What a Blog Is; What it's Supposed to Be - Says Who???

"BLOG" is a portmanteau (a word like “smog” - formed by blending “smoke” and “fog); a combination of the words “web” and “log”. 
 
This word was invented in the late nineties by two geeks sitting in front of their computers in their pajamas and braces (I can’t prove that last bit).   
 
By 2001 the number of blogs  swelled the internet so drastically that how-to manuals began appearing.
  • ·        The majority of blogs are an online diary.

For those of you that don’t know the origin of Brazen Princess, it started out as a dare.

Being in Africa, separated from family and doing our life's work, we wrote update letters regularly for two years, sending them out to my family and friends - most of whom didn’t read them
 
They sucked the life out of me. 
 
After awhile, the update letters were “Look what we did!”  and “See, this is why we’re here!”  I felt like we were justifying the calling we had on our lives.  They became less and less frequent.
 
One day (a normal day I would never include in an update letter) I spent at the church office syncing my pocket calendar with the church calendar.  Charles (our church administrator) and I filled in the empty spaces before getting interrupted by an emergency: there had been a possible assault of a child in the township.
 
I left quickly with my friend to check it out.  After I did, Charles noticed I'd left my calendar and emailed Mario with a subject line: “Janet’s Diary”.  The bulk of the letter told me that I had left my “diary” – my pocket calendar in his office. 
 
Mario saw the email and thought Charles was alerting him to a website or some link that he read.  When I got home (everything was alright with the child) he suggested that I do something different: move the update letters – along with excerpts from my journal -  to an online storage place  where people could see, even access an archive. 
 
I really wasn’t interested - I said "I don't have time,"
 
So he dared me.
 
“You should do one of those online blogs,” he smiled.  “And call it Janet’s Diary.”
 
I smiled back.  “What in the world would I write about?”  As soon as I said it, a flood of inspiration knocked me down. 
 
I would write about anything I wanted to.
 
By the way, "Janet's Diary" domain was taken.  I had a whisper in my ear to call it "Brazen Princess" - at the time I had no idea the real definition  of "brazen" 
 
 
  • ·         Most bloggers seek something called “an audience”

I grew up in a house that had two built-in fireplaces that were about one foot off the ground.  I used to perform “on-stage” for my sisters and brother, and they used to perform for me.  
 
I’m used to a relatively small audience.
 
Still, the master bloggers can attract several thousand hits a day to their own blog.  Today I was surfing twitter and found a post I loved and lapped up that was posted by a well-known literary agent – “7 Signs That You’re Not a Good Blogger”.
 
I checked out the site and saw that I was not a good blogger.  I make critical mistakes in marketing myself.  Ha!!  He gave me many tips – plus a “how-to-bulk-up-my-audience" book he invited me to download J.   
 
When I looked at it this morning it had 2 comments- right now it has 19. 
 
A good blogger not only captures attention, tells a good story, shares a good recipe, shows good art… they  reach a broad audience. 
 
As I searched for an agent to represent my upcoming book, “Treasures In Diepsloot”, one of them told me to “brand myself.”
 
“You should be actively building your blog audience,” she said.  “You’re a good writer, more people should be reading you.”
 
“How many people is a good audience?” I asked her, uncharacteristically shy. 
 
“A good blogger has in the neighborhood of seven hundred followers,” she said, flatly.  I felt like someone hit me on the side of my head. 
 
At the time I had 36.
 
 
  • ·         Posting gives people a window to my world.

People blog for all different reasons.  In the end I realized that I blogged to share my heart.  The update letters have stopped and the daily writing sometimes comes out here - on this blog.  In it I have a connection to my family, my friends and the others who read anonymously.
 
One of the greatest joys of writing is sharing a story; sharing my heart.  I will eventually have to figure out how to do this thing properly… until then I am all about sharing my world.  It’s a unique and special world.  I love being inside of it.
 
I ask you, my OS friends...why do you blog?  What got you started??  I'd love to know!!! 
 
 
 
 

Views: 262

Comment by JMac1949 Memories on January 31, 2013 at 6:07am

I started my account on "Open Salon" to publish a comment on an interesting post, then I had to figure out what to do with the account... that was a year ago... I figure I should be done sometime in the next couple of years.  R&L ;-) 

Comment by koshersalaami on January 31, 2013 at 6:56am

I came to Open Salon from an AOL Jewish chatroom. I knew Jonathan Wolfman from chat and I was getting fed up. He had gone to Open Salon and he needed ratings to build his audience, so he asked for my participation. So, I came over and all I did was comment on his blog. I loved it. I got to participate in discussions that stayed on topic, they weren't time sensitive in the same way chat was, and I had more than three lines to develop a thought. But all I did was comment. I was asked once or twice by people where my posts were because they'd gone to check me out and found an empty account, but I just replied that I didn't post.

One day an old friend from chat, someone with very different political leanings than mine, forwarded me an e-mail about how we should boycott Bank of America and Wells Fargo for providing accounts for illegal aliens. I disagreed, wrote a long and rather comprehensive e-mail back, and discovered I liked the e-mail, so I forwarded it to Jon. Within five minutes, he had it up on his blog as coming from an anonymous friend of his (he gave me a pseudonym, Ron I think). It got all sorts of comments.

At that point, I realized "Hey, I can do this!" So I wrote my first post, about why income polarization is a bad thing (a topic that is way, way less dry than its title would suggest) and I was off to the races. A little while later, with permission, I posted the original answering e-mail about the banks on my own blog.

When we were still centered on OS, a lot of us grew impatient with what seemed to be the capriciousness of Editors' Picks. A chance conversation with Safe Bet's Amy resulted in the concept for something that would eventually be called Readers' Picks. We normally argue more than we get along but at that point we had a common purpose and within a couple of days we had the site up. She left the project a little after that, we recruited a few other people (the most active of whom turned out to be L in the Southeast) and the site operated successfully until OS started developing technical problems, so we basically shut it down in preparation for a move to here.

My move (though I double post now) to OurS is a different story. I got sick of OS's technical problems, wanted to move, but realized that moving without my friends would be pointless and that others wouldn't want to move without their friends, so I got together with a few people (including the aforementioned L in the Southeast) and we organized an en masse move over here. Two, actually; the first attempt occurred on October 1, but OS got their act together just before that so the impetus for the move evaporated, but then they screwed up worse, so we tried again in November. I wrote up a statement, put it on my OurS account, and said: "OK, everyone who wants to, give us suggestions to edit this." We incorporated some of those suggestions. About 100 comments later, we said "It's ready" and we posted the statement to our OS accounts and said: "This is why we want to move, this is when we want to move, this is how long we want to stay exclusive to get our move to take root, and, if you agree and support this, please post this or an equivalent on your own blog and move with us. Thank you." I put a title on it that I think was "Keep the Community, Ditch the Site." The move resulted in a doubling of activity on OurS as measured on the same day of the week before and after the move (because activity normally varies by day of the week) according to site management.

Now both sites are active because OS is working but we're not about to leave here because this site has its advantages and management has been good to us.

I like blogging for a few reasons. I get to talk regularly to a lot of highly intelligent people, geography being no object. I like some of the social aspect; I have friends I've never met or whose voices I've never heard. I'm also a compulsive teacher, so I talk to people about things they don't hear elsewhere, and sometimes I find that something I say finds its way into strange places including, in at least a couple of cases, classrooms. Finding out something like that is just way cool. A lot of the time it's just a matter of providing ways to help people in arguments with their own friends and family.

That's my blogging story.

Comment by Brazen Princess on January 31, 2013 at 6:57am

JMac - I remember when you started blogging.  You were a salty dog right away!!  Then you became Captain Piccard and shocked all of us!!  I love your writing... Keep it up!!  

Comment by Brazen Princess on January 31, 2013 at 7:12am

Kosher!!  Wow...and amazing story!  "I like blogging for a few reasons. I get to talk regularly to a lot of highly intelligent people, geography being no object. I like some of the social aspect; I have friends I've never met or whose voices I've never heard. I'm also a compulsive teacher, so I talk to people about things they don't hear elsewhere, and sometimes I find that something I say finds its way into strange places including, in at least a couple of cases, classrooms. Finding out something like that is just way cool. A lot of the time it's just a matter of providing ways to help people in arguments with their own friends and family." - THE  WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH!!!  Beautifully said!!  

Comment by koshersalaami on January 31, 2013 at 7:29am

Glad I answered your question. I'd like to see what others do with this.

Comment by Zanelle on January 31, 2013 at 8:31am

I love to blog and try my best to be a good blogger.  Mostly I like to be honest.  I started blogging because I needed a place to write about my eating habits.  My first posts were all about compulsive overeating and I made a few friends.  They are all gone now and I still overeat but I found I liked blogging about all kinds of things and putting my visions out there.  It is so important to share what you do in life or you only get half the power.  Writing needs to be read, Art needs to be seen and Music needs to be heard.  Your writing is Wonderful and thank you so much for being part of this system.  It is whatever you want to make of it.  I had been in dustups at other blog sites and fled.  I seem pretty happy at Open and Our and try to keep my head beneath the radar.

Comment by koshersalaami on January 31, 2013 at 8:42am

Mine's not beneath the radar, particularly at the moment, but if you have an opinion, particularly a political opinion, expressing it comes with consequences.

Comment by Jenny on January 31, 2013 at 9:32am

I don't consider myself a blogger, maybe a bloggette? Like a baby blogger. Introduced to the world of blogging by her infamous boyfriend. 

Comment by koshersalaami on January 31, 2013 at 9:44am

Jenny,

You do fine. Don't underestimate yourself. You're more respected here than you think.

You don't have to blog often to be a blogger. Not all of us blog on anything like a daily basis. When you have something to say, say it, and when you don't, you're a blogger who hasn't posted recently.

Comment by tr ig on January 31, 2013 at 10:46am

"infamous boyfriend?"

That sounds kind of bad! 

I've mostly used it.. my 'blog' as a diary too BP/Janet (looking saucy!). People love to rubberneck into other people's lives is what I figured out so I share and share and overshare. They especially like me when I'm down and out. Probably the same reason we enjoy listening to blues music--- makes us feel better about our own lives. Plus 'down and out' -- the angst thing, really does make for a better  muse. 

And strange... if anyone would have asked me in late 2008 if I 'blogged' I would have gave them the hairy eyeball and asked back "Do I look gay to you?" (NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT)!

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