Today, Zanstorm over at Waiting for Stanley points out a tip he got from Greg at The Fourth Period about a Devils blog he didn’t know about, called 2 Man Advantage. (Follow that?) I didn’t know about it either. And on 2 Man, they have links to some New York Islanders blogs I had never heard of (like The Drive for Five and The View from Section 317).
And that is a big problem.
The hockey blogosphere feels large when I just don’t have time to read everything I want to. And there are more and more hockey blogs starting all the time. It doesn’t matter if the season is mostly over, there is plenty of hockey left, and plenty of hockey to write about. There are all kinds of ideas and styles and thoughts out there. There are more on the way.
That’s the way it should be.
But if you can’t find out about the blogs that are out there, you have no opportunity to read the good stuff. I remember a few months ago, some bloggers were talking about the lack of blogs for certain teams. They were pointing to the Phoenix Coyotes as a perfect example. But not long ago, I found out about One Fan’s Perspective, and I only found out about it thanks to a link to my blog. That there was one islanders blog (Islanders Army) was a surprise enough, but now I find out there are more and more cropping up. Did you know there is a Battle of New York blog? Heck, did you know there is a Battle of New York at all? But there is nowhere to find this stuff. James Mirtle has a big blog listing, but it isn’t enough. Only one Islanders and one Devils blogs are listed, and none for the Coyotes. Minnesota Wild? None (I have 2 in my blogroll). St. Louis Blues? One. There are new blogs cropping up all the time. Some stay, some go, but they are out there. If nobody is reading them, they will go away even faster, and writers who are just finding their voices are going to give up.
Independent hockey blogging reminds me a lot of the music industry several years ago. The power and control during the vast majority of the recording industries lifespan was controlled by a few record labels. The rich got richer, the poor got poorer, and the artists themselves were the tools of the trade. Large acts were going bankrupt while industry barons kept all the cash (sound familiar, like before there ever was an NHLPA, or the WHA came to be?). To “make it in the business,” you had to send off a cassette of your little four track demo off to the record company, hope that someone listens to it, and then hope they are in a good mood and maybe like it enough not to just blow you off. What changed the industry wasn’t iTunes, or the internet, or even indie labels. It was inexpensive recording software. All of a sudden, bands didn’t need to pony up big dollars to get into a recording studio. The bedroom studio was suddenly just as usable as the big multi-track studios. Bands could record, produce, and come up with a complete product they could sell themselves. The large record labels became less necessary, and smaller labels found a way to exist, by not having to pay as much for the recording of the music, and could focus on the promoting. iTunes, internet distribution, podcasting, all of it was made possible by putting control of the medium in the hands of the artists themselves.
Hockey writing is in the same place right now. What was once limited to the few is now in the hands of the many. The individual has power now. The medium of blogging gives that power. It allows the writer to be read by as many people as can find that writing. It’s up to the writer to get them to stick around. But getting the word out there that hockey blogging is going on is only part of the struggle. Part of it is telling the world where the good stuff is, where the new stuff is, and where the exciting stuff is happening. Finding a good blog, or a good piece of writing is not as easy as it sounds. You have to wade through a lot of noise, things that seem related but aren’t, the things that get in the way of reading the good stuff. And there is plenty of good stuff out there, and a lot of good stuff yet to be written.
Where do I have to go to find out about the hockey blogs? Google blog search? Imprecise at best. Technorati? Have you seen how many errors and issues there are with that service? Hockeyblogs.org isn’t much better. I have not been able to update my address there yet, and there are plenty of bloggers who don’t even know it exists. The closest thing you can find is other blogger’s blogrolls (those lists of blogs on the sides), but that is a tangled web to be sure.
There should be a useful place to find out about hockey blogs. Something substantial, where you can update links as they change, and something that helps maintain itself. Something where you don’t have to be on anyone’s good side to get a link. If I, or anyone, were to attempt maintaining a blogroll with every hockey blog in it, there wouldn’t be any time for actually writing about hockey. But there has to be something that can be done.
Jeez, was that my outside voice?