YULblog Morphosis

So instead of attending YULblog at this moment, I decided to stay at home and save my one night out a month for the 7th anniversary of YULblog in a couple weeks. When others mentioned misgivings about YULblog’s new found popularity, it got me to thinking a bit more about it.

My first YULblog was in October 2005. Being the introvert that I am, I got there and took a seat at the bar. I couldn’t quite determine which group of people in the room was the gathering of bloggers. So I stayed at the bar until I was sure I saw a face I recognized of the three that I knew. Andre arrived and I wandered over sheepishly taking a spot. The first half of the evening was spent meeting other newbies and swapping our blogging experiences. Then I met Martine and spent the second half of the night having a great conversation with her. I really enjoyed my evening and it reminded me of weekly gatherings we used to have in Chicago.

At the following gatherings over the next few months, I gradually met more and more of the online personalities that I had been following virtually. Then in the spring months, attendance dropped to where there were about a dozen. Regardless of the dwindling numbers, I still gravitated towards the same half dozen people that I had gotten to know over that time. Then came the move to Quincaillerie and a resurge back to previous attendance numbers. It’s a much better locale with the ability to move about more freely.

But then over the past three months there has been a boom and a whole new blogging contingent that has joined the group. I’m only judging by last month’s gathering, but I’ve heard similar observations from others. The get-together was announced on the blogs of a couple different journalist-bloggers and attendance basically doubled. From what I could summise, the newbies were either long-time bloggers who finally came out to see what it was about and a younger crowd of the Myspace/hipster style. Now there wasn’t really anything wrong with it. The bar had more than adequate space to accommodate everyone with room to spare. Plus, in the end, I had discussions with the same people who I had talked with at previous YULblogs.

But it is still interesting to see this transformation and to wonder if this will change it’s character. Will it’s popularity grow so much that it will push out some of the older members? Will smaller groups continue to spin off and will the departure of these people change the dynamic of the group? Back when I started going, some found it to be a bit clique-ish and were turned off by that. Now people are turned off about it being too big and losing some of the intimacy it had before. I have to say that I disagree in that although it is a big crowd, the discussions that I have had have been in small groups of people. At times, not as intimate as a conversation in someone’s living room, but healthy discussions nonetheless.

That said, I do like the idea of smaller groups in settings conducive to these conversations we have online. One of my frustrations is that my available time limits the chances to actively participate in all the interesting topics brought up by fellow bloggers. A smaller get-together would allow for that to happen more easily and more immediately. But the key to this sort of thing is that it is conducive to converastion. I’ve been to Hurley’s once when it worked really well and another time when it was too noisy to hear what people were saying. It can be tricky to find the right place. Of course nothing beats somebody’s residence or outdoor space. No loud music playing and no competing with neighboring conversations.

So my fellow YULbloggers, what are your thoughts on this?

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~ by Frank on March 7, 2007.

8 Responses to “YULblog Morphosis”

  1. I like pretty much any kind of gathering, although I admit that I like the lack of smoke a LOT.

  2. If the Quincallerie would turn down the music volume a bit it would be nice. Right as it is (was) having a conversation with somebody at the other side of a table (okay, it’s a big table) was nearly impossible.

  3. I went to my weekly badminton activity last night instead of attending Yulblog. Just wasn’t up for it. Too big and loud last time. I’m also planning on attending the book launch next Friday. Like you, I’m not too keen on associating Yulblog’s anniversary with what is ultimately a “commercial” event, but I want to be there for the two authors I know.

    I’ve been attending Yulblog gatherings for 5 years now, and the popularity of the event has had some ups and downs. It’s gotten a bit too big now though to go back to a smaller formula, so I have a feeling that a lot of people are going to stop attending and split into smaller groups.

  4. hey there. just thought i’d post cuz you asked for input. i’m not a yulblogger, but am a blogger, and part of what i do every week is post to midnight poutine about what some of the local blogs are talking about. often what they are talking about is yulblog, wringing hands about what it all means. from an outsider perspective, it is very strange – is it not just a forum for local bloggers to meet and talk? like the net itself, how much can that / should that be controlled?

    of note, i guess, i’ve tried several times to have yulblog carry midnight poutine’s posts, and can’t even get an email in response. that’s not a very welcoming start to anyone thinking of attending the monthly get-together, you know?

    i just thought i would note, though, that for as large as yulblog has (apparently) become, there are still many bloggers in the city that still do not attend.

  5. “– i just thought i would note, though, that for as large as yulblog has (apparently) become, there are still many bloggers in the city that still do not attend.”

    … and won’t 😉

  6. Hey, Scott–Funny, I’ve been having the same problem with Midnight Poutine! More often than not, it won’t accept my comments, and I actually sent in an event listing for Yulblog last week that never got posted. I thought maybe it was me. 🙂

    As for the Yulblog site, it’s run by one person, Patrick, who tends to deal with new registrations in batches whenever he finds the time. If you’re registered but can’t post, it might be a trackback problem. Either way, try getting in touch with him again–I’m sure he won’t mind!

    Finally, all Yulblog really is is a regular place to meet. The problem is, it may have reached critical mass. It’s hard to talk to people in a really crowded bar, and it’s especially daunting if you don’t already know people there. I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that it be “controlled,” just that perhaps it could diversify into additional, smaller get-togethers.

    (BTW, I’ve linked to MP a few times on my blog and on Metroblogging Montreal, so you I hope you feel the love. 😉

  7. hey again,
    well, that’s hilarious. i’m not sure how to resolve comments on mid-pouts…but i’m sure you are not being blacklisted! you can send me an email w/ more specifix if you want and i can fwd it along, or post it for you.

    and that’s good to know about yulblog and that it is one dude, too.

    i should say that i don’t think yulbloggers are whining or anything. i can totally understand how things change when they get bigger than expected. i think expozine is a good example of these sorts of issues, and i know the organizers have struggled with that too (should it be a weekend, should it be 24 hours, etc.). i guess even tho i’m not involved i think its a good thing that yulblog has become larger than anyone expected. if nothing else, all the posts about it show the concern of the community.

    that’s good to know about yr links to MP, i include a link to mtroblggng nearly every week too. keep it up.

  8. Jonas: Yeah, although I was agreeing about having smaller get-togethers, I’ve always enjoyed big crowds. I think mare and Martine nailed the problem. It wasn’t so much the size as it was the loud music. Though after you eliminate the music, the sheer size of the group will result in trying to speak over the collective voice. Just like at parties.

    Scott: I think the appeal of YULblog and why it is discussed so much is because it is the primary central meeting point of bloggers in the city. And as husk and Me the Sequel point out, the format doesn’t appeal to everyone. People are looking for alternatives to what has been the first and largest assembly of bloggers.

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