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How my corner of blogosphere keeps expanding

Several months ago, via Brian and/or Jason, who are my oldest blogging buddies, I started reading Whatever, a blog by the acsendant sci-fi luminary John Scalzi. I am not much of a sci-fi aficionado these days, and John’s outspokenly liberal political views occasionally grate on my sensibilities. But he is a witty and intelligent individual, who blogs on everything and nothing all the time, and my primary motive for reading him is not so much to virtually rub shoulders with a minor celebrity (who wouldn’t!?) but rather to broaden my exposure to superior and talented writing. He is also unabashedly effusive in publicly expressing his love for his wife and daughter, and I admire any man who does that.

I am not much of a blog commenter or a forum participant – the witticisms, essential to any modicum of success in that field, do not form in my head in English promptly enough to be useful – but after a while, I decided to join Scalzi’s forum, Whateveresque. One of the forum regulars, Nathan, welcomed me to the membership by posting a comment on my blog, so I had to go and check his blog as a polite gesture of reciprocity.

It turned out to be a pretty interesting read, and I since regularly found topics that I could contribute to. Eventually, I discovered that Nathan has a circle of virtual friends, each with their own blog, who habitually converse with one another by means of commenting on each other’s posts. Not only that – some of them are friends outside of blogosphere as well; and they all read Scalzi’s blog.

A couple of days ago, I surprisingly got co-opted into the fold.

The group coined a name to describe themselves, Union of Collaborating Founders (UCF). Not sure what it means and where it comes from, but it’s there. One of the members, Michelle, even came up with a logo:

And another member, Janiece, produced an affinity diagram:

Yes, that’s yours truly, in his lame loneliness in the upper right quadrant.

I do not see obvious ways to establish lines connecting me to other people, based on the available choices. “Pimping” could be about putting their blogs on my blogroll, but I have always been lukewarm to the idea of a blogroll on the front page of my website; plus, only one other person in the group, John, has ever recorded his visit to my blog, so I doubt I can expect much in terms of reciprocal recognition on the spot; a blogroll link without reciprocity feels overall too needy for my taste. Anyway, there would be a lot more links on the diagram if “pimping” was just about advertizing each other’s blogs.

I still figured that I needed to put in an effort into proving my bona fides as a new member, so I came up with a notion of posting this entry with all of the various links in it.

Now, if only I had enough time to spend reading and commenting on other people’s blogs. It’s not like there are several hours every morning when I have little to do at work on account of the US still being asleep. Honestly…

Just so this post provides a bit of entertainment for those who couldn’t care less of my social life in the blogosphere, here is a charming online catalogue, via Anne (hint: Give it a few seconds after it loads).


  1. Janiece

    Pimpage (and membership, for that matter) are entirely optional.

    We just like each other, and we’ve decided we like you, too.

    Hairball diagrams aside, it really is as simple as that.

  2. Vince

    I’ll second Janiece’s comment (I just came over by way of Nathan. And it’s nice to have a non-US viewpoint on some issues, as well as some great photos of places I’ve never been.

    By the way, I’m the only UCF member that I’m aware of that doesn’t have a blog. I just comment a lot. But I’ll have one eventually.

  3. Ilya

    Thanks, Vince. Except that I would describe my viewpoint more like “US viewpoint expressed from outside of US borders” ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Tom

    Howdy, Ilya. The UCF is a great punch of beople. I was new to commenting on forums and blogs, but some of their posts on the “e” (Whateveresque) captured me, and my commenting there and reading the various blogs eventually made me a part of the UCF. It’s been great fun.

    I bring the “Texan in New England” perspective to the group. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Eric

    And there are even a few of us (well, there’s me, at least) who read and sometimes comment on Whatever but never joined (or posted) on Whateveresque.

    As for pimping and reciprocity: my blogroll even features a couple of friends who aren’t UCFers (and who haven’t even heard of Scalzi so far as I know)–if you do one, include whomever you’d like, and don’t feel obliged to treat it like MySpace or something.

    (Oh, and you’ll find that a few of us UCFers have grating liberal sensibilities–again, myself included. Don’t worry, we won’t hold it against you. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    Welcome to the UCF!

  6. Ilya

    Thanks, Eric. I’ve remarked on occasion that some of my political views are dangerously liberal; just not part and parcel…

  7. Anne C.

    Thanks for the link, Ilya!
    I consider myself an independent, because I find I’d rather form my opinions a la carte, rather than the prix fixe menu. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Ilya

    My pleasure, Anne! And that’s a very apt way to describe the way I view things as well – I’ll borrow that from you ๐Ÿ™‚

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