Monday, October 29, 2007

If God he gave you a voice, then use it

Packing my book collection for the move the other night, I came across Marketable Depression and Dear Raymi on my shelf, both written by the lovely Raymi the Minx. You see, Raymi is the one of the biggest names in the blogging world. The words beautiful, brilliant and revolutionary come to mind. Yes, she is definitely a triple threat. I wrote about Raymi back when she released Dear Raymi in August 2005. Raymi's blog has been a daily stop for me for years.

Finding these books again, combined with reading a couple of posts by fellow bloggers Keira-Anne and Duane last night, got me thinking about blogging, the blogging world in general and what it means to me.

There are three bloggers in particular who inspired me to start blogging in the first place; Raymi, Tony Pierce and Matthew Good. I certainly do not profess to be any kind of blogging expert. Tony, on the other hand, quite literally wrote the book on it. I do however, love to write and what blogging provides for me is a creative outlet to express my thoughts, inspirations, experiences and to share ideas. I have also discovered it to be a fantastic way to connect with some truly genuine and incredible people. I think the real beauty of blogging is that there are no rules; everybody puts their own uniqueness into what they do. It's not about approval of content, judging others or getting external adulation. It's not even always about coming up with something completely profound, or using perfect grammar. To me, it's about sharing a piece of myself with the world in my little way. The thing about the three key players I mentioned above, is that all of their blogs are very different. They have their own distinct writing styles and formats. Raymi's blog is always full of artistic photos, clever and funny quips and interesting observations. Plus, her two minute drawings are seriously entertaining. Tony has a way with words, he is at once insightful and completely hilarious. Matt is an articulate and talented writer who sheds light on world events, politics and his own personal experiences with grace and eloquence. I have learned so much from all of them and they all bring something significant to the table.

So, what exactly makes a good blog, you ask? I think that a good blog is one which the writer enjoys creating. The blogs that I like the most are the ones where the writers speak from the heart. What matters is that they’re opening up and communicating what they really think and feel. When this happens, there is a certain flow, and one is aware of a kinship with the writer. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for a serious discussion of important subjects and issues, just that often, it’s the writer’s own personal spin on that information which makes it interesting.

The first time I met Tony was at two of Matt's shows which he played back to back at The Commodore Ballroom in November 2005. We had organized one of the first Blogstocks (recently renamed Blogslayer by Raymi) at The Granville Room before the Friday night show. That weekend was also the first time that I met Matt and another of my favourite bloggers, Smelly Danielly.

Over the years, the community has grown immensely and I continue to find new blogs that peak my interest and have become daily reads (see my blogroll to the right). I find the support that the community provides by reading and commenting on one another's work to be a really special thing. I learn so much from my peers and that is largely what I love about this network. This past July, we had another Blogstock in Vancouver, at which I met a bunch of new faces, who have consquently become new reads.

"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results."

-Herman Melville-

Photos courtesy of Raymi Lauren on flickr


Anonymous said...

I think you're right on the money. That is exactly what I love about reading blogs, yours included.

Miss 604 said...

For a long time Vancouver has been split in several sections in regards to blogging. There's the professionals, the originals, the diary bloggers, techies and newsies - to name a few.

They usually come together at annual conferences, BarCamps, DemoCamps, and Official Vancouver Blogger Meetups once a month but those attendees are but a segment of the actual blogger population in Vancouver. Not one of them could tell you who "Tony Pierce" is or what a "blogstock" is... and I bet to the other people the name "Scoble" even means nothing.

Some bloggers are completely anonymous but that doesn't mean they're any less a part of the "community".

I myself only became a part of the community a few years ago even though I've been blogging for much longer. As for the word "community" it can mean actual people who get together on a scheduled basis to talk social media... or it could be your reader-base and commenters that keep you going.

There's people who have done it for years, those who just started, people who do it for attention and those who do it for a living - we're all a part of this medium, in our own right, and we all have our reasons for doing it.

Jennifer Stoddart said...

Very well said, Miss 604. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective on this topic, as you are someone who I consider to be an expert.

"...we're all a part of this medium, in our own right, and we all have our reasons for doing it."

I totally agree...I have just recently been exposed to more of the "techies and newsies" blogs, which I hadn't really paid much attention to in the past but I am learning a ton from these days! I know that there are so many blogs out there, and neither my little list of inspirations nor my blogroll even begin to scratch the surface of the kind of diversity which exists in this community.

I really admire what you do on your own blog and truly appreciate the support that you give me by reading and commenting on mine.

Miss 604 said...

I was also going to say I have the very same influences for blogging in the first place - Matt, Tony, Raymi... although the biggest catalyst was this cute boy in Iowa that had a blog and I wanted to look cool :-P I think it worked out

Jennifer Stoddart said...

Yep, I think it worked out too! ;)

Raul said...

I think that blogging has ebbs and flows. I had the same experience than Keira-Anne recently. I didn't feel that I should be blogging. But here I am still.

And Rebecca (Miss604) was a big influence on my blogging too, as we both did the Blogathon.

Again, blogging is fun and there is a broad spectrum and I am glad to be part of the blogging community. Good blog, Jennifer

Jennifer Stoddart said...

Thanks Raul! I agree with you about the ebbs and flows. I have definitely taken lots of breaks from it...sometimes I just don't feel inspired. As I said on the comments of Keira's post though, something always brings me back to it.

I think what it comes down to is that blogging is a very personal thing. There is definitely no ONE way to do it, or ONE reason for doing it. It depends entirely on each individual.

tony said...

Not one of them could tell you who "Tony Pierce" is or what a "blogstock" is... and I bet to the other people the name "Scoble" even means nothing.

but the good news is tony pierce and scoble know each other


but i agree with Miss604's point regardless. for some reason i avoid barcamps even though i like the people who usually go

thanks for all your very kind words jennifer!

Miss 604 said...

Tony: Nice! He's wearing a Northern Voice (bloggable) shirt too :-)