To niche, or not to niche …

Every now and then Twitter drops a little hidden gem in my lap. Yesterday, it came in the form of a simple tweet from a friend commenting on another Twitterer’s blog post regarding niches.

Curious, I checked out his Twitter feed, and then his blog. His latest post, The End of Blog Niches as We Know It, intrigued me and even got the rusty cogs of my brain churning. In his post, which I encourage you to read, he talks about how we slot ourselves and others into niches and suggests that maybe we don’t need to (or shouldn’t).

I understand why we do this, but I also think that people should be allowed to be more than just one thing. Everyone wants to feel like they belong to something (a group, a community, a clique, anything). I think that this is especially prevalent in groups pf people who live in large cities, who’ve had to move away from friends and family, and other people who’ve become disconnected from something that could be considered a community. But, everybody has more then one interest. Some of use have several personal interests and other interests that relate to our day jobs. Take me, for example:

  • I love nature, especially the coast and marine animals
  • I love crafty things and my current obsessions include quilting, needlework, photography, and home decor
  • I periodically dabble in art things, like watercolour
  • I believe in being environmentally friendly and in the slow living movement
  • I’m a librarian and firm believer in public libraries
  • I work in Electronic Content Management (ECM) and value good information management

So, what niche should I belong to? I’m not a coastal advocate, a craftster, an artist, a quilter, a cross stitcher, a librarian, an information manager, or an environmentalist. I’m all of the above and much, much more. I want to have the freedom to blog and share what I want to and not be confined to any one endeavour. Yes, most of the recent posts have been about things like quilts and it’s been years since I’m posted anything about the environment, but I still want the freedom to share other creative projects, an occasional rant about current attacks on the environment, or the rare blabber about information management. But, because I haven’t picked a niche and/or a community to be highly involved in, I’m invisible and “just another random blogger”. (Ok, I have to admit that this is also in part because I haven’t made any effort to publicize myself, even amongst my friends/acquaintances).

That all said, I have to admit that there are times when I want to belong to something. This is because I’m one of the disconnected: most of my friend’s and family are in different provinces, I haven’t volunteered or taken a class of some sort in ages, I’m not terribly interested in becoming overly involved in my community, and the closest I get to being part of an online community is Facebook (this is mostly because most online communities are very much based on niches and many that I have checked out have covered too narrow a field of interest or been full of idiots or self-righteous jerks).

Despite this, I am going to continue on as I see fit and strive to challenge any niche boundaries I find myself slipping into.

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