Last October, during one of those blog-hopping journeys I occasionally indulge in, I stumbled upon an invitation to participate in a “blog carnival” on “Language and Place”. Through it I learned what a blog carnival was — a curated list of links to blog posts on a given theme, which moved like a traveling carnival from one host to next — and, finding it an intriguing concept, I decided to participate. An old post on my German learning experiences figured in the first edition of the carnival that came out in November 2010. A few months later, in April, I hosted edition #5.
Now, after an year of travelling around the world, this carnival is back to its creator, Dorothee Lang. The anniversary edition, modelled around the theme “Streets, Signs, Direction”, features 31 entries presented ingeniously along three dimensions: a poem, an itinerary, a geographic map.
With age, the carnival begins to show its value as a concept. So much of individual writing on the Internet is buried under a tangled web that search engines can barely reach; a carnival like “Language-Place” offers a theme-based portal to navigate such writing. Like an anthology of essays, it offers a menu of tastes to savour and discover, leading you to voices you may otherwise have never heard of. Over time, the archive of links carves out a historical journey spanning lands and peoples, creating a more enduring repository of stories and events than real-time networks spawned by Twitter or Facebook.
The best way to grasp its potential is to begin at the carnival home page and go through the editions. Spend an hour doing this. You may be surprised by what you discover.