The feeling of a community is something I never would have predicted the Internet would provide. But it does, and this is a tremendous benefit for those of us who are geographically isolated, homebound or who live in an area where others think differently. The progressive/liberal blogs are our megachurches, though I hope with more ethical pastors and ministers, and the community of caring and sharing is very important.
The mainstream media hasn't quite understood the community side of blogs. In fact, it is something that can be made fun of or ridiculed. An otherwise interesting article on political blogs in the Los Angeles Times had this paragraph, for example:
Duncan Black, an economist who writes as Atrios on his website, Eschaton, receives hundreds of comments for almost anything he posts. Thursday morning, he posted a short note saying he would not be writing much that day as he was going to be traveling. Within the hour, 492 people posted comments on that. A political reporter at a metropolitan daily might not get that much reader response in a year.
If you don't read political blogs at all you might be concerned about this. Are the readers of Eschaton such odd creatures that they parse a short blog about a travel day to the tune of nearly five hundred comments? Is what Atrios says something like the divine drops of wisdom in a cult? Heh.
Perhaps, but the real explanation for the five hundred comments on that thread is that Eschaton is a community where people exchange views on politics and on other things, where support and friendly criticism and funny and sad news are swopped. It's a cybermegachurch for us dirty lefty hippies, and it is not the only one. Feminist communities also abound, at places such as Pandagon or feministing.com or feministe or Bitch Ph.D. (all these blogs and other communities such as Kos can be found in my Blogroll in the right column).
Communities are that gooey stuff that political bloggers, stern and hard, are not expected to value. Well, I do, but then I'm a girl goddess blogger. Communities are very important because humans are pack animals and we need each other for communication, for affection, for validation and for squabbling, too.