A few weeks ago I tossed out a question to the Web Comm staff over email: What are some blogs you like? In other words, what's Web Comm reading?
The answer: A lot. We're a diverse bunch here--developers, writers, editors, managers, administrators, and often several of those at once--and that's reflected in what we read. We're also a little goofy and zany at times (more on that later!). Dump that in an office suite, stir liberally, let stand near a computer, and you get a reading list that looks a bit like this (cue up some background music, please).
If there's one place where everyone's interests converge, it's social media. Mashable, one of the more all-encompassing social media blogs, came up a few times in the responses I received, as did Chris Brogan's blog. Because the very nature of social media is connection and convergence, most of the blogs that cover it do so in combination with one or more other topics, or from a specific perspective. It's hard to talk about social media without talking about the technology behind it or without discussing what it is that people are being social about. Some of the more tech-oriented blogs Web Comm reads--sites like TechCrunch and Web Worker Daily, both mentioned by developers--also have a heavy social media component these days. You just can't talk about communicating on the web, or the nuts and bolts of the web, without talking about social media.
There's also a whole category of blogs about higher education and the web that are popular with Web Comm. The web is the web is the web, you might say, but in higher ed, we work with different constituencies with different information needs and varying levels of technical skill and understanding, and it's helpful--and I'll admit it, at times a good reality check--to read what others in the same boat are doing and thinking about. Georgy, our managing editor, is particularly in tune with this genre of blogs, and collegewebeditor.com, .eduGuru, and Karlyn Morissette's blog are some of the places we turn to for information on trends and innovations in web marketing and communications within higher ed, and for comic relief that sometimes hit a little close to home, more than one person mentioned Tales from Redesignland.
Many of us in Web Comm would identify as journalists or recovering journalists, and even if we weren't, we'd probably follow what's going on in journalism. News organizations, in spite or perhaps because of precarious financial situations, are at the heart of many of the debates about the future of content and communications on the web. I can't start my day without a little doom and gloom from Jim Romenesko at the Poynter Institute, and for heavy thinking about where journalism is going, The Nieman Lab is not to be missed. The Columbia Journalism Review's suite of blogs, including The Kicker, offers an insightful critique of the full spectrum of journalism, and for astute media criticism from a local voice, a lot of us turn to Dan Kennedy's Media Nation (dork moment: we sat next to him at an AEJMC event in Boston in August!). Engaging blogs about the practice of journalism abound, and two of our favorites are Adam Westbrook's blog, which has a focus on multimedia, an area where we're expanding our reach, and the diverse and fascinating 10,000 Words.
You can start reading here if you've been skimming until now because you're just interested in the zany side of Web Comm. Web Comm is a state of mind, as I like to say, and a grab bag of hobbies and interests creates that state of mind. Kaitlin likes The Uniform Project. Teresa doesn't miss Neatorama (exactly what it sounds like!) or Mike Reiss's ESPN blog about the New England Patriots. Georgy and I often greet each other with, "Did you see Passive-Aggressive Notes today?" Web comics like xkcd and Cat and Girl are popular, and the list wouldn't be complete without two of my favorites, Boston.com's first-rate photojournalism showcase The Big Picture and the flashback-inducing We Have Lasers!!!!!!
But... the prize for best answer to my question goes to Mike, one of our developers, who submitted one blog, and one blog only: Upcoming Horror Movies. That, my friends, is Web Comm, and what we are reading.