An Inordinate Fondness

The monthly blog carnival devoted to beetles.

An Inordinate Sadness

Cicindela sexguttata (six-spotted tiger beetle)

Not long ago, Bjørn Østman at Carnival of Evolution asked if blog carnivals are still relevant.  In his words:

Do they get read by enough people to be considered useful? Do the people who read them actually click through to blog posts they wouldn’t have otherwise?  …what about people who aren’t regular readers of featured blogs? Are there any? Do people who don’t usually read about the subject matter learn about it through carnivals?

For me, the post struck a chord—for some time I’ve asked similar questions about An Inordinate Fondness.  Every blog carnival, whatever its subject, has the goal of growing readership, both at the subject level and at the blog level.  In theory, an attractive, well-organized carnival introduces readers to material to which they may not otherwise be exposed and provides a forum for individual bloggers to showcase their content to attract new readers.  If a carnival does not succeed at these goals, is it still relevant or just redundant?  I want very much for AIF to accomplish these goals, but there is little to suggest this is actually the case.  Readership is high (as indicated by site stats), but participation is low—for the past year very few of the posts featured have been submitted by blog authors themselves.  Rather, they have been gleaned from the blogosphere by me and sent to that month’s host.  As I re-read the questions posed by Bjørn and consider them strictly for AIF, increasingly I suspect the answer to each is “no.”  Part of me wonders if this signals a maturation in the blog “industry.”  Blogs are not as novel as they used to be, and there are many bloggers and blog readers that have been doing this for some time now.  I suspect that most of these long-term bloggers and blog readers already know what they like and what they don’t like, and “outreach” tools such as blog carnivals are becoming less relevant as a result.  For small carnivals with a narrowly defined subject such as AIF, the effect is magnified.

All that said, I’m sure you know where this is going—AIF has seen its last issue!  It was a good run, and an experiment that had to be done.  The 16 blogs that hosted an issue produced some of the most interesting carnival issues I’ve ever seen, and I’m grateful to all those who supported AIF by helping with its formation, direct participation, or readership and subscriptions.  In the meantime, Beetles in the Bush remains alive and well to satisfy your elytral yearnings, as do many other blogs that regularly feature beetles (soon to be featured in the sidebar).

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

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Filed under: Blog Carnival, Cicindelidae, ,

7 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Margarethe says:

    I am sorry to hear that. Thank you for organizing it at least until now. It gave me a great entry into the world of insect blogs.

  2. Marvin says:

    Based on my very limited experience, I tend to agree with you conclusions. Despite my best intentions, my blogging tends to be erratic and my participation in blog carnivals even more erratic. Still, when I have submitted posts to a carnival, I’ve seen little results, and almost never have I garnered a comment from a new source. Weekly memes seem much more “successful”, though their success at producing results often seems very superficial, more of a gimmick for exchanging hits, rather than a way of building an interested readership.

    Thanks for the time and effort you devoted to giving AIF a try.

  3. Hi Ted, AIF indeed has had a great run, and I am thrilled to count myself among the hosts. I know this is hard, but agree the trend is going that way. As you know, HoH is a kind of sibling to AIF, and in my recent absence from blogging has failed to prompt anyone to step forward to take the reigns. I have a feeling that HoH will soon follow AIF and others with a farewell edition.

    I will say this – the nature blogging community is still out there and I look forward to the next manifestation of their collective enthusiasm for Life on the planet. 😉

  4. The Ozarkian says:

    Ted,
    Sorry to see it go, but glad that I was able to get in on the final few months, and that I was able to find some great reading through AIF. Keep the faith with BitB!!

  5. I noticed this trend as well. The effort of assembling does not justify the results. Pity, I did learn about a few new blogs through carnivals. Good thing we still have BitB!

  6. Ted, you have been a superb ambassador for the entire arthropod blogging community. As a newbie to the community I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to have several of my images appear in various AIF entries.

    I’ll miss AIF and I am grateful for the opportunity to see what various individuals write about and have opportunity to share their interests.

    The support you have shown all members of the community is invaluable. We’re very fortunate to have someone who is so positive and dedicated!

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An Inordinate Fondness… for Beetles!

When asked by an English cleric what his studies of nature’s diversity had taught him about the Creator, 20th Century British geneticist and noted evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane reportedly quipped, "He has an inordinate fondness for beetles." While there is some uncertainty whether Haldane ever actually spoke these words, no one can argue with their truth.

In fact, nearly half of all insects and one quarter of all described living species are beetles—350,000 and counting. They occur in virtually every habitat imaginable and exhibit innumerable, often brightly colored—even iridescent—and architecturally elaborate forms. Their impacts on humans are also many, not only as pests and beneficial organisms, but also as cultural symbols and objects of passionate scientific and philatelic interest.

An Inordinate Fondness is a celebration of beetles—of their indescribable beauty, amazing forms, and astonishing diversity. We hope you will join us in this celebration every month, as we highlight the best that the blogosphere has to offer on this fascinating group of animals.

The administrator for An Inordinate Fondness is Ted C. MacRae, author of Beetles In The Bush.

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