For an overview of literary conversation on the Internet, Ron Silliman’s blog has been for years an excellent place to start. I like it for its regular content but also for its large, curated list of links to many other literary blogs, or litblogs. For me, Silliman’s Blog is a gateway to large, vibrant conversation.
Over the years, the blogroll on Ron Silliman’s Blog has grown to such an extent that it is now its own blog, with more than 1,300 links to literary blogs.
How to Follow Lots of Literary Blogs
Even in the midst of some technological turbulence (see also: “blogging is dead,” “Google Reader is gone") there remains a vibrant and enjoyable literary blogosphere. You can still subscribe to a huge number of blogs and join the conversation. I’ve created a tool to help make it easy to do this, so you can get back to reading and posting.
Using Silliman’s Blogroll as a starting point, I’ve created an OPML file. This file is a big list of all the RSS feeds of all the blogs on Silliman’s list. The file is designed to be imported into your blog reader of choice. Since Google Reader isn’t around anymore, I recommend Feedly (my current favorite) or Digg Reader (also very good).
Here’s how to do it:
Download the OPML file or copy its contents into a file named litblogs.opml
Import the OPML file into your reader application. * import instructions for Feedly reader * import instructions for Digg reader * note: The file from step 1 is quite large. If the import fails, try to import this collection of smaller files, one at a time.
Enjoy more than 1300 literary blogs.
I was able to accomplish this small technical victory and to share it with you, thanks to some help from others. First, I’d like to thank Ron Silliman, for amassing the collection of litblogs in the first place and for his permission to publish this. I’d like to thank Kevin Carmody for creating the PHP script that I used to convert the list into OPML. I’d also like to thank Michael Young for his prompt and helpful tips and fixes for Digg Reader.
Updates and Next Steps
In 2014, it’s inaccurate to think that blogs are the end-all-and-be-all of the conversation on the Internet. Once upon a time, you could subscribe to almost any blog’s RSS feed and add it to your reader to follow it. It was that easy. It didn’t matter whether the blog was on Blogger, or Wordpress or whatever other system. If it was a blog, you could probably subscribe to it. Now, things are a bit different. You can only subscribe to Facebook via Facebook, Twitter via Twitter and Tumblr via Tumblr. It’s no longer possible to get such an easy overview of the entire conversation.
So, in addition, it’ll help to have a Twitter Group of lots of good Twitter sources, A Facebook list, as well as a list of Tumblr sites and… What else?
If you have any suggestions, for additions to the list, or other tricks that might help to keep track of the literary blogosphere, please let me know in the comments. Also, for the code-inclined among you, I’ve created a GitHub repository out of the code I used to build this. I call it “LitKit.”