In a manner quite fitting to our year of Evolution, the Burning Blog team is happy to share some very exciting news, just in time for the hot summer planning season for Burners everywhere (100 days today – yep, check your calendar, it’s true!). The Burning Blog is evolving again – this time, with a chorus of new voices we hope you’ll enjoy more than ever.
The Burning Blog has its roots in 2001 when Danger Ranger’s Silver Seed Tour , and Feeding Tofu To Cowboys (reports from the DPW fray during setup) showed the world our first crack at this thing called “blogging” on Burningman.com. Since then, we’ve continued to nurture the blog concept and developed this space — a blogger was part of the setup crew for many years, and in 2007, we jumped in with both feet, creating four different content areas under one blog “roof” – still covering “Building Black Rock City”, but also documenting the Environmental efforts of the Green Man theme, sharing stories from “Black Rock City Yearround”, and reporting on the extensive activity around the Burning Man network as covered by our roving staff member, Bex, in the Regionals Blog. In 2008, talented writer/photographer John Curley told the story of Building BRC in glorious photos and words; that year the blog received more hits and comments than any year to date. (We still like to go back and look at that one.)
But as successful as this blog project has been, we still entered 2009 feeling like there was room to evolve. The Burning Man Project certainly has plenty of outlets for the information that participants need to know to attend the event – the Jack Rabbit Speaks distribution is closing in on 100,000 (!), the website is over a thousand pages deep, and we serve hundreds of mailing lists sorted by location (regional announce lists), topic (announce lists for artists, theme campers, staff, volunteer teams, RC enthusiasts, etc.) — not to mention our printed publications like the Survival Guide and Tip Sheet, etc. Having recently started our Facebook and Twitter presences, our internal “PR” mechanisms are quite well developed – it’s not like we’re lacking outlets for official information, and that kind of use alone wouldn’t really be putting a tool like a blog to its best use anyway.
We’ve long wanted the Burning Blog to grow into a rich, vibrant source of thought-provoking writing for and about Burning Man the culture — but more than that, we thought, this space could also be used to reflect how that culture perceives and interacts with the world around it, and to nurture that school of thought as a public conversation. We know that Burning Man the event has inspired many people, because they contact us every day to tell us so — and when they do, they’re often asking questions or sharing information about the impact of that experience and how it is translating into the rest of their lives.
These folks contact us not just with their thoughts about Burning Man, but with philosophical musings, ideas for projects or collaborations off the playa, stories about interacting with other Burners in the “wild” (the rest of the year), cultural observations, metaphysical questions…and of course, our staff love hearing from everyone about what their experience means to them, but until now, there wasn’t really a visible home for that conversation to reflect back outward again, beyond the one-on-one.
We wanted to change that, so in the spring of 2009, we gathered up our blog team and set about making this dream come true. We brainstormed a list of some of the best and brightest writers and experienced bloggers we knew of in the Burner community, hoping to entice them to join our experiment…and to our delight, they jumped on board. After several months of technical rejiggering and getting the new authors suited up and in the pool, we’re terrifically honored to welcome them now and announce this next phase of the Burning Blog to you, our readers.
The posts from this new team have already begun to trickle in, and we’re tickled pink to invite you to hop in the pool with them and join the conversation. They’ll be bringing us Burner’s-eye-view posts on art, culture, spirituality, technology, and other musings about subjects beyond the playa (and certainly, a fair sprinkling of Black Rock City-related posts, too — it is, after all, the central place in time where our culture manifests for that week in the desert, and we’re well aware that Burners still have plenty to say about Burning Man the event, too). We’re excited to hear from voices that aren’t members of our staff, with opinions we may not even agree with, on subjects we might not have thought of — and we’re really excited to see how our readers will interact with it all.
We hope you’ll take a minute to check out this all-star list of blog contributors, add the Burning Blog to your RSS feed, returning often to comment and join the conversation with thoughts of your own. Sure, the bloggers on our staff (including yours truly) will still be here, sharing views from the Building of Black Rock City, stories from BMHQ, and occasional sprinklings of official stuff or musings of our own…but the real voice of the Burning Blog is about to get a whole lot more vibrant and diverse, like our community is — the way it ought to be, and the subject matter that’s covered is really about to expand blossom catch fire.
We really hope you will enjoy this evolution and join us in welcoming these fantastic writers. In a way, this could herald a new era for the culture of Burning Man, reflecting more accurately the many faces of participants everywhere who believe that Burning Man is a way of looking at life and ourselves — we know that it’s a lot more than a week in the desert, and we hope you’ll enjoy reading and talking about everything else it has come to mean to us as a culture and a community.
Please come back often and let us know what you think.