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 ‘YourDailyNanoBlogPundit.com.”
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.