The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ask Arlee: What Do You Think of Group blogs or Team Blogs?

    
     Recently I have been involved in setting up a prototype group blog that has been suggested to a local writers group that I've been a member of for the past year.   A couple of the members have blogs that are not very active yet, but I'm the only member who has an active ongoing blog.  Since I have the more extensive blogging experience they've been asking me for some advice concerning the potential of having a group blog.  You can see my test blog as it currently stands at Writers Workshop West.

         Likewise, not too long ago, author Sharon Hamilton asked what I and my readers thought about shared or group blogs.  In the present post I will express my thoughts about this type of blogging and invite you to leave your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.

What Is a Group Blog?

          The first group blog I encountered  my early blogging days was Writers on the Move, a collective effort by several writers who present a wide range of topics.  In fact in my third month of blogging I was featured on this blog in my first guest spot.  The blog is still active with 23 contributors showing on its roster.

         Since this first encounter I've discovered many group blogging efforts and I'm sure many of you are either familiar with some or may even collaborate on a a group blog.  This type of blogging allows for diversity and greater flexibility in keeping the blog more active than just one person can do.  The pressure to produce can definitely be alleviated when a team is working cooperatively.

          A group blog starts with one primary administrator opening the blog (this is true for Blogger--perhaps others can tell how this works on other formats).   When a team has been assembled, each member is added  to that blog as an author.  All approved authors can enter into that blog account and sent up their own posts.

Disadvantages

         If the right team has been assembled I see very few disadvantages.   I set up the Blogging from A to Z Blog in October of 2011 and since then I've had the finest team of collaborators a blogger could ask for.  Several of the members are now in their second year of blog collaboration and A to Z works like a finely tuned machine as most of you who visit can attest.

         D.G. Hudson said:


Re - group blogs; I don't like them as much; too many voices in the mix. It will be interesting to see what you say about them, Lee.
Visiting a group blog can make a reader feel like they are interrupting a private party. The A to  Z blog is one exception to this. I'm not saying all group blogs tend to be that way, but many are.
For professionals (journalists, etc) I see the need, but I'm still not a fan of group blogs. Give me an individual's blog, because in a group, no one stands out...



         I can see D.G.'s concern.   I can't recall a specific blog like this that I've encountered, but I know it can happen.    This is why the blog must have a purposeful theme that is directed toward a reading audience and gets them involved.  

         Having the right team members is so important.  If some members aren't pulling their part of the weight, the blog can easily fall apart or drag down in quality content and hurt the reputation of the others.  When a blog fizzles it can be demoralizing to those who had previously been enthused about it.

Advantages

         So far I'm sold on the group blog idea.  As stated above the right team makes a world of difference.  When you've got good players the whole team wins from the standpoint of getting more exposure for themselves and their blogging efforts.  The extra posting opportunities add to ones internet presence and allow more links to the individual member sites.  

        Collaboration also builds good internet bonds.  I love the A to Z Team and we work well together.  We each have our specialties to help spread out the work.   If one of us is sick or in a inopportune fix of some type, another member will jump in and pick up the slack.   It's a good feeling to know you have online friends you can count on.

        As a writing collective we are also an idea factory.  Between our own material and the connections that allow us to gather up posts from many sources, we can keep this blog running seven days a week with minimal effort from most of us.  With so many hands available the blog almost runs itself at times.

Other Group Blogging Ideas

         One method of communication we have begun using this year for the A to Z Team is a private group blog.   Allowing us to separate our team communiques from our regular email, we can exchange thoughts and make team announcements on the private blog.

           A private group blog would be great for critique groups or others wishing to have non-public exchanges without resorting to email.   A group can do essentially the same type of communicating or work on collaborative efforts through methods like Google Docs and other similar platforms.  The private group blog allows for good ongoing communication threads.

Tell Us What You Think

          Have you tried team blogging?  What are the advantages and disadvantages that you see it group blogs?   Have you ever tried a private blog?    Can you recommend some good group blogs?

         

           

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29 comments:

  1. I think our A to Z Team works well together!
    I only follow a couple group blogs. The ones I like best are ones where I already know all of the members.
    Our private blog has worked out well. Good call on that one, Lee!

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  2. This is interesting as heck Lee, I'd never really heard about the concept of group blogs before so this is unheard of territory before, thanks for informing me about group blogs, seems quite cool to me actually.

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  3. A friend and I are going live next week with a joint blog and you have brought up a lot of good points for us to think about. Of course we each have our personal blogs which we have decided to use as our "vent" blogs and our joint blog has a theme and is directed towards a main audience and purpose. Fingers cross it goes off without a hitch!
    This came at a perfect time! Maybe a sign?

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  4. I'm part of a group blog called Scene 13, featuring authors with works coming out this year. We pick a topic every month, and each person gets a day to discuss it. What's nice is that there's also a lot of support for everyone behind the scenes.

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  5. I only follow the A to Z Blogging, I find that with my limited knowledge of computers this one is fine for me.

    Yvonne.

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  6. Not sure what a private group blog is, but it sounds very much like the Yahoo Groups some of which I have been a member of for years. You can write an email to the group address and all the members get it and reply to it, or not, as the case may be.

    As for group blogs, the only one I am aware of is A to Z.

    JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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  7. If the purpose of a blog is to advise or instruct then a group blog works well. More input, more information. But for establishing relationships, I don't think they work as well.

    I used to follow a group blog that would chose a topic and have every member give their opinion in every post. But the time I'd finished reading, any comment I might make seemed superfluous.

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  8. Alex -- I like to know at least a few members in a group, but it's a good way to get to meet others with similar interests.

    Yeamie -- If you have a topic that you share with others--like being a member of an organization--a group blog taps into a pool of knowledge.

    Dani -- Good luck with your new venture. Success works the same as an individual blog, but working as a unified effort with others.

    Sandra -- This sounds like a good concept. Do you get a lot of repetitive info conveyed since you all do the same topic?

    Yvonne -- Being a part of a group doesn't require much computer knowledge, but it's nice to have computers working well no matter what you're doing on the computer.

    Jo -- The private blog is conceptually the same as the public one except that outsiders can't read or comment on it. One member can pose a particular topic in a post and the others can respond in the comments. It works well as long as everyone keeps up with it.

    LD -- Do you mean relationships within the group itself or with readers? I can see the problem with the type of blog that you mention. Seems like too much overkill per topic.

    Lee

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  9. I like group blogs too. I belong to one aimed at writers and one that's just beginning that will be aimed at romance readers. :)

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  10. For something like this, I see strength in numbers.

    I have yet to try any sort of 'group blog' project, but certainly wouldn't be against it.

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  11. Hi Lee ... I love the A-Z Challenge and you and your hosts do wonders for us ...

    Experts have good team blogs ... and I could see it happening ... but I'd rather not. I scan read group blogs ... but I happily participate with individual blogs

    I'd rather keep my blog as it is - but I definitely could see the advantage re group blogs for writers, a business etc ... and your idea for your Host Communiques - strikes me as being very sensible ..

    Cheers Hilary

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  12. A group blog I would recommend is murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com This is a group blog by seven published mystery writers from all over the world. They write about their books of course, but also about their countries, with photos and in-depth comments. I always learn something about politics, other authors, locale. It is one of the blogs I follow and enjoy.

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  13. I think the best use of a group blog would be to be able to have new daily content, but I haven't seen one of those.

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  14. Group blogs tend to be a bit all over the place, in my experience (mind you a lot of personal blogs do too). I usually read the first few lines of a post to see if it's something I'm interested in, whereas with a blogger I know I'll be more likely to read the whole thing.

    mood

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  15. Your A to Z Blogging team is a wonderful example of a group blog! I really am not familiar with other ones, though I would be open to visiting them.

    Julie

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  16. Like with a personal blog, a group blog has to have something to interest me if I'm going to follow it. But as a contributor to one, I can say it's nice to not always be the one in the hot seat.

    (I also sort of supervise another, but at the moment we only have three writers including me. Finding writers is hard.)

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  17. Jemi -- The groups work well for what you're doing.

    Mark -- Indeed, strength in numbers is a big help.

    Hilary -- Your blog posts are so diverse and information filled they almost seem like they were compiled by a group. I can see doing something along the lines of what you do as a collaborative effort, but it would require a lot of careful organizing.

    Lover -- An international blog of that nature could be very interesting.

    Andrew -- The A to Z blog is almost like that though we do have to repeat topics often out of necessity to get the same info to new readers. I think all blogs can seem repetitive at times.

    Mood -- If there is focus on intent and theme the blogs can be more coherent. My blog is often all over the place with just me writing it.

    Julie -- We have a great team of writers at the A to Z Blog.

    Liz - If the group is eclectic with a broad base of knowledge and skills I guess the chances of having something to interest some readers all of the time is better than just one writer who some readers don't like.

    Lee

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  18. Outside of ours, I only follow two others, and I hate to say it, they are boring. The members repeat the same stuff over and over.

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  19. Well I am sort of new to the blogging scene...I am participating in the A to Z challenge...that is a group. Maybe some of the very experience writers, that have become authors would appreciate a group blog to communicate with like minds you know...so they are not wasting a lot of time visiting blogs that are hopefuls!! Ha Ha...you know what I mean?!

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  20. I belong to a group blog: EMU'S Debuts. We are all debut authors represented by the Erin MUrphy Literary Agency, and we blog about the journey from the deal to debut, which I think is an interesting theme. (I was a regular reader of the blog before I was a participant.) Centered around a common theme, I think the group blog is a great idea. Otherwise, I agree, too many voices may muddy the blog's purpose.

    --Tara Lazar

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  21. I was a member of a group blog last year -- The Writers Collection. It began with ten writers producing short essays, stories, and poems, all inspired by a word or phrase of the week. It started well, but petered out until I was the last one standing. I have a crazy urge to keep my promises (even if they keep me married to the bride from hell until she runs away - but, that's another story). I digress...

    How many words can I produce in a day? That became the problem. My writing suffered from maintaining my own blog as well as contributing to others. Fortunately, I've been able to repurpose those short stories that I wrote for TWC. They've appeared in my own blog as well as two others. In fact, they're generating good comments and followers on ReadWave.

    Thus, if anyone is offering opportunities to repurpose content, count me in. I cannot help but think that exposure is good PR for a writer struggling to be "discovered". However, I can't commit to writing more words every day.

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  22. Lee I read your comment on my comment. The remark about computers working is a wee bit unfair, my pc is alright it is CHROME that does not work properly blogger is not good on IE since Chrome completely took over. I have spent good money having my pc checked and everyone say the same, It is CHROME who want to get their act together.I have been blogging since 2006 and until recently had no problems at all.
    Yvonne.
    Ps you have had problems also so you must be as frustrated as I.

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  23. L.Diane -- Repetition can ward off regular viewing, but maybe they are trying to catch the interest of new viewers. Or people with bad memories like me.

    Sandy -- A to Z is a group of blogs in an event, but I'm talking about a group collaborating on one single blog. Welcome to blogging and the A to Z.

    Tara - The debut blog is the sort of thing a lot of writers would probably be interested in.

    Jack -- A good solid team is essential for the ongoing success of any group blog.

    Yvonne -- Still from what many have said in my comments and online there are many who like Chrome and have no problems with it. Personally I'm still sold on Chrome. I'm pretty sure that my problems are stemming from a combination of an internal computer issue and slow internet. I'm going to reformat my disc and reinstall my operating system as recommended by several. I'm also going to consider an upgrade to faster internet. We'll see what happens then. The bottom line though is the people who dislike Chrome have their reasons and the people who like it have their reasons as well. Have you had Chrome uninstalled so that you only use IE? I tried that for a while and it didn't really change things that much--my reason for believing that it is my computer and internet service.

    Lee

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  24. It's actually something I've wanted to try in the past but have never really found the right group or topic to jump into. I'm attracted by the idea of not holding a blog up with my own two little hands, but at the same time, keeping up with that outlet blogging provides me to express my thoughts on different things.

    That said, I do see D.G.'s point about one person not standing out in a team. In the team blogs I've visited, I find that this is very much the case. The question is really whether or not this is a bad thing (ha!). As long as the blog is good and you have a readership, I guess whether or not you stand out is only relevant if your motives for the blog are to do with building your own personal audience and/or driving traffic to your personal page.

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  25. I think group blogs are good as long as they have interesting content to drive people there, since they're generally less comment oriented.

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  26. Sorry so late, been a hectic week. Have you had any security problems. I was thinking about adding more writers to one of my blogs, but my administrator advised me against giving others access to the blog.

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  27. I regularly follow three groups blogs, including A to Z. Another is Writer Unboxed which is a blog with terrific and interesting writing advice and life as a writer by published and acclaimed writers. I always learn something there. The other one I just discovered is The Kill Zone by a group of mystery writers (my genre). I am less inclined to follow a group blog of unknown bloggers because it would take longer to create online relationships with the individuals.
    Jagoda
    http://www.conflicttango.com

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  28. I have not heard of group blogging before-very interesting! Stopping by as part of the A to Z Challenge. THANK YOU for hosting--looking forward to reading more!

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  29. I've always wanted to try a group blog.

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