This is the fourth part in a series about the early days of garden blogging, written to commemorate my four years as a garden blogger. For those just joining us, the the names of the respondents to my email questions, and links to their respective blogs, can be found at the end of this entry. Links to previous posts in this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
4. What do you think has caused the proliferation of garden blogs in the last year?
- [DW:] “I think the proliferation of gardening blogs is part of the general proliferation of the Internet and user-created content in general. I often bemoan the fact that over the course of the last century, music changed from an active pursuit, where almost everyone played an instrument to a passive pursuit where we sit and listen to what others have created. I think writing had fallen into the same trap. Today’s blogging tools, though, offer anyone who has the desire a chance to get their word out to the world.
As for garden blogging in particular, there is simply more attention being paid today to the environment and ecology. More and more people are “gardening” even if it only includes a container garden on their balcony. As this interest in the environment grows, more and more people rediscover gardening as a hobby. In many cases, these people already have an online presence, so they begin sharing their gardening stories with their readers simply as another part of their life.”
- [EBD:] “Alas, I no longer read all the garden blogs out there as regularly (compulsively) as I previously did due to all the other demands on my time. But my guess is that the number has increased as blogs become more ‘mainstream.’ “
- [IL:] “Blogging is growing exponentially, so it only makes sense that garden blogs would benefit. I think that it is turning the bend on following static websites into the business communities interest. Unfortunately this sort of makes the highly individual bloggers a little harder to find, and sort of homogenizes everything down, making portals the destinations and the lowly individual hard pressed to keep up. Remember when we were so excited to find a new garden blog? The upside is that there are wonderfully experienced gardeners and talented writers who are raising the bar on what it means to have an exceptional assortment of material to read.”
- [JZ:] “I don’t really know. If I were to posit a hypothesis, it would be that this growth is a reaction to the media meme that went around recently, indicating that ‘gardening was dead.’ Another factor may be the publication of the book Blogosphere: Best of the Blogs by Que publishing in November of 2005.”
- [MSS:] “More people outside of the circle of techies are aware of blogs now. And blog technology has become more accessible. Google’s Blogger has made it easier than ever for people to create a blog. Most of the new blogs seem to be from Blogger. Rss syndication has made it easier to keep up with a large number of blogs. (I track three times more blogs than I did when I just followed links in my sidebar.)”
- [PS:] “The proliferation of gardeners! When I drive around town here, houses are awash with flowers and flowering shrubs. It used to be plain evergreen shrubs, and once in a great while, a dinky row of tulip soldiers – five of them – under the front window. You could tell the age of a house by how much the front windows were covered by shrubs! Blah! I attribute the proliferation of gardeners to TV gardening shows. Thank you, TV, it’s one very good thing you’ve done for us :-)”
- [TG:] “Definitely the ease of blogging. At the risk of sounding insulting, any and every idiot (I don’t mean gardeners, specifically) has a blog now. It’s easier to keep a journal, to post pictures, to join forums, etc. Thank goodness the Internet is still free, for the most part, as that has allowed many of the blogging and community resources to remain competitive. Also, I think gardening is becoming cooler — especially among younger people — spurred by an interest in organics…at least, I hope so.”
- [KP:] “Of course, we’re all guessing . . . my first guess would be that a lot of gardeners got a digital camera, and then tried to find a way to justify the expense. Probably even the greater availability of high-speed internet access was a factor. But I also wonder if the creation of Garden Voices by the same firm that runs GardenWeb had something to do with it. I believe a lot of gardeners were exposed to garden blogs for the first time by reading them there. And surely after actually going to a few blogs and reading the entries, many of them thought, ‘Hey! Even I could do that!’ But we’ll never really know unless we ask. To all who are reading this: if you have started a blog about your garden (even if you also write about other things) in the last year, please state in the comments why you did so. Who, or what, inspired you? Why in the last 365 days, and not earlier? Inquiring minds want to know!”