Welcome to Part 2 of “Roles in the Blogosphere”. If you missed part 1 then I suggest you read it first. Not that it will help you understand part 2 any better but it counts as a page view in my stats. (Sue me, I’m a stats whore)
In part 1 we talked about the first type of blogger, the Author. It helps (at least it helps me) to thing of this as a Totem Pole. Authors are at the very top of the pole and hold a revered place. Not because of what they write (because honestly some of it is just junk) but because they do write. (and amongst the junk there are a few great blogs.)
Directly under Authors are the Librarians. Librarians are those bloggers who do not write a lot of original new content but collect others writings on a specific topic. Again, playing to my strengths here and working with what I know, two good Librarian sites out there for technology are www.mashable.com and www.ajaxian.com.
There are several good blogs I read on a daily basis that don’t create much new content but they do gather a lot of good content together in one place. I thought about calling this pattern newspapers but since I hate my local newspaper I felt it degrading to the Librarians. (Besides, when I think of Librarians I think of Marion The Librarian in The Music Man. C’mon, who can hate Shirley Jones?)
Librarians serve an important purpose for blog readers because they strap on the hip-waders and slough through the muck that is the blogosphere looking for those rare gems of insight amongst all the floaters. They harvest the gems that they find, catalog them, and present them for us. This is the first attribute of a Librarian, a librarian is a blog scavenger. A better description might be that a Librarian knows where to look for stories both good and bad.
Like Authors, Librarians always have a theme. Unlike an Author, a pure Librarian will never stray from their theme. Given the diverse writing styles and approaches of the Authors who write the content they collect, the theme is what gives the Librarian’s blog cohesion. This is the second attribute of a Librarian; a Librarian always has a theme.
In addition to collecting and cataloging the news for us, they add value to the news. Sometimes it’s in the form of an opinion. Sometimes it is in the form of an object review; Pete Cashmore does a great job of this. Sometimes the value added is that stories from disparate sources there brought together so that the reader can make a connection. Adding value to news is what separates Librarians from classes we will see farther down the Totem Pole. This is the third attribute, Librarians add value to the news they collect.
Finally a Librarian is impartial. As I touched on in the previous point, a Librarian will give you an objective look at whatever they are cataloguing. Sometimes you read a Librarian’s blog so you don’t have to check every new toy or widget out. They have done it and you trust their opinion. Other times you will read it because they don’t opine but list the values and problems with any given item. (Toy, widget, services, etc.) This is the fourth attribute of a Librarian; a Librarian is impartial.
That is all for now. Join us next time for Part 3.
Until next time,