the concept of rsspect.org is very simple. it is a neat little web application that acts as a headline feed reader for a variety of blogs surrounding the african-american experience. it’s aim is to not only gain visibility to these blogs, but also empower our readers to enjoy our network of opinions.
For obvious reasons, I’m thrilled to see something like this happening. I’ve been writing about “Blogging While Brown” (a phrase which, to clarify, I did not originate), the politics of linking, whether blogrolls are hurting us, the presidential luncheon with no brown bags or brown bloggers, diversity in the blogosphere, blogroll purges, and the dearth (or diaspora) of black political blogging for a while now. Somewhere in all of that, I offered a proposal.
What I’m suggesting is blending various aspects of the two in order to establish something like the Progressive Blog Alliance for progressive bloggers of color. It’s functions could include:
* serving as a place where members have individual blogs or diaries to which they can crosspost content from their own blog
* a blogroll that members would then post on their individual blogs.
* a blogroll of members, listed by state
* aggregate RSS feeds from members.
That’s a start, but it could also encompass better communications between members, organizing realtime member events, coordinating actions on various issues, etc. Most of all in could serve as a place for new bloggers to get exposure, for established bloggers to expand their audience, and a resource for anyone who’s interested to discover blogs and bloggers they might not have come across otherwise. it might also serve as a place to continue discussing diversity, for anyone who’s interested in participating. It could serve as a place to promote stories that might not otherwise get much exposure. Ideally, it would help build a community to nurture and promote voices from our communities. It could help promote and support ideas like FuturePAC, which promotes progressive African American women for state and federal office.
That’s as far as I’m willing to speculate about the possible benefits. Will it boost anyone’s traffic? Maybe, maybe not. Will it boost anyone’s link ranking? Maybe, maybe not. And maybe those aren’t the appropriate metrics for success we should be using for something like this. Success might mean new readers for some of the participating bloggers. It might mean media exposure some participating bloggers. It might mean coordinating successful actions in or between our communities; or between our blogs. It might include establishing an advertising network via BlogAds.It might involve taking a borrowing a page from BlogHer and having a conference, or having a workshop/roundtable at YearlyKos.
All of those things are possible. But first it has to be built. Or rather, first people have to decide if it should be built.
And, because I have a tendency to repeat myself, I had more to say.
Like I said in the previous post and have said before, it’s as simple as just not continuing to look where everyone else is looking because everyone else is looking there. If we’re underrepresented in the political blogosphere, and it’s unlikely that much is going to happen to change that, then it’s time to build our own sphere, our own network, and decide for our selves what success means in that context.
I know I’ve said this before, and made a proposal that didn’t get far off the ground. That’s mainly due to recognizing my own limitations. I’m a writer, not an organizer. I’m still trying to learn how to organize myself, and dare not inflict my deficiencies in that arena on more people than I have to , if I can avoid it. The most I can do it keep talking about it, and when someone who can build it does build it, lend my support and my voice to their efforts.
Like I said before, I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I’m not an organizer or a manager. Years of experience have taught me that I don’t do either particularly well (unless I’ve got a lot of help.) So, on one hand, I was actually kind of relieved to see these two sites emerge. I’d been simultaneously toying with the idea of starting something similar and dreading the thought of managing it.
On the other hand, I’m grateful that there are people out there who could put together resources like rsspect.org and the Afrosphere, and to see more interchange and discussion between African American bloggers, and humbled that my own blog has been included in both projects. It’s good company to be in. But more than that, I think these developments bode well, not just for African American bloggers or bloggers of color, but the rest of the blogosphere.