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.
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.
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?