Musings on Photography

blogs, tools, community

Posted in interesting blogs, web issues, Websites by Paul Butzi on August 25, 2007


There was a time when the online photo community was centered around a few USENET newsgroups – and it’s various sub-groups. Other online photo communities formed in places like Compuserve, AOL, et al. Following on came websites like the large format photography website at,,, and a slew of others. Layered across all of those were various mailing lists.

Communities form through pretty much any technology that lets people communicate.

My favorite currently is the loose community that seems to form among/between the blogs written by various photographers. Part of the reason is that the blog format seems to encourage people to write more thoughtfully and share more from personal experience, and it seems to discourage flaming (or, at least, it seems to cut the feedback loop that causes every disagreement to turn into a rapid descent into personal insult). It’s easy to ignore voices that grate, not too hard to find voices you enjoy.

Not long ago I started using an RSS feedreader. I’m not convinced this is an improvement over reading the blogs I enjoy by viewing the blog website directly. The RSS feedreader is a great way to cut the time needed to find the blogs that have posts I haven’t read, but it also divorces the content from the comments, from the layout of the blog website – not necessarily an improvement. RSS readers are great blogreading tools but perhaps not great community building tools.

Don’t know what I’m getting at, really. Just more musings, as advertised.

5 Responses

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  1. Bryan Willman said, on August 25, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    Perhaps what you need is not a news “reader”, but a “change reporter”. A little window with a list of your favorite blogs, web sites, etc., and the one’s that have been updated since you last looked (or since some date) turn green or something.

    You could then look at each change in context, which is good for blogs and web sites with a good “what’s new” pointer, and maybe harder for web sites that buy something new in the middle of some mass of disorganized stuff.

  2. Dan said, on August 26, 2007 at 8:45 am

    I use NetNewsWire for my RSS feed reading. It has a web browser built in allowing me to open the stories I want to read in a new tab. Best of both worlds.

  3. Joe Reifer said, on August 27, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Netvibes is an elegant solution to blog aggregation without losing the look and feel of the blog and the comments. The blog simply opens in a separate window. Don’t know how I lived without it – big timesaver. – JR

  4. Lisa said, on August 27, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    I use the wizz rss plugin to firefox to read feeds – it also displays the posts in the context of the blog (including the sidebar).

  5. Dave Kosiur said, on August 28, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    OK, I’ll add my $0.02 on RSS readers. I recently came across the open-source RSS reader called Vienna. I used to use NetNewsWire Lite, but prefer Vienna because it not only lets you create new tabbed panes(built-in Web browser) with the content of an RSS article, but you can also mark articles for saving and later viewing. YOu can also choose you layout from the typical 3-paned view, a columnar view, or a “unified” view that lists content immediately below each RSS headline. All in all, it’s a very nice package (and one that’s actively supported) that’s free.

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