Six People in My (Virtual) Neighborhood

Bottled Liquor Newsstand by Bill on Capitol Hill
Bottled Liquor Newsstand by Bill on Capitol Hill

This fervid desire for the Web bespeaks a longing so intense that it can only be understood as spiritual. A longing indicates that something is missing in our lives. What is missing is the sound of the human voice.

David Weinberger, The Cluetrain Manifesto

A year ago, I used to get most of my information from a variety of traditional and new media sources primarily via Google Reader. Now, loathe as I am to admit it, Twitter has replaced it as my primary aggregator, and the mix of sources is very different, too.

This past weekend, I did a major purge of my RSS feeds in Reader, clearing out more than 2/3rds of them (now down to 61 feeds), including some that were duplicates of Twitter feeds I follow, and many others I realized weren’t terribly essential when a hectic day found me hitting “Mark all as read” on 1,000+ items. But while Twitter is good for taking the pulse of the moment and flashes of conversation (or debate), I still look to blogs for more thoughtful insight and, increasingly, a sense of community.

I’ve noted before that Twitter is a great professional networking tool, more cocktail party than office, and the people I follow there are primarily in publishing and marketing, but there’s a specific subset of which I’ve become particularly fond: writers with great blogs.

Here’s 6 blogs I’ve recently started following, and in some cases, I’ve already found a home in their comments sections when 140 characters just isn’t enough room to express my self:

The Gist: I “met” Will Hindmarch a while back during the first go-round here of the FREE debate, and have become a big fan ever since. He’s a cut-the-vein open kind of blogger, but he’s also smart, talented and an inspiration.

Terrible Minds: I just started reading Chuck Wendig’s blog a week or two ago, but he’s already inspired me to stop making excuses about not writing fiction, and wrote perhaps the hands-down funniest bit of writing advice I’ve ever read in Hateful Avatars: How (Not) To Create Characters. He’s also, coincidentally, a partner of Will’s in Jet Pack.

The Man Who Painted Agnieszka’s Shoes: I also “met” Dan Holloway via the FREE debate, and was so impressed with his point of view that I asked him to write a guest post for me that became one of my most viewed and commented upon of the year. He’s a pragmatic DIY activist who believes in transparency over hype, and his actions and sense of community far exceed his talk.

Don’t Publish Me!: Jenn to the T is a militant indie author with attitude to spare and a rational head on her shoulders. She’s a provocative writer who sees the big picture, and is, coincidentally, a member of Dan’s Year Zero Writers collective.

Ditchwalk: Mark Barrett’s that guy at the end of the bar who never gets drunk and always has something insightful to add to the discussion. Over the past two months I’ve been following him, he’s written a variety of thought-provoking posts, from his take on the writer/reviewer relationship, to his perceptive warning about Scribd, to his level-headed take on finding common ground.

Dan Blank: Publishing, Innovation & the Web: Dan Blank is one of the smartest bloggers I’ve ever come across, and I’ve actually been reading him for longer than anyone else on this list;  he’s also the only one I’ve ever met in person. He gets publishing, he gets community, he gets analysis, and his passion for what he does is apparent in every post; he also doesn’t feel the need to post every day for the sake of steady traffic, so whenever he pops up in Google Reader, I know I’m getting something insightful and worth reading.

NOTE: I still use Reader like a micro-blog, too, and also import those items of interest here on my site as The Gonzalez Reader.

Those are some of the more interesting people in my neighborhood. Who are the people in yours?

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5 thoughts on “Six People in My (Virtual) Neighborhood

  1. What a wonderful way to wake up today and see that you've covered some amazing people out there; and I'm humbled to be included in the pack. Thanks again, Guy, you rawwwhk.

    I'm really looking forward to following everyone else.


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