Thursday, November 25, 2010
Having seen a bit of the evolution of Steampunk online, I’d say that perhaps one of the most calamitous events of recent memory was the changing of the Ning business structure. While many may not be familiar with the “old” Ning, its early incarnation allowed individuals to make versatile websites for focused online meeting locales for groups with specific interests (for free – an excellent price). Many Steampunk groups (especially Second Life groups) flourished on the Ning, until the company changed its business model, eliminating the “free” groups in favor of a pay-model, with differing tiers. “Business is Business”, and if economic realities required the change, so be it, but an off-shoot was the dissolution of many established Steampunk groups. Some migrated to other locations (such as New Babbage and Armada), but other simply dissolved, losing an excellent platform for Steampunk creativity.
So why the journey down memory lane? There are still Steampunk sites which took the plunge and continued on with the Ning model. Some, such as the well known Steampunk Empire (perhaps the most active Steampunk location on the aethernet) are doing outstandingly well, but a new Steampunk Ning has emerged, named the “Steampunk Writers Guild”. A well designed Ning (yes, there are poor ones, as counter-intuitive at that might sound), it is a central clearing house for Steampunk discussion and writing. It introduces itself as a “… home for readers, writers, publishers, and bloggers of Steampunk fiction…”, the Steampunk Writers Guild is an excellent locale to discover new authors, learn of new works, and garner a bit more into the written background of Steampunk Fiction. I would heartily recommend a visit, and look around a bit, as one can not only find new endeavors being labored upon, but obtain a bit of insight as to the direction of the Steampunk published word. Their website is located at: http://steampunkwriters.ning.com/, so do stop by!