Culture11 and the Future of EO

A long time ago I learned that it was vanity to apologize for not blogging. As one longtime blogger famously said, “I hate to be the one to tell you … but we will survive. Really. With support of my family, I think I will be able to get by the next day or two without an update from ‘”

Still, I can’t help but feel guilty for running off and abandoning this blog without giving an account of what I was doing. So here is my long overdue explanation…

A few months ago I took a job as the managing editor for Culture11, a new online magazine/social network. We launched the site last Wednesday with the goal of building a community around 11 key areas of culture: arts, commerce, community, education, faith, family, ideas, leisure, media, politics, and technology.

One of the reasons we started Culture11 was to provide an online destination where cultural conservatives could reunite content and community. I believe this is the future of new media.

When I started EO (almost five years ago) my network of friends and acquaintances was limited to my neighbors, high school buddies, and my fellow Marines. Because of blogging I was able to establish regular contact with pastors, professors, lawyers, doctors, journalists, engineers, editors, stay-at-home parents, scientists, theologians, etc. While I still maintain contact with these people, the interactions now tend to occur on social networks (socnet) like Facebook and LinkedIn or on social tools like Twitter. Although I still read blogs, my contact with the bloggers now almost always occurs on a socnet; the content and camaraderie have been separated.

Part of the reason for the changes is the emphasis on RSS feeds. Five years ago I relied exclusively on my blogroll to keep up with the blogs I read; now the posts come to me and are saved in my Google Reader. This has led to a shift away from the medium (an individual blog) to the individual content (whether a post, mass email, entry on a Facebook Wall, etc.). The future of the new media, in my opinion, is moving away from personal sites toward online collectives that are focused on particular interests. (The political left has been doing this for years (see: DailyKos) but the other areas of the blogging community have been slow to follow this approach.)

One of the reasons we started Culture11 was to provide an online destination where cultural conservatives could reunite both content and community around both broad topics and niche interests. We’re still in the beta stage and working out a few bugs, both in our content and features. we also recognize that we are a long way from rivaling Facebook (though over the next few months we’ll be rolling out an number of innovative features). But we believe that we’re slightly ahead of the curve and that the future of online activity will move to “planned communities” rather than, for example, the “ghettos” that Christian bloggers have been trying to break out of for years.

However, such a project is built from the bottom-up, rather than from the top-down. Which is why I need your help to make this a reality. I hope that you’ll visit and engage in the site. Read, rate, and comment on the articles; create a profile; start and join groups; and most importantly for bloggers, cross-post your blog entries on our “Diary” section (remember to put a link to your site on the bottom so that readers will learn where they can find more).I really encourage you to make this your online “third-place” (even if its your second or third, third place).

You’ll also be able to find me there full-time. I’ll be doing all of my blogging (real blogging for a change!) on Kuo & Joe, the blog I share with Culture11’s CEO, David Kuo.

As for the future of EO, this site will also be moving toward a group content format. My friends at Biola University’s Torrey Honors Institute have generously offered to take over and refurbish this blog into an online destination for evangelicals and other Christians. How that vision is implemented is still being fleshed out, but I have the utmost faith that they will transform this site in a way that will be invaluable for the blogging community.

Finally, I want to say that I am incredibly thankful for each and every person who has ever read this blog. God has used your encouragement and friendship to help me achieve successes in my life that I never could have imagined. You are the ones that are responsible not only for giving me a career, but for helping me land the job of my dreams. I can truly never thank you enough for all you have done for me.

Rather than saying goodbye, though, I’m merely inviting you to to follow me as I move to a new neighborhood. Ironically, leaving this blog will mean that my blogging and interaction with readers will increase tremendously. I’ll be reading more, linking more, and engaging with you more than ever.

So while I hope you won’t abandon EO, I hope you’ll join in my new online home. We have a community to build. Let’s get started.

Published by

Joe Carter

Joe Carter founded Evangelical Outpost in 2005. He is the web editor for First Things and an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. A fifteen-year Marine Corps veteran, he previously served as the managing editor for the online magazine Culture11 and The East Texas Tribune. Joe has also served as the Director of Research and Rapid Response for the Mike Huckabee for President campaign and as a director of communications for both the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity and Family Research Council. He is the co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicaton.

  • Dean Peters

    I got no problem with you moving on to a social network like Content 11 …
    … I just hope they listen to you when you tell them they need to execute more thorough use-case testing.
    It works, and I know it’s in beta, but there are some frustration points that others might find deal breakers.

  • Boonton

    I happily volunteer to be a group editor!

  • Boonton

    In all fairness to Joe we will miss his often mistaken commentary. I think what Joe may end up missing is the back and forth his posts generated. Googlereader is a great tool but it still has a very impersonal aspect to it. There’s millions of posts, blogs, entries out there and you’ll have no trouble finding millions you agree with. Where, though, do you write a post and toss it out to be battle tested against a hoard of hungry commentors seeking to pounce on even the most subtle logical error lurking inside it?
    Individual blogs, like EO, are like neighborhood bars. Any stranger is free to stop by and offer his two cents but the regulars also build up followings of their own. I’ll play the conservative here and counsel him against embracing too much the idea of a ‘brand new thing’ with the result of tossing out the good in the old thing.
    Be that as it may, the bills have to get paid, the fridge needs to be filled with food and the cable company wants $$$ to keep the net and tv running so good luck to Joe at his new job….maybe he could at least troll the comments a bit from work ? :)

  • DaveD

    Honestly, 33 things was one of my favorite, and informative, things to read. I have missed it and will miss it.

  • Kevin T. Keith

    Dude, this doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility to buy each of the remaining members of Lean Left a beer. (And note that we just added another blogger – you’re falling behind the curve!)
    Congratulations on a long run at a really innovative, interesting, and successful blog. You’ve really done great things at EO. Good luck with the new venture.
    PS: What does the “11” mean?

  • Mark

    Will you do your 33 things column over there? Or maybe you can do 11 things 3 times as often to keep with the theme. If so, I’m there. I don’t know where you came up with all of that, but I always found something useful and something to make me smile.

  • Patti

    I am so with DavidD and Mark on the 33 Things!

  • Rob Ryan

    Good luck, Joe. Change is inevitable, I suppose, but I agree with Boonton; I feel like a neighborhood bar is closing its doors (or at least is under new management).

  • Joe Carter

    DaveD And do you want my initial piece to be introductory?
    Alright, alright. If you promise to follow me over to the new digs, I promise to start writing this again (starting next week). ; )
    It really was my favorite post to write each week.
    Rob Ryan I feel like a neighborhood bar is closing its doors (or at least is under new management).
    I feel the same. It’s odd not coming back to this blog every day. I got so used to seeing the same names in the comments section every day. Hopefully, a few of the regulars will come over to the new blog. Since I can do it on company time, I’ll be blogging more often–which means many more wrongheaded posts from me for people to comment on!

  • Bene Diction

    So long Joe.

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  • Larry Lord

    Well, that’s the end of that.

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  • Godcamedown

    Glad I discovered your blog, a richness of insight and information.
    Thanks EO.