What Are Blogs? Not Monologues but Conversations

Perhaps the best thing about the web, and the blogosphere in particular, is that it enables you to connect with like-minded people you might never meet otherwise.
–Kriss M. at Circle M Farm

On January 27th, 2008, Reading Circle Books will host its first group! In her wonderful invitation to our first Reading Circle, Kriss at Circle M Farm, a small, 20-acre Community Supported Agriculture homestead in southwestern Wisconsin, describes how she heard author Sandra Steingraber read from her work at a farmers’ conference, ordered a copy from the library, and reviewed it on her blog. That review led to further unexpected connections–Sandra commented on Kris’ blog, and Nicole suggested reading Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood here at Reading Circle Books.

This wasn’t something I plannedMy plan was to try to round up a group (or several) to read Timothy Tyson’s Blood Done Sign My Name, and to launch only when everything seemed properly in order. So much for plans. And welcome to Reading Circle Books.com “Beta!” ;-); it emerged naturally (um…organically?) from people reading and talking together. I think her story is a great example of how books “live” in human community and interaction. Reading Circle Books is intended to help people encounter books on those terms; to support reading and learning together.

Here at the beginning of the 21st Century, the world wide web has transformed the possibilities for this kind of thing. The internet connects us (however imperfectly) across barriers of geography, race, class, age, ability, family situation, income, education, religion, culture, and even language. The monologue of the powerful few, for good or ill, is overcome by connections among the many. With those connections come power–ordinary people like you and me are given the power (and therefore the responsibility) of participation in each others’ lives.

Lee & Sachi LeFever capture this dynamic in their short Common Craft video, “Blogs in Plain English“:

But really, the fuss is not about how blogs work – it’s what people like you do with them that matters….you build relationships with your readers and other bloggers, [who] often work together. In addition to comments, you’ll read each other’s blogs, quote each other and link your blogs together. This creates communities of bloggers that inspire and motivate each other….

Here at Reading Circle Books, I hope to inspire and motivate communities of readers and lifelong learners. As Lee & Sachi say:

So, it’s up to you – what will you do with this new power?

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