Aggregating blog content: the dilemma

I’ve been keeping blogs for several years now. This one was the first-born, or at least it ‘growed up’ out of my first experiments in what I thought of as an online journal. Fairly soon after its incarnation, Spinning a Learning Web became too sprawling, so I reined in my grasshopper inclinations to write about life, art and the whole darn thing, and focussed my Web 2.0 commentary in a more appropriate way for my then-position as a higher education lecturer.  I did from time to time stray outside the higher ed boundaries into discussions on what you might call recreational digital tools – photography for example. Until very recently I thought of Spinning … as my primary blog. Indeed its URL contains my name.

My other blog Groundling is all about theatre, performance, voice art – the other passion and avocation in my life. I maintained Groundling in a quarantined fashion from Spinning … . There I’d mention the web and digital technologies from time to time, but it was largely a separately focussed, niche area, and the blogs very rarely met on common ground. But that has changed, and this is where the dilemma has begun for me.

Life goes on, we change, and the time has come to consider the future of both blogs, at least in their current incarnation. The reality is that I no longer work in higher education, but my interest in all things Web 2.0 continues just as strongly if not more so. I’ve got more time to scrabble round the web, chat to others, experiment and reflect.  But Spinning …  is no longer focussed on higher ed. Of course, the learning goes on!

Groundling on the other hand, continues to focus on theatre etc., but more and more the world of digital performance, business marketing for the arts using online tools, social networking, and other topics I was used to dealing with in Spinning … are now finding their way into posts on Groundling. I think that Groundling is going to be the primary/only blog from here on in, incorporating its coverage of things theatrical, performative and so on, whilst dealing at the same time with life on the web. What’s developed is a natural outcome of my work in both areas of interest over the past 5-7 years.

The other element in the equation, and perhaps a key driver of my thinking right now is that I find myself working a great deal of the time via Twitter and Facebook, two community-driven, eclectic chat platforms which feed my communications needs with colleagues, as well as the wider community of social networkers. This engagement provides me with research projects and then material for longer, reflective posts on the blogs, but also – and here’s the rub – it lessens the time I can spend or would want to spend in maintaining two other, quite separate blog presences.

I’ve done what I can to integrate my social media sites on the blogs. I’ve pulled Twitter in via a widget; FriendFeed is also present, and you’ll see in the navigation tabs at the top of the page that there’s a link out to Groundling – on Groundling there’s a link to Spinning. In each blog’s sidebar there’s a link to other places where Dramagirl hangs out on the web. But the thing is, there are still two blogs with separate readerships needing attention. And whilst I am not driven to post unless I have something to say,  I’m very mindful of the long time between posts that has become the norm.

Can I – should I – consider a design change and create an ‘uber-blog’? What might this look like? Do you know of any good templates that would enable me to pull in and archive my Spinning … posts perhaps as a Category? Is this even desirable?

I’ve not written a help post before, but then I didn’t have as wide a network to consult as I do now.  I’d love to hear from you here or via Twitter should you come across an idea to spark my own thinking on the next step.

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