For all those who attended one of the recent Miller-Eccles meetings in Southern California this weekend and are gingerly poking around the Bloggernacle, welcome! Here's a quick guided tour — just follow the links. The presenters were Nate and Kaimi of Times & Seasons and Caroline of Exponent II. Other blogs referred to by name in Kaimi's presentation include Feminist Mormon Housewives and By Common Consent (group blogs), Dave's Mormon Inquiry (right here, my solo blog), and Mormon Archipelago (not a blog; an aggregator displaying links to posts from many other Bloggernacle blogs). But wait, there's more!
At the meeting I attended, representatives of other blogs were also in attendance: Heather from Mormon Mommy Wars and Carrie from Tales From the Crib. The three presenters talked about what the Bloggernacle is; how posts and discussion at Mormon blogs relate to similar discussions in journals, magazines, or conferences; and how some blogs focus on LDS women's issues, from feminism to motherhood to simple friendship and support. I might post in response to specific thoughts of the presenters later this week, but for this post I'll just add a few general comments on the Bloggernacle as a whole and my experience in it over the last three years.
"Bloggernacle" is often shortened to "B'nacle." The major blogs likewise have short forms that are generally used in blog conversation: T&S, BCC, M* (for Millennial Star, another group blog), FMH, MA, DMI, and so forth. Standard online conversational acronyms like IMHO (in my humble opinion), FWIW (for what it's worth), and TMI (too much information) also appear from time to time.
The range of opinion represented by B'nacle blogs is difficult for newcomers to initially grasp — diversity of opinion is not exactly the hallmark of Mormonism. I think the degree of evident diversity says something positive about the B'nacle and about the Church (I'm not sure exactly what it says, but I'm sure it's positive). There are blogs ranging from the conservative and the very conservative to the mellow, the liberal, and the very liberal. There are blogs focusing on Mormon history; evolution; LDS stories in the media; Mormon literature and film; philosophy; personal voices; politics; apologetics; and much more.
Despite all this diversity, conversations in the comments are generally friendly and pleasant. Learning how to converse about religious ideas in a non-trivial fashion with those who look at things quite differently takes some effort and practice. [Hint: rereading and editing comments carefully before posting prevents most misunderstandings.] I suppose the resulting virtue (for those who persevere) is tolerance. Getting some of it is one of the less-remarked benefits of regular participation in B'nacle conversations.
More in a couple of days.