The Bloggernacle is composed of a few dozen people who run weblogs that talk about “Mormon Studies” topics, plus a few hundred people who read the weblog content and sometimes leave comments. The two best-known publications that cater to that sector of the LDS audience that is interested in “Mormon Studies” topics, Dialogue and Sunstone, are likewise staffed and run by a few dozen people plus a few dozen authors, and read by a few thousand subscribers. You would think there would be a lot of overlap between these two communities, bloggers and subscribers, wouldn’t you? In fact, there is no one from the publisher/author side of the subscriber community (with the exception of BCC’s own John Hatch) who has taken an active role in the LDS weblog community, and precious few Bloggernacle regulars who appear to be subscribers or regular readers of Sunstone or Dialogue, much less authors (with the exception of BCC’s own Kristine Haglund Harris). Why is this so?
No doubt several people will chime in claiming to be both subscribers and bloggers, and if you are it would be nice to hear which side of the divide you started on and how you “bridged the gap.” But I think my observation is largely correct and I’m curious why. Here are three possible explanations that spring to mind:
1. The Hidden Bloggernacle. Maybe the LDS weblog community, which after all has only really existed since November 18, 2003, has simply not come to the attention of publishers and subscribers. However, I don’t think this is the case. Blogs and blogging get mentioned frequently in the mainstream press now, the SLC press has mentioned specific LDS weblog sites a number of times, and anyone who does Google searches on LDS topics even once in a while is likely to have visited a few LDS weblogs even if they previously knew nothing about the LDS weblog community. I think the Bloggernacle is known to subscribers, just like the publications are known to bloggers who, nevertheless, don’t generally subscribe.
2. A Generation Gap. Maybe the subscribers are part of the magazine generation and bloggers are all from the Internet generation. But everyone uses computers now, don’t they? And bloggers seem to read plenty of LDS books, so why shouldn’t they be drawn to LDS periodicals?
3. It Just Takes Time. Maybe the two communities will have more overlap in a few years, but it just takes time for people to learn about other options and commit. Blogs take time and subscriptions cost money, so there is a commitment involved. But the cost to subscribe is fairly small, and bloggers see the time they “invest” in blogging as a payoff, not a cost.
Any other ideas?