Monday, June 12

I'm blogging this, and why.

liberty_waits
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Blogging has made me a better person. Bear with me for a little personal anecdote:

I came across a short, unassuming woman in a bad suit while waiting for a train to Toronto a few weeks back, and I noticed she had a totebag from some molecular biology convention. I struck up a conversation with her about her work in molecular biology, as if I know anything about that, which I totally don't. But I thought to myself, maybe if I talk to her I can learn something that will be blog-able.

It turns out she does some kind of protein study for a university in upstate New York. Her work is related to immunity, and why some cells are able to acquire immunity while others don't, and some lose their immunity while others keep it. Folks, I didn't understand a bit about the technical stuff she was saying, but someday she and her colleagues may come up with an AIDS vaccine. That is her fricking GOAL, people. She just blew me away, this unassuming woman who is a warrior on the real frontlines in the battle against AIDS. And she was delighted that someone at the train station was actually interested in asking her about her work.

I got on the train realizing just how glad I was that I had taken the time to talk to her, even if I wasn't going to use the conversation for my blog.

And then I just did.

Yearly Kos is making us all a little heady. The mainstream media from NYT to NPR is paying attention to blogging. Hooray, and welcome to the party.

And far be it from me to be the party pooper. By far the most wonderful part of blogging is the people you meet, and meeting them face to face is best of all. Firedoglake has some really heartfelt comments on putting a face to the blog at Yearly Kos. It sounds great.

I worry about those bloggers who are hoping to parlay their blog into something else. A job with a political campaign, for instance. I was a volunteer for Ted Kennedy for President in 1980 and Kennedy for Senate the next time. (Uh, have I earned my liberal-cred wings yet?) At the Senate campaign they had me do phone calls to invite donors to a fundraiser, and they asked me to use a false name when making the calls. For the phone calls, I was Kelly. Yeah, Kelly Suckashamrock, I guess was my last name, God forbid I should be anything but Irish Catholic for this gig. In both campaigns I was surrounded by highly caffeinated, fast talking, slick and horny pols who lived on the phone with one hand and made passes with the other. You can watch the movies: The Candidate, Bulworth, Primary Colors, Shampoo. That is really what it is like, and you could not pay me enough to go back there. Remember, in the world of Blue Gal, intelligence is the aphrodisiac of choice. Power is not. (And by "power", of course, I mean "being an asshole".)

Same for those who are looking to become pundits in some other media. Look, if I have to hire a media consultant to teach me how to do anything, stick a fork in me. I'm finished. I don't want to sit next to George Will and tell him he is wrong about global warming while George Stephanopolooza referees. I can tell George Will he is wrong about global warming right here, and call him honey at the same time. Watch me:

George, honey, you're wrong on global warming. Kyoto is not too expensive. And whether it makes a difference for the temperature of the planet, a cleaner planet is always a good idea. Love on ya, Blue Gal.


I worry about us bloggers. This article, sent over from Paul the Spud, points out that "In Las Vegas, Democrats court the netroots as if it were the AFL-CIO." Great. We're a special interest group now. We've even got our own netroots Kool Aid, according to MoDo. Gawd.

I worry about us bloggers. We're all so new at this, and blogging is such a lovely medium in its own right. Some of us are still at the stage of linking to news articles and saying "me too" to Eschaton and The General. (Well, some of us like to blog about how funny it is putting an entire package of Mentos into a 2-liter Diet Coke, but I digress.) Some of us have amazing, just amazing, talents, as artists, as writers, as humorists, and yes, as pundits. I hate, just hate, to see bloggers think of what they are doing as a stepping-stone to something "better," because in my humble opinion there is nothing better. I mean that.

Keep blogging, and keep the faith.

[um, not crossposted at Daily Kos.]

18 comments:

  1. the reason i have a blog(tho mostly for poetry) instead of a website(which is what i was planning at first) is the freedom to be me(warts and all)
    i can write what i choose, i can say what i want. i can change things in a few minutes if i need to or care to and i can meet via my keyboard the most amazing people!
    i wouldn't want to be labeled and boxed up and i don't think my blog will lead to a book deal(tho, hey, that would be an answered hope)no, i started my blog last july in hopes of letting people get to know me and for me to get to know others and share opinions and info.

    fates fobid ANY of us turn into some sort of mainstream types.

    spinning things to move on up.
    why move, we are here! : (

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  2. Amen. Why fix somethin' that isn't broken? No editor or producer tellin' ye t'change this or that or sayin' ye can't say that at all...

    I've noted that those that be in th'mainstream have surely lost a lot of 'themselves'. It's just th'nature o'th' beast. A beast I want no part of.

    Sail true, me BlogMate! As for this Pirate Queen, she be happy just floatin' on th'Blogsea with her onery crew.

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  3. Ah...Blue gal - you're a woman after me own little Heart-o-Hearts (and ME too!)

    This made me *SMILE*

    "Remember, in the world of Blue Gal, intelligence is the aphrodisiac of choice. Power is not. (And by "power", of course, I mean "being an asshole".)

    Same for those who are looking to become pundits in some other media. Look, if I have to hire a media consultant to teach me how to do anything, stick a fork in me. I'm finished. I don't want to sit next to George Will and tell him he is wrong about global warming while George Stephanopolooza referees. I can tell George Will he is wrong about global warming right here, and call him honey at the same time. Watch me:

    'George, honey, you're wrong on global warming. Kyoto is not too expensive. And whether it makes a difference for the temperature of the planet, a cleaner planet is always a good idea. Love on ya, Blue Gal.'"


    Couldn't have said it better than that!

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  4. Fortunately, I'm under no illusions that my mediocre little blog (current top two items: Bollywood superhero; Mosquitophone) is going to gain me entree to *anything* else. It *may* open up some opportunities for my photography, but certainly nothing political or writerly, nor do I particularly want it to.

    The "Dems courting the bloggers" thing gives me the creeps, because I think it's fundamentally insincere. They want us to raise money and knock on doors for them and not bash them too hard when they roll over for the Republicans again, but they have shown little or no willingness to actually *listen* to us.

    The problem, of course, is that a lowly working stiff blogger is never going to be as interesting to them as a deep-pockets corporate lobbyist, at least not until we show that we can wield enough clout to defeat corporate-funded candidates. *This* is why I believe it's so important to defeat Lieberman. It's not just that he's a total faithless wanker, but I want to see the netroots send the message that we are a force to be reckoned with in our own right, that we are not content to be a silent partner, and we *will* act independently of the Democratic establishment to exercise our will.

    If that starts happening, if the netroots start snagging primary and general election victories for underdog, non-corporate candidates, I predict that we'll see an awful lot of congressional Dems snap to.

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  5. Yeah but Eli you're a terrific photographer (ditto Sherry's poetry) and you put the whole Democratic Party courting the bloggers creepiness right dead on eloquently. So shut up. :-D

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  6. Don't worry too much about it. Let me tell you a secret every blogger knows, but none write about: Blogging is a race to attain celebrity before you burn out.

    It's that simple. I will bet, dollars-to-doughnuts that over 70% of the Kos bloggers will have dropped out by this time next year. At least 50% of the regular bloggers will have also dropped out.

    Why?

    Because blogging still does not have a sustainable economic structure.

    In newspspers, a journalist is paid a salary to keep writing. In the blogging world, until you start getting AT LEAST 2500 unique visitors a day, there is no way you'll make enough money with speaking fees, advertising revenue or swag sales to justify a quality blog.

    A quality blog with fresh content is a tremendous amount of work. 99% are little more than, as you say, "me to" blogs.

    The good news about all this is that this guarantees high turnover. And with high turnover, you're going to have a medium that challenges authority because they have no choice but to do so in order to get the publics attention.

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  7. Don't worry too much about it. Let me tell you a secret every blogger knows, but none write about: Blogging is a race to attain celebrity before you burn out.

    It's that simple. I will bet, dollars-to-doughnuts that over 70% of the Kos bloggers will have dropped out by this time next year. At least 50% of the regular bloggers will have also dropped out.

    Why?

    Because blogging still does not have a sustainable economic structure.


    Um, while blog celebrity would be kinda cool, I know it's never gonna happen, and it's really not a goal. I'm usually between 100-150 hits a day unless someone links to me (rare), and I'd be absolutely stunned if I ever got that up over 300 a day.

    All I really want, and this is probably asking way too much, is that on the very rare occasions that I come up with something particularly clever or insightful or bizarre or useful, that one of the big fish sees it and spreads it. Yeah, it's partly ego, but I'd also like to think that when I actually post something worthwhile, that it doesn't just die on the vine.

    Of course, this is a microcosm of the moonbatosphere's dilemma - only a very small fraction of the truths and ideas we generate makes it into the mainstream media where more than a couple of hundred thousand people see it and absorb it. Idea/truth/information propagation is a big problem, even in The Age Of The Internets.

    (Oh, and thanks, BG!)

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  8. Forgot to add that, needless to say, I have no expectation of ever making money off of blogging. *Maybe*, indirectly, if I start selling photos online, but I'm probably too lazy.

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  9. To Eli:

    The difference between a fad and a trend is if people who start late to the game can still make money.

    It takes 10 years to master something: Be it drawing, engineering or a musical instrument.

    Yes, you can be damn good at something in less time - but to be truely great, you have to stick to your art and practice regularly for at least a decade.

    Blogging itself didn't start getting widely known until about 2002. This means that the best blogs have yet to be writen!

    Eventualy, most people will get tired of a few hundred people, especialy when most of those people are looking for the one picture on your blog labled "sex" rather than actual content.

    The next push in the blogging community shouldn't be how we can get politicaly well-connected, but how to make this artform a sustainable way of life.

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  10. Proud to help make the world a better place, Blue Gal!

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  11. I think, in my own small way, my contributions to this blog (and my own non-political, artsy-fartsy blog which will NOT be cross-linked here) are a way to change things for the better.

    Not on some grand sweeping scale, certainly. I know that I'll probably make an impact (and have made an impact) on a very micro scale. If 500 people in my life have been empowered and validated through my words and actions, then I'm content. Mission Accomplished. For real, I mean.

    And no, I don't have lofty ambitions. First of all, I don't have the bloodline to be anything more than a menial peon in a political campaign. The best thing going for me is probably a ho-hum glorified lobbyist job pushing paper around and functioning as a cog in a much grander works.

    And if that's my ambition in life, then so be it. I don't have the pedigree, nor the connections to be anything else. More importantly, to be anything substantial you need MONEY. Lots of it. And I have a lot of other things, but money isn't one of them.

    And sure, certainly it is nice to be able to meet like-minded individuals. It is nice to know that I'm not the only one out there who thinks these thoughts, shares these frustrations, and processes them in similar ways.

    I've felt like a total oddball my entire life, and when the blogosphere came into existence, it was nice being a small fish in a big pond instead of the other way round.

    What I find so refreshing about blogging is that you don't have to sort through bullshit like bias, ego, and spin. At least not as much. Most bloggers I know do this for fun. They do it for the love of it and no one's trying to make a living in the process.

    Whatever else comes along is icing on the cake.

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  12. blue gal: You might be a vile liberal, but I will forever support your right to be that vile liberal. Keep on blogging, and I will do the same. (Yes, I know I am misquoting some historical writer, and no, I do not give a damn.)

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  13. Great comments again, folks, even you, Herman. (And what exactly did I do to deserve you guys?) Anyway, I remember about two months after starting this blog I had a turning point in my subscribers where more than half the subscribers were people I had never met face to face. That was huge for me.

    I still consider it a miracle every damn day that people who don't know me personally think it's worth a click to read what I have written.

    And the community to which I belong here is a very big part of why I do it. I don't ever ever expect to get rich from blogging, or even make a dime from it.

    That said, I think Paul V is dead on when he talks about the large number of bloggers who will drop out over the next few years or even months. We already see abandoned blogs along the information superhighway, n'est-ce pas? When Bush is no longer President will be a big dropping off point. Without him to hate...well, gee, I almost miss him already...NOT.

    Anyway, I plan to keep on keepin' on. If politics gets boring (and there is no way I'm going to let a Democratic administration off the proverbial hook just because they are my party) I can always write book reviews or whatever. The writing and the sharing are the thing, for this blogger anyway.

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  14. Good points all and I should point out that's true of just about everything, not just blogging.

    I took a second gig at Bring It On, but only because they'd let me cross post and keep the best stuff for my own blog. I thought that was a fiar trade and I'm still humble and all that shit...I mean as humble as a Deity can be.

    So here's to humble luv. Maybe you could celebrate with a humble, bumble bee pair of panties.

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  15. All of You: I am not sure why you liberals hate Bush so much, but that is not my point. After Bush is gone, find something else that you consider to be wrong. Then blog about that. Blog about your precious topics of healthcare, civil liberties, peace, an honest society, and all that dreck. Just keep blogging. Your little world will not instantly get better once Bush is out of office.

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  16. I know exactly what you mean.

    I've always had a need to do something like blogging. In college, I papered the campus at least once a week with flyers that aren't a heck of a lot different than the posts I'm blogging today. Later, it was usenet. Now, it's blogging.

    It allows me to express myself creatively. That's all I need.

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  17. I still consider it a miracle every damn day that people who don't know me personally think it's worth a click to read what I have written.

    I'm constantly amazed by this, too. It feels me with joy. That may sound trite, but it's the best way to describe it.

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  18. Blue Gal, blogging is making me a better person as well. Among other things, it helps me find my voice. After moving to an area populated by a large number of thoughtless Bush supporters, I found myself isolated and silent; and deeply depressed about where we were heading.

    Blogging has let me speak out about many things -- from my political views to posting about my own personal path. I'm meeting other people who are amazing in their talents. Everyone I have been fortunate to encounter is using blogging to speak from their heart.

    Blogging has given me the courage to take an Improv Comedy class. Blogging helped me find my way to purchasing a digital camera I've drooled about for the last few years. Blogging has me drawing and painting again. Why? Because I no longer feel isolated and alone.

    Besides, if the Bush Police come and cart me away, I know I'll be in a prison with a whole bunch o' other bloggers.

    XXOO to all, I hope you come visit me too.

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