Wednesday 25 January 2012

Happy Birthday!

The EU blog aggregating website is 3 tomorrow. Since it was launched the number of blogs being aggregated has ballooned to 904, with over 250 posts being generated over the past week. The Euroblogosphere is definitely more vibrant than when Bloggingportal started out, and Bloggingportal is still the top aggregation site for EU blogs - I'm not aware of any others.

I've been a voluntary editor with Bloggingportal for much of the last 3 years (it's been around 2 1/2 years now) - it's only staffed by volunteer Eurobloggers, and it's very much reflected in how the site's operated. The layout and look of the website hasn't changed much, though there's been lots of discussion about changing this and adding functionality, progress has been limited by the voluntary nature of the site, the small number of editors with the magical combination of free time and technical know-how, and the problems with coming up with a way of reconciling the need for a different role structure (at least partially) to make more useful with the dependence of the site on the motivation and goodwill of sufficient editors.

That said, Bloggingportal has become a focal point in the Euroblogosphere, with the Hungarian Presidency opening the presidency up more to Bloggingportal and the Euroblogosphere in general (when we had launched a blog action against the Hungarian media law), and editor's picks being linked to by the Guardian's CiF Europe site. Perhaps unsurprisingly for bloggers, we've been most successful with doing, well, blogging stuff on Bloggingportal - the "Week in Bloggingportal" posts that summarise what's been going on in the EU according to the editor's picks, and the blogging actions (like the action over the European Citizens' Initiative) are still where there is the most editor engagement and where Bloggingportal positively interacts with the Euroblogosphere.

The scope for positive engagement with the rest of the Euroblogosphere is extremely limited, as we try to remain neutral and to separate out what we do in our blogs (and what we might want to do in common through our blogs) and what is right for Bloggingportal's independent position. (Do you think we've managed to maintain Bloggingportal as a neutral aggregation site for the Euroblogosphere?) But we've also hosted physical events (such as an event in London in December 2010), and represented Bloggingportal at other blogging events. I think these physical meetings are important, particularly given the diverse and geographically spread nature of Euroblogging (though a lot of editors tend to end up in the London-Brussels-Berlin triangle at some point), which would encourage a feeling of community that would help sustain citizen blogging and can build more connections (I agree with Mathew Lowry that specialist blogs will be a fundamental part of a Euroblogosphere, but I think that non-specialist, citizen blogs are the connective tissue between them, or should be).

So we need to be more connective: connecting more blogs and bloggers online through offering a site that provides easy access to specialist Euroblogs and that has some limited level of real world presence that provides a small social boost to those outside the Brussels Bubble. Achieving any of this to even a modest level would require a lot of changes, though, and Bloggingportal changes slowly: it's a bit surprising that the rapidly changing Euroblogosphere hasn't been able to evolve anything better so far, so maybe we can work something out.

What do you want from What would make you want to use it more?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thank you very much to you and all the other editors for sharing with us your free time!

    I have been aggregated in the portal and reading your post today I started understanding better how it works!

    For making your job easier from my side we can arrange that the portal will aggregate only from a certain label/category
    for example I have just created a label for testing, blogspot generates this feed from it:
    if the portal will aggregate this feed instead of the whole site default feed, I can do a kind of pre-editing for you. My blog is much about EU but it's not only about that, so I can provide you directly with the more EU focused content putting the "" label and then the editors pick up what's worth of. Maybe this is something you do already with other blogs!

  3. Thanks! I'll pass your comment along. It's not so much the input that is the issue though (but if you know any Euroblogs we've missed, propose them on the BP site!), but how we present them and make them accessable to people. I hope you find BP useful, and if you've any more suggestions, please let us know!