by the many wonderful blogs I had seen, returned to my dashboard page to look at what else had changed in the years of my virtual inactivity in the scene.

As far as this blog goes, some of the results of my investigations are evident in the design of this page.

Previously, I had featured links to gaming sites, and a set of static links to blogs I followed. I did it this way for a purpose, linking to sites of activity in the 'real' virtual gaming community ahead of what I saw as 'pushing' myself or other individuals. This was my way of being a wargaming community activist.

In the two years I'd been gone, the online gamer community had exploded in size, hiving off into multiple parallel communities that blogged in ever increasing numbers about more and more things they had in common. Fascinating. Something had hit critical mass and the community was now definitely maturing (I have seen the same thing happening elsewhere on the blogosphere of recent times) into something that was functionally 'new'.

Which meant my place within that community was also changing. Now, it is individuals and the links between them which are the constituent things (rather than just our shared interests), the connections are developing around all of us as individual nodes on the network, rather than as mere feeders to the 'activity sector'. We are now a part of the wargaming world, as a blogging community, as a 'player' as well as an abstract phenomena (eg. a 'market').

So, to cut a long story short (haha), I renovated the page design of this blog. I have put my profile at the top so people can see who I am. I also changed the content of my profile to reflect my blogging soul more accurately than what was there (from another age, I started this in 2004).

I elevated the scrolling 'other blogs I read' updater** to just beneath my profile, both to (1) share out the traffic that comes my way from google searches etc (I have several posts that rank fairly high on some reasonably 'popular' search expressions), and (2), make it easy for me to see and access (I find that Adelaide Gamer is becoming practically my 'home page' these days).

I inserted a small section of 'my handy links'*** between profile and blogscroll to catch those sites that fit the definition of frequent use and not a blog (even though 'blogs of war' technically is a blog).

I kept my archive available, immediately beneath the scroller.

I have kept my other collections of links (some of which are now inactive, I suspect) beneath the 'active' parts of the margin. I will have to think about what other sets and sources of information I want to include on my page before I decide what to do with them. For instance, the concept of stand alone 'pages' intrigues me, and blogger has added it as another feature to its growing palette.

What interesting times we live in!

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*The world is always changing. Here's my Adelaide Gamer Brief History of the Blogosphere.

1993 - the first Weblog (though not yet named as such), created by an I.T. student, the year the 'web' is born.
1999 - The term 'blog' is coined, 23 'blogs' in existence (?), Blogger starts.
2002 - 1 million blogs in existence.
2004 - 3 million blogs in existence, Adelaide Gamer is born.
2005 - 50+ million blogs in existence.
2007 - I notice a new wave of gamer blogs
2011 - ?

** To the old few I have added several which I have come across since discovering the Blogs of War:

The Man Cave - aussie gamer with dark ages passion.
Victoria's Boys in Red - weird and alternate wargaming genres.
Warfare and Wargaming - representative entrant for Mitch Williamson's sites (see here).
The Nothelm Chronicle - nice dark ages modeling and gaming theme.
Emporer vs Elector - well trafficked member of the imagi-nations worlds. I don't know much about it, but I like what I see happening in the background of the wargames.

***The links I include on this select list include:
Renaissance Kingdoms
Blogs of War
The Blitz

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