I listened recently to the latest episode of the Boardgames to Go podcast, with Mark Johnson and Jeff Myers (of Gameguy Thinks), which was all about board game blogs. Obviously this is a topic that I have some interest in, and it was a great and thought provoking discussion.
From a purely egotistical point of view I was thrilled to hear my own little blog mentioned (thanks guys), but throughout the episode Mark and Jeff had some interesting discussion points that resonated with me.
The most important, and perhaps the most philosophical point of discussion was, for me, about why we read the blogs we read. There are plenty of websites and blogs around the internet covering all manner of topics. I have, over the years, meandered from blog to blog reading this and that, following a link here, or a reference there. The blogs that have stuck, the ones I go back to and make sure I keep up with, the ones I’ve added to my RSS reader, are ones that match very closely to the type of blog that Mark and Jeff talk about liking themselves - are the blogs that have a voice.
Many sites and blogs around the web, and I’m talking specifically about board game blogs here, are somewhat dispassionate, somewhat objective, seeking to provide ‘proper’ reviews or news. Personally I tend to find these blogs the least interesting, and it has little to do with the content, but far more to do with the connection I have as a reader with the voice behind the words I’m reading. More and more I am less interested in the minutia of news, or the specifics of the rules. I understand why they are written this way, I wrote the Z-Man Newsletter for three years and needed to use that style of voice myself, but I find them less interesting.
More and more I am finding myself following the blogs of those who write with a voice, who write passionately, humorously, and most importantly: personally. Similarly I also find myself reading reviews of games online and skipping from the introduction to the conclusion - missing the rules run-through, the ‘bits’ commentary, the art critique in favour of reading the opinions, the likes and dislikes, the subjective and personal over the objective and informational.
It’s not that I don’t like or appreciate the other stuff - I do. But I read the blogs I do because I like the voices of the people behind them. I’m more happy to read an anecdote or observation than I am a dyed-in-the-wool review. I suppose this is because I read blogs because I enjoy them, not because I want to find out x, y or z.
Mark and Jeff also exhorted their listeners to get out and comment more. As a blogger (if I can call myself that), I always love to read comments on my posts. Given this, why is it I so rarely comment on the many posts I read on other blogs? A part of it is that I tend to read on an RSS reader on my iPad (‘Pulp’ for those interested), so adding a comment to a post isn’t a simple click and type. But nonetheless, I thought the idea that I should comment more was a good one - something I should endeavor to do in the future.
Lastly, I found the discussion on ‘pages’ really interesting, Jeff mentioned wanting to add a ‘resources’ page to his blog - a place to list those blogs, podcasts, websites and other things that he values that is easily accessible and all together. I’ve been meaning to post about the podcasts I listen to for some time now, and have been wondering how best to add such a thing to my blog. A page for these things seems a great idea, and would allow me to have sections for podcasts, blogs, publishers and so forth. Perhaps others will find it interesting, more importantly, perhaps others will find media (whether blogs or podcasts) that they will also enjoy.
In any case, it was a great episode about a topic I find interesting - well worth checking out!