This is the thirteenth entrant in The Blogging Essay Contest from WeblogToolsCollection.com If you would like to participate, please email me your entry at mark at wltc dot net. Please rate this article using the star system below. The competition will be judged primarily on the input from readers like you. Thank you.
This is written by Claudia Pena
Entry 9-21-06: Mayans and many Mexicans today still have a delicacy of quail in rose petalsâ€¦wow, they can say their fecal matter smells like roses and be honest. Are there any more cultures that have such delicacy?
On that same month I also wrote one of my longest pieces about my strained relationship with my mother and took a political stand on the climate fear on my website. I spent hours on the computer. From the time I came home from work at 5 until midnight, I was writing, reading, searching, and revising so that the following day I would have a beautiful sacrificial lamb to offer to the gods of the internet while I awaited a signal. My blogging became an Aztec ritual thirsting for the blood of words; pulling all nighters when creativity walked on my back like a featherweight sumo wrestler. Until the signal came: a comment, a response. Wow, I was silenced into shock. No one other than family or friends had read my writing and of course they had to be positive, but a total stranger? A total stranger in another city didn’t have to read, comment and much less be nice. But there it was:
Wow, that was nice, it was deep, and i can definitely relate to some of it, i remember mopping the floors at mcdonalds thinkin there’s got 2 be something better, i worked hard, made it somewhere and now it doesn’t seem betterâ€¦–A. Shunz
My writing was like a delicate chocolate decadence cake eaten by total strangers and they LOVED it! I slowly sank into the deep hole of ego maniacal, self proclaimed importance and random sporadic thought addiction that spews forth into the world through the internet of those who called themselves bloggers. In less than two months, blogging had done what MTV, Nintendo and Friends had been unable to do in years: glue me down to a screen awaiting the next comment or how many people had seen my website. My webmaster/boyfriend informed me with a huge smirk that over 500 people had seen my website in the first month but that the majority of the hits came from my own IP address. “You’re your own best customer, darling!” and he busted out laughing. “But when I goggle myself I come up first!,” I retorted. He laughed harder, “It’s all you, darling.” And with that, I was banded from my website for 2 weeks so he could get an accurate picture of the number of hits. My addiction returned to a normal sitting down only 2-3 days a week with the occasional all night binges in front of the screen.
To tell you the truth, it wasn’t until this contest that I realized that the word blog meant web log, an online journal. (I was just overtaken when he gave me the power of a website.) What was even more interesting is that the word didn’t catch on until about 2003 in our dictionaries, and the earliest mention of it was in 1998 in Acronymfinder.com. So, to humanity this concept of blogging is much more novel than deodorants to Europeans but has caught on faster than deo to bo for euros. Why?
First and foremost, there is a high demand for information both for the reader and author. For the reader, yes it does serve the obvious purpose of getting to know the writer better. However, a blog is a very personal intimate look at experiences and thoughts. Reading about my mother, undocumented immigrants and Hispanic education, involves no financial transactions but does offer a very honest look at issues a reader has faced with difficulty at one point in their life. There’s an aha! moment of relief or just gaining a new perspective. Similarly, as a writer, if the reader chooses to leave a comment, I get a kick out of affecting people I’ve had no contact with ever in my life. I want to write more if I know there’s someone reading it.
Second, blogs are the Wal-Mart’s of the on line world: there are no restrictions to the format or content. For a writer, this is heaven. I don’t have to pretend I like anything in order to get published, nor do I have to search a great deal if I don’t want to. Before, it used to be that if you felt political, you went to an online political forum, if you wanted to know a female’s experience birthing, you went to a gynological forum and so forth. That was annoying and time consuming. You are still at liberty to do that but it is nice to know I can go to someone’s website and get all that plus a story about animal rights. With blogging, there’s no need to fragment your self.
Third, don’t think a little ol’ blog the size of plankton can’t bring down a whale. Companies take commentaries on blogs seriously. Just ask ihateshipley’s.com or KillerCoke.com who displayed all the injustices to Colombia’s population by the company. Can’t find them? Exactly. Companies take blogging seriously and spend thousands of dollars on image control and lawsuits yearly. Not only are individuals bringing companies to accountability, but also public entities like police departments. After one person caught a police raid of Walters on Washington on camera, there were several people who placed it on their website catching the attention of many attorneys and Houston business people. Needless to say, Houston Police Department did a lot of backtracking afterwards. Oh what the power of a blog can do!
Fourth, the internet is faceless and, if you so wish it to be, nameless, making it the ultimate guerilla warfare battle ground. Spammers (@#%!) as well as the average Joe who is getting screwed over with property taxes for a public school system where kids deal and cut lines in the middle of class can have a voice without reprimand. Just look at Google school rankings and commentaries. Corporate world gives great fodder and as long as you remain anonymous with a secure job, people will not hesitate to blast a company or person by name. The power of anonymity spills over even into the artistic, just look at postsecret.blogspot.com where we view from the cheeky to the cruel, to the obviously insane truth about life. What can’t you say if there is no reprimand? The answer then becomes, anything your conscious doesn’t feel bad about (and when it does, just erase it).
Last, with the exception of getting cozy with it in a bathtub or taking it to remote places where you should probably be worried about the mosquitoes more than the Hilton’s latest drug induced anorexia, what the hell can’t blogging do better than a traditional paper copy book, journal or magazine? Plus it’s FREE!!! Think about it, as writer I don’t have to wait for a haughty publishing company like Houghton Mifflin to read my manuscript, get back to me nine months from now, compromise my artistic vision, offer me the thrill of having a book as payment (maybe), become a pr person to promote sales and deal with all the red tape that I could really care less about as an artist. I am taking it as I see it, when I see it and without anyone’s permission on my blog, so bite me Mifflers of the world! And if I ain’t writing about it, I’ll be sure to support my friends who are. Why should I have to go buy a book when I am already paying enough money for my high speed? The flexibility of bloggers and internet are becoming serious competitors to publishing houses, who have no choice now but to morph into e-books to keep up with the market. (Don’t believe me, ask the four time bought and sold hot potatoe of Houghton Mifflin.)
So take it form this newbie to blogging: blogging is the wave of the futureâ€¦You know we should have a bloggers’ convention, just like a book convention. That would be really neat. Just a thought. God loves the bloggersâ€¦wonder when the Catholic Church will come out with a special prayer for us. Anyways, so readers, stop by my site, bookmark me and show me some love. Your comments make me a better writer, so don’t hold back.