Monday, March 29, 2010

Blogging: A Community of Content or Commercialism?

One Spirit

I started blogging because I love the conversation that can be had thru the written word. I try to post daily, when the spirit moves & when I have something to say. I write about my life: teachers as babysitters, mothers as teachers, children as mentors & as friends.

Blogging didn't come naturally to me, because I'm not, by nature, an effusive person. I didn't hang with the "popular" crowd in high school. I preferred my iconoclastic ways in college. I ended up in one profession~journalism~that confirmed my cynicism & another~teaching~that sometimes stretched the boundaries of my social abilities.

I've been in love with the written word since before I even consciously knew the power of putting letters of the alphabet together. And I've stuck with The Scholastic Scribe for more than 2 years because I believe in that power & its ability to create sense out of a chaotic world.

The Art of Blogging & I have not always been the best of friends. I've slogged thru comments that sometimes are misspelled & often reflect the fact that readers aren't really reading. I've commented on more than my share of "I'm Not Quite Sure Why I Wrote This" posts. I've grown to recognize that blogging is a 2-way street, and the way to get someone to post a comment in one's space is by visiting theirs and commenting, as well. But I've also learned that some people just flit around the blogosphere & don't really have a commitment to anything. Like many of my cherubs, they're afflicted with a short attention span & don't really have the ability to do the work that's needed to maintain a 2-way conversation.

And I've met dozens of bloggers who want to be the new Dooce, the new Pioneer Woman, the new SITStas of the universe. Imagine...sitting at one's basement computer, in flannel jammies, raking in the Big Bucks. What could be sweeter than that?

Which is why I want to promote an upstart blog that doesn't want to do any of that. These bloggers are interested in stressing content over commercialism. The written word over the glam giveaway. In the words of Pam & Sandy, Words of Wisdom is looking for those of use who want to get "back to the basics of blogging."

"...we've had problems finding great blogs to read.," Pam said in an e-mail to me yesterday. "We've joined other sites and blog-hopped and visited and commented and found very few bloggers who were blogging for the writing."

The idea behind Words of Wisdom is simple: Pam & Sandy want us to spread the word about our favorite bloggers. Those who feature few ads or giveaways. Those who are into blogging because they want to use words to build a community~not of consensus, but of creativity & respect for the written word. A cyber meeting place, where we can gather together to share our thoughts, words & deeds.

Please visit Words of Wisdom. Its founders plan to feature what they call "Blogs of Note" every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with a goal of eventually showcasing such blogs every day. They are now soliciting for bloggers who want to join this cyber conversation. And yes, I did throw my hat into the proverbial ring.

"For a few months we talked about finding a site for like-minded bloggers," Pam said in her e-mail, "but couldn't do it. Then we decided to do it ourselves. The response has been fabulous. I think perhaps we are the minority in the bloggy world, but there are some of us out there and we're all just looking for a place to meet. Our hope is that WOW will be that place."

I've done quite a bit of reading up on the nuances of the blogosphere. So many of us come & go. I'd like to think I'm in this blogging biz for the long-haul. I'm interested in a continuing conversation & Words of Wisdom looks like just the kind of place to start.

In the interest of full disclosure, I snagged the snap above after entering a giveaway & actually winning. The artwork perched above my computer is an original by Lynda, of Art on a Limb. Lynda was one of my first blog friends. She posts infrequently now. For the record, I miss her company & wish she'd come back so we can continue our conversation.

The piece is called "One Spirit." I believe it embodies what Pam & Sandy are trying to accomplish. Remember...a conversation is much more than just a bunch of words strung together.


cat said...

I'll pop over right now.

Cheryl said...

I loved this. I'm not a mommy, daddy, pop culture, chef, etc., etc. blogger. I love words and how they're strung together to create a story. Thanks for the head's up on WOW. I hope to see you there!

blueviolet said...

I was there yesterday and it really does look like it's going to be a great thing. :)

Linda said...

I wish I had a way with words, but I don't. I started blogging my book reviews because I love giving my opinion (just ask my husband) and I have difficulty putting my thoughts into words. It is a learning experience for me.

Sandy said...

Nice, thanks very much. Obviously you got our mission spot on.

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

I found you through the comment challenge and you bring up a lot of great points. And content is content is content is number one I think - and I think without that and a unique voice you have nothing.

I think people forget that those people they choose to emulate have that voice. You can't be another anyone. Its not going to happen. It's possible to be commercial by default almost, I suppose - but it's not possible to be commercial without being unique - I don't think.


June Freaking Cleaver said...

Thanks for letting me know about Words of Wisdom.

I have no desire to be the next mommy blogger extraordinaire (and no chance in Hades of reaching that designation). I blog to write, to vent, to connect.

My blog is one place where it IS all about me!

And may my space bar thumb fall off if I ever get into blog advertising or product reviews for cash.

WOW said...

Thanks so much for blogging about WOW and spreading the word. You did a fabulous job describing our mission. I hope you (and others) find what you are looking for at WOW.


WhiteSockGirl aka The Fabulous Bitch said...

Content and substance. Subjective. But what a great post! Pure substance.

I do not have anything against giveaways and advertising on blogs. If a blogger can make money from dishing out excellent posts, I am right there to cheer her on. However, rarely would you find a blogger who is getting it absolutely right, who has just the right balance. Great reviews and great content.

I joined WOW, but I am still waiting for the WOW moment, still waiting to see if the marriage will survive the politics of the blogosphere. My bloggy heart has been broken before, and I am all out to protect it.

LisaDay said...

I have been wanting to rethink the purpose of my blog. My original goal was to generate money and use as a way to meet my ultimate goal of a stay-at-home mom, who does freelance writing and copy editing on the side.

While I haven't made money yet, I am enjoying the conversations and the people I have meet.

I will check out Words of Wisdom.


Tortuga said...

Oh, I love the idea of that site! I blogged about it and plan to be a member!!

Christina Lee said...

Hmm....I love the idea of it. Off to check it out!

yonca said...

Sounds like a great idea! Heading over there now!

Allyson said...

It's interesting to me that I just completed my first year of blogging and have NO interest in giving it up. It sort of befuddles me that people don't last in this world. It's not car's writing. Then I think "if you are not passionate about writing merely for the sake of writing, then you won't last." I've written stories my whole life. I can't imagine NOT writing...even after I gave up my journalism major for something more "practical" and gave up on the hundreds of short stories that sit in my parent's basement.

I will be completely honest in saying that I have quit following blogs that ONLY host giveaways and I will pretty quickly click out of one that is featuring a giveaway. I'm not here to make money on my written word. I'm here to have an outlet. I'm here to start sentences with the word "and" and to string thoughts together with a series of periods and NOT get a "C" on the paper for doing so. I don't want to butcher the English language...I want to explore it.

I will check out WOW because while I have found many fabulous bloggers through SITS, I want to come back to why I sat down last March and started this project to begin with. (HA! AND I get to end sentences with prepositions! Score!!) I want to write, I want to connect with others who love to write, and I want to read what they have to say. Very few of us will land book deals from this adventure, but my life is infinitely fuller because of it. Thank you for posting!

Lynda said...

Wow! I have never framed that print and it's my favorite. You make me miss blogging... I need a shot of commitment.

xoxoKrysten said...

Sounds very cool. I'll stop right over.

I always blogged because it was simply easier than a hand written journal - of which I have at least a dozen stored away from my younger days. It's simply a nice place to get out how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking. And if someone else likes it, that's cool too!

The Blonde Duck said...

On my way there. Thank God somebody out there still appreciates the story.

HappyChyck said...

I like your ideas on what blogging should be, and what I once hoped I could be as a blogger. I keep my blogging from most of my colleagues, but once I did tell my supervisor about how I used blogging as a way to belong to a professional community and how I had learned so much about teaching through this community. The bloggers I enjoy reading are interesting people with interesting ideas. I've been away from blogging simply because I have other things that demand my attention, but I miss it so much! Your post makes me miss it more!

Thanks for the link. I can't wait to investigate something new. :-)

Melissa @ Cellulite Investigation said...

awesome, Melissa. thanks for the info on WOW. I'm going to check that out. I started blogging because I really wanted to crack this cellulite case. Most of us women struggle with cellulite in isolation (some more than others) and I really wanted to start a smart conversation about it, free from the influence of celebrity cellulite gurus and the normal anti-cellulite biz. I have no ads or sponsors. For me, it's all about connecting with women over this ONE subject. I'm still learning about how to participate in the blogging community, and I appreciate you stopping by as often as you do. Thanks for helping me find my way in the blogosphere!

miss jo said...

I applaud what WOW is trying to do and wish them success in curating the blogosphere. If I can figure out how to embed their widget, I'll participate....Tx for the bloggy fill.

MissKris said...

Melissa, I feel badly that we lost touch. I'm not sure how that happened, outside of the fact I'm still so busy with the grandboys a bazillion hours a week I find it hard to keep up with myself, let alone anyone else, ha! Many have slipped thru my bloggy fingers because of it. But I came over here from WOW after seeing your comment there and loved this post. I want to say, as a BON last week, that as far as my blog is concerned, I never have wandered away from the basics. I never got in to Followers or communities, ads or sidebar clutter. I think I've checked out "Pioneer Woman" once or twice but don't understand the hoopla about her...I've read better blogs, I've read worse. For me, blogging is just for the writing itself, for letting out that pent-up energy that just HAS to be released with the written word. I'm sure plenty of people have come and gone and that's ok...I'm writing for me and my grandboys and if anyone wants to 'peek' into our lives, that's ok. If they tire of it and wander on, that's ok, too. But this was a wonderful shout-out for those of us who truly do try to keep the traditional blog fires burning. I hope you and I get back into checking each other's blogs out regularly again! :-D

studio lolo said...

I'll check it out and send my writer pals over ;)

I started blogging only to participate in Illustration Friday. All the sub-groups started popping up with invitations and being that I don't like to say "no," or rather, I don't want to say no, I join and then feel overwhelmed and unfulfilled. hence, the sub-groups are falling by the wayside and I feel okay about it.

As for Portnoy, his only complaint is that you called him a pup and he's a pig. Those porcines can be touchy buggers!

As I read your comment I imagined you also saying, (after the drum ba-Doom-Boom! "Thank you. I'll be here all week!"


Small Reflections said...

I enjoyed learning how you came to blogging ... relate to much of what you've shared here and always enjoy my visits to the Scholastic Scribe. I'm not sure when I'll get around to it because I still have 576 unread posts in my reader this morning (down from 975 yesterday when I opened it for the first time in more than a week), but I've added the link to my reader and will get around to it as soon as I'm able. Thanks so much for sharing ... and for being in this virtual world.
Hugs and blessings,

Joann Mannix said...

You have so hit the nail on the head for me when it comes to my blogging attitude. Sometimes blogging can be the most rewarding thing, other times it hurts my head.

I am so very weary of the commenters who come to my site with the one line request, "Follow me, I'll following you." And for them, it is all about getting the numbers so that companies will throw more merchandise their way for giveaways.

The reciprocal game of blogging is fraught with frustration. I wish there was this clear divide between those of us who blog to write and those who are all about numbers and sponsors.

Great, great post.


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