It is always a nice feeling to be among people who share the passions, interests and likes as you. It's human tendency to be in similar minded company. Blogging is a hobby, a profession and a way of life. Not surprisingly, Blogging networks are beginning to gain exposure, interest, members, and respect. In the past, I have received invitations to join a few networks, but I never did because I really didn't see the point. But with time, I have realised that being part of one, gives you exposure, and helps you improve in the blogging world, just as you'd improve as a human depending on the social circle you hang around in. It seems the future of the web's content lies in group creation and development. What do I mean by those?
Group creation and development is effectively the creation of groups, networks, communities, and their development to make sure each group generates quality content, in fixed quantities. Being part of a well known group automatically puts you above the others around you, because now your content is certified (by your 'well-known' group) to be quality content. Ofcourse, the content should be good enough for you to become a part of the group in the first place! :P For example, one of my favourite communities is 9rules which is not that different from other networks. The difference lies in the reputation. You know when you see a blog with the 9rules logo, that you can expect regular updates, stimulating content, and justice to the blogs topic. These are the rules that 9Rules stands for, and based on which inducts members. It filters down to all the members, and that immediately promotes them! See how it works?
Groups, ofcourse do more than create exposure. It helps you learn as well. Being among people who have same interests, can help you learn from their perspective and knowledge. You'll gain experience, and gradually understand what to look for, how to present it, how to make it more interesting, etc. in your field of interest. Everything, at the end of the day is a learning experience, and being in a community just helps speed up the process! :)
There are quite a few groups out there, some of which are listed at the end ↓ of this article. You could apply for any one of them. But you should take care to understand what your network asks of you. 9rules has some simple but (seemingly) strict rules These rules involve regular posting habits, generate quality content, not deviating too much from the theme of the blog, and so on. Such are rules are common to practically all the networks. How strictly they are followed is what makes the difference.
Some networks will begin to slack off the rules so that more people join in, and that's where the quality begins to wane. You should watch out for such networks. they follow to induct members and keep them in. You should join a network which suits your style and topic of interest, as well as by your idea of how seriously you'll incorporate the ideology and demands of the network.
Why? Why Martha why!?
If you're wondering exactly why you need join a network or community in the first place, the simple answer is you don't! If you see, there are tons (literally) of blogs out there that are not a part of any group, and are doing just fine on their own. There is no real need to be part of a group, because you can gain exposure and be well known in your circles by other ways as well. You also don't need a group to certify that you generate quality articles and content. That is decided by the number of regular viewers and people who comment on your blog. Yes, it can be done individually.
But! If you see all the great blogs out there, which you like to visit pretty regularly, chances are they are part of a well known network. The network might not have drawn you to the blog, but it does many others. And this is the basic advantage of a network. Everything you do individually, a network gives you more of the same things. More exposure, more experience, more knowledge... Little more of good things never hurt anyone, did they? :P
Here are a few Blog networks that I got off The Blog HeraldThe Blog Herald was the very first blog dedicated to blog related news and information. It is still considered to be one of the most reliable sources of information regarding the blogosphere by many. , ranked in order of popularity and quality (according to them).It's a good list to start with, to get your head around them and see which one works for you! I personally prefer 9rules, which has many really nice looking blogs, with decent content. You can start from wherever you want! :)
Weblogs Inc. : The No.1 blog network from Jason Calacanis
Gawker Media : Nick Denton’s gossip, tabloid and soft pawn empire
9rules : Collaborative network which I still think wins the award for nicest looking blogs
Blog Logic : Paul Short’s multi-blog network
Maxira : Brad Jasper’s network of blog and webmaster related blogs, tools and forums