Communities and Cliques

I'm a relatively new blogger, of about six months standing. Friends had blogs, I'd heard about blogs, but it took starting one myself to really get into it. And what a world. It was like discovering newspapers for the first time. Or coffee mornings. I couldn't believe such a large strand of communication had been there for the taking, and what's more, you could interact with it. Leave comments, meet people and even get the odd (and some really were) recipe.

I hadn't realised many felt left out of the blogging community.  In this case, the mummy blogging one. Who’s the Mummy wrote a sensible post entitled Communities, Cliques and a New Meme. It’s about the community, whether it’s friendly or not, and why people actually blog. In my case, the reasons were fairly transparent. To provide another platform for angels & urchins magazine, and for the chance to wibble about subjects dear to a mother’s heart. Gossip, in other words. It’s exactly what goes on every day outside the nursery or school gate, but with even more opportunities to bang on about the education system, PTA Reps or the latest episode of The Wire.

And just like with parents at the school gate, there are likely to be readers who are more interested in what’s being said than others. Reading blogs is an often hilarious and eyebrow raising pursuit. Some are full of self-disclosure, touching on topics that I’d find hard to talk about with even the closest of friends. Others are full of jokes and cartoons, and give a lovely lift to the day. But like the school gate, you instinctively find what you’re interested in. Hopefully not by becoming part of a clique, which implies insularity and unfriendliness, but by discovering shared interests, and perhaps receiving advice and help. Similarly, blogging should be about creating connections, which is why I’ve taken on Who’s the Mummy’s You’re Welcome Meme.

The idea is to tag three bloggers that you’ve discovered and loved, and then tag three other bloggers and ask for three new blog reads. So here are three newish finds, which I'm really enjoying getting to know.

I discovered Cloud of Starlings on Twitter. The blogger’s touchingly besotted husband had tweeted saying, ‘I’m not sure calling her a minion is a good idea...’, with a link to his wife’s new blog. It’s a photo project, taking in one image a day. And when you see how beautiful her photographs are, you can’t believe she’s taken them on her iPhone. They’re works of art, with a lovely story behind each. You mark my words, Apple will be on to her in no time. Just hope she doesn’t move to SiliconValley.

Metropolitan Mum describes herself as a ‘freshly baked London Mum, blogging about her bumpy ride into motherhood’. As well as writing about fabulous things to do in fabulous London (I do love to see my home city being celebrated, and haven’t quite got over the Tiffany box cupcake shop when the ice rink was open at Somerset House), she explores thornier topics such as the exhaustion of trying to get your child into a half decent school, and issues that aren’t immediately related to parenthood, such as size zero models.

Retro Wife sounds as though she might be all Fifties' skirts and flip-sided hair. Which she possibly is; I’ve never seen what she actually looks like. What I love about her blog is her creativity. See how she organised a cinema-themed birthday party, that cost less than £40, for one of her children, and you’ll see what I mean.

So if you're part of an insider group of bloggers, pass it on. If not, pass it on too. You might be lucky like I was and discover a talented new photographer, unusual things to see in a city you thought you already knew, and a low cost way to host a fabulous children's birthday party.

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