Last night, after I had turned in my entry to Blog Banter #40, I went to bed wondering about the state of the EVE blogging community. I had taken a brief break from blogging as I had become hyper-immersed in-game and needed to step back to tend to RL business.
I hate stepping away from the game and from writing, but I took solace in the fact that I would be able to keep up with current events thanks to EVE's robust meta-game. One of the reasons the EVE community in general (and the blog-o sphere in particular) is so strong is that when two or three or four of us take a break at the same time, there are still over 100 hundred blogs and EVE-related sites out there providing new content for our EVE-hungry brains.
What got me thinking last night was the arrival of TheMittani.com. and what sort of impact it would have on the Blog Pack. If you haven't seen themittani.com yet, please do go explore. It is an expertly produced source of EVE news and opinion, though as the name of the site might suggest, one that risks running afoul of editorial bias in the stories it runs.
My thought webs traveled roughly along the path of, "I wonder if Scaurus ever got around to putting up the August and September Ebees. Oh man, A Scientist's Life in EVE and Nash Kadavrr are retiring. That's two more legacy blogs on the Blog Pack stepping down. I wonder if some day this blog will become as well known as theirs. I wonder if we need the blog pack anymore, now that we have theMittani. Why go to 30 sites when you can go to one?"
I felt threatened by this thought when I had it. It was a fear that upon reflection revealed itself to be irrational.
In the end, I went to bed feeling positively encouraged about the state of the blog-o-sphere. Which was hilarious, because when I woke up this morning and starting reading over the blogs in my own particular feed, I found this at EVEOGANDA which had been inspired by this post at Malefactor.
Go ahead and read'em. I'll wait.
Now THAT'S a little spooky! One of the criticisms levied at the EVE blogosphere is that at times it resembles an echo chamber in that we all tackle the same topic at roughly the same time and that we all more or less agree with each other. It is true this happens occasionally, but the diversity of content and opinion occurring on our blogs daily pretty much renders the term "echo chamber" useless. Still, it is highly coincidental that there were at least two other bloggers thinking about this very topic over the last day or so.
There is a tendency in our community, and really in human nature, to be threatened by change. Over time we naturally settle into a comfort zone. We become comfortable because we become familiar with our environment and learn how to survive and thrive in it. Change is unfamiliar. A changing environment brings unfamiliar challenges, and even though we rise to meet those challenges time and again, their unfamiliarity makes them scary. Our greatest fears always stem from the unknown. I went to bed feeling good about the EVE meta-game landscape and my place in it, so what did I know?
First, no matter how well done themittani.com or ANY site is, it will never be enough to satisfy the appetite the EVE community has for content. I can typically read through all of the content themittani has to offer on any given day in 30 minutes or less. I can then spend another 30 minutes sifting through all of the updates on the Blog Pack, and if I'm feeling REALLY desperate for more, head over to EN24 to see if there was anything else I had missed. I regularly visit evebloggers.com, and that's just for reading. If I know I'm going to have some extended downtime, I can download Lost in Eve, Podside, and other podcasts for listening while I'm away from the computer. It sounds like a lot, but I highly doubt I'm even half as voracious as many other members of the EVE community in my search for content.
Secondly, the issue of bias is one that every editorial site will be forced to mitigate, be they an aggregator or a solo endeavor. TheMittani has it, I have it, EN24 has it. We all have it. The only sites that can avoid such bias are those sites that have no editorial component to them whatsoever and instead are merely feed dumps such as evebloggers. In the quest to understand an issue, motivated readers are going to seek multiple viewpoints from multiple sources. For editorial sites that typically only run one piece on a particular issue at a time it means your visitors will come to you for your insights, but they're going somewhere else as well.
None of this touches on the competitive aspects of producing or hosting content, or the degrees to which new bloggers will be inspired to pick up their pens by the shifting metascape. These are yet further reasons to feel confident that the number of content sources aren't going to evaporate any time soon.
I take great delight in the fellowship that writing about and discussing EVE creates. And I find sweet relief in knowing the "One Ring" we feared was coming never will.