Attentive readers may have noticed a new addition to A Motley Vision’s navigation a couple of weeks ago. It’s there to the left, just below the Popcorn Popping feed. Yep, it’s a Mormon arts and culture blogs feed. And I’ve decided that I like it and am sticking with it. I’m using Google Reader to power it. I’m not 100% thrilled with the way it displays, but it’s not bad.
And eventually I may be able to mess with the code and make it look better. Note that you can click on the “Read More” link at the bottom of the feed to subscribe to the feed in your personal reader.
I’m doing this as a service to AMV’s readers and, frankly, to help me keep track of the blogs that I feel are worth following when it comes to my interest in the production, publishing, marketing, consumption and criticism of Mormon arts and culture. At heart, blogs that are already or will be in the feed, are there because I think they have value in the sphere that AMV has positioned itself, but I have written up some semi-formal criteria for those who are curious about who gets in and who doesn’t.
1. Content must be original and be published as an RSS feed (i.e. no news/events feeds [unless of course a news or events item is turned into an individual post]).
2. Content must be mainly Mormon arts-themed and/or created by an artist/editor/publisher/critic specifically working in the Mormon market. This doesn’t mean that personal/journal-oriented blogs won’t be included. Not every post has to be the type of thing that would appear on AMV. However, in order to be included, a blog has to include some content that’s inarguably Mormon arts/culture-related. It also doesn’t have to be a “Bloggernacle” blog. Any blogger out there that doesn’t really interface with the Bloggernacle, but produces content in line with the feed criteria is welcome to contact me about being part of the feed.
3. Content does not need to reflect a belief in the teachings of the LDS Church, but it should be civil towards both believers and non-believers and respect the sensibilities of the Mormon audience (keeping in mind that it’s not a monolithic audience). [As an illustrative sidenote: I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do with you, C.L. Hanson. I need to take a look at your archives and think about it a bit. Of course, AMV doesn’t endorse every (or any) post that appears in the feed. But at the same time the whole idea behind it is to point out content that an AMV reader might be interested in. I’ll probably err on the side of inclusiveness, but I haven’t totally made up my mind yet.]
4. Large group blogs that publish in a variety of areas are welcome to create an arts-oriented feed for inclusion in the Mormon arts feed (but they should contact me before doing so to make sure that I’m willing to include it — and they should include links to a few prior posts that they feel would be part of their arts/culture-specific feed). This criterion isn’t to punish Times & Seasons, FMH, BCC, Mormon Mentality, The Cultural Hall, etc., but rather to keep the feed useful and as on-topic as possible. And to keep it from being swamped by all you behemoths out there.
5. Bloggers who are included in the feed are under no obligation to link to it or publish it on their blog. You can if you want to, but I don’t expect it, and I don’t know that it makes sense for most of the blogs included in the feed to do so as their formats/designs don’t really have the real estate to spare. I have no desire to see LDS Publisher’s fantastically useful and unique sidebar look the same as AMV’s.
If you feel your blog should be included or are interested in creating a specific arts feed, e-mail me at admin AT motleyvision DAWT org. If you aren’t part of the initial feed, it’s because a) I haven’t gotten around to adding you, b) I don’t know that you exist, c) I know about you but haven’t decided for sure if you should be included or d) I am sorry, but you didn’t make the cut. And, of course, I’m still actively managing the “Recent Links” section. If you don’t belong in the feed, but come up with a post that deserves to be highlighted on AMV, e-mail me the link, and I’ll take a look at it.
Now. Let me be clear: I’m not doing this because I want to create some kind of prestige system (woohoo! I get to be in the second box on Mormon Archipelago! Oh my stars — FMH has added me to their sidebar!*) or exclusive club. This is all about content, regardless of the personalities behind it. One thing that the Bloggernacle hasn’t been great about doing is organizing around content categories. In an ideal world, we would have collectively come up with an agreed upon category taxonomy and created individualized super-category feeds that all Bloggernacle blogs posted to, but in the absence of that, this is the next best thing, imo.
Some bloggers out there may ask why we’re doing this instead of a Blogroll. I certainly appreciate everyone who has added AMV to their blogroll. And, no, I haven’t reciprocated — even when asked. There are two reasons for this:
1. I have yet to find a blogroll management tool that makes me happy.
2. The feed rewards content. I hate having blogs on a blogroll that are defunct. And I especially hate having to track down a blog to see if it is still alive and kicking. Those bloggers that don’t post, won’t show up in the feed. Those that do, will. And all I have to do is add their individual feed once to Google Reader in order to include them.
That may change at some point. I’m certainly not done tinkering with the new AMV theme. But I currently have no plans for a blogroll.
I hope some of ya’ll find this Mormon arts and culture feed to be of use. Please do get in contact with me if you have questions, concerns and/or pitches. And I look forward to Ardis, Justin and the Juvenile Instructor lads getting on board with this idea and creating a history-oriented one.
*No offense to either the Archipelago admins or the FMH bloggers. Part of what makes the Bloggernacle a vibrant community is the way in which blogs and blog aggregators have carved out and made known the niche ecosystems. I like when bloggers are up-front about their likes and sympathies and homies. It makes a blog’s sidebar(s) more interesting. And that’s what this AMV feed is all about.