A new report by the Social Science Research Council (posted at the Immanent Frame and written by Nathan Schneider) names dotCommonweal as one of the hundred (or so) most influential religion blogs. So, what’s the survey all about?
It places this religion blogosphere in the context of the blogosphere as a whole, maps out its contours, and presents the voices of some of the bloggers themselves. For those new to the world of blogs, there is an overview of what blogging is and represents (section 1). The already-initiated can proceed directly to the in-depth analyses of academic blogging (section 2), where religion blogs stand now, and where they may go in the future (sections 3 and 4).
The whole report is well worth your time. I started with–what else?–the section on religion blogs. The survey offers a helpful map of the religion blogosphere, including a “rough” (but still quite good) typology and a few rankings (by readership, Web-wide influence, influence among religion blogs and their readers, etc.).
We can’t match the powerhouse Religion Dispatches–at least not when it comes to raw traffic. But, among sites that receive links from the religion blogosphere, dotCommonweal ranks fourth. In other words, we took the platinum.
Particularly of note is the section “What’s Missing?” Among the answers offered by the nineteen bloggers surveyed for the report: Good academic writing (second that emotion, and not just in the blogosphere), good writing on Islam, funding for investigative reporting on religion, more women writing on theology, strong progressive religious voices, metro religion blogging (this is a good one), and a forum for reviewing religion books. Good ideas, all. But, as the report concludes:
Even the nearly 100 blogs discussed in this report are more than most people can afford to keep track of on a daily or weekly basis. The bloggers’ suggestions—more diversity, more investigative journalism, more metro coverage, and so on—all amount to more blogs, more data to consume. The question then becomes: what to do with it all?