Last night I spent a significant amount of time visiting the blogs of “40 bloggers who really count,” as featured on “Times Online.”
The WordPress dashboard link, “Congratulations to Our ‘Bloggers Who Really Count,’ caught my eye and I just had to find out what these blogs had that earned them this status. As I read through the short blog bios and then visited the sites, the realization dawned that I had misconceptions about the blogging world. Misconceptions that seemed to mock me as I peered wide-eyed into the computer screen and read the truth about blogging.
Misconception #1: Every blogger “really counts”
I falsely assumed this was true by virtue of the fact that bloggers had to be courageous to put their words, images, or videos out there for the entire world to see. Now I know the truth, there are qualifications that provide legitimacy.
In an effort to correct my errant beliefs, I launched out on a quest to find out what these qualifications were. I also hoped that I could discover my own blogging identity in the process.
My first stop was journal.davidbyrne.com. I could instantly see why this blog made the grade: bold colors, easy-to-use navigation, and rich content. I admit to cringing when contrasting my creativity site http://refrainfromtheidentical.com that now screams “NEWBIE!”
Then I noticed the “Times Online” categories for blogs: Celebrity, Fashion, Family, Memoir etc. “Yikes, I’m in trouble! How can a creative eclectic like me possibly choose?” There it was, another mistaken belief:
Misconception #2: Blogs can be multi-faceted like people are
What initially drew me to the blogging world was the hope that I could carve out my little patch of virtual identity that reflected all my odd chicken-like characteristics: always scratching around for something I cannot seem to find; occasionally laying a good writing egg; hatching some bright little “chicks” of ideas.
I wanted my blog to be like a day of teaching in the classroom…you never know what you’re going to get. One moment a bi-polar teen heaves a chair across the room and the next, you tear up when a struggling reader learns PowerPoint for the first time. Yes, I wanted my blog to be beautifully unique.
Now the truth stared straight at me seeming to say, “JoDee, you have to fit into one of these categories.” In that moment, a little part of my creative insides died.
Yet despite my momentary emotional setback, I continued on my blogging journey through an amazing variation of blogs. Many inspired me, a few made me laugh, and I gasped at a couple of raunchy ones, but still laughed anyway.
Then I came to the “Memoir” category and a glimmer of hope flickered, “Maybe this is where I fit?” Heather B. Armstrong’s dooce.com tickled me pink and challenged my third errant belief about blogging:
Misconception #3: A blogger’s worth defies cultural norms and values
I actually thought this was true, silly me. Unlike the industries of publishing, entertainment, business, or education, blogging was a world where nobodies could find and express their unique voice. How foolish of me to think that the value of blogging existed apart from the validation of celebrity status, business savvy, or public fame.
I wondered at what point Heather began to “really count?” Was it when she birthed that first baby? Ask anyone of us who has done so and we will tell you that counts for something. Did her worth kick in when she shed light on everyday life that besets the best of us mothers out here living in the real world?
Although some of her critics may question how an unknown could make such a mark on the world, she is one of my new heroes. This is not because she became a professional blogger or spent the day with the President. My admiration goes far deeper than that. She receives my respect for her courage encapsulated in her quote honored by “Times Online,”
“I was this housewife, and no one in their right mind would have hired me to write about my life,” she says. “So I just did it myself.”
Now that is what I thought blogging was all about…people courageous enough to pursue their dreams in the midst of everyday living…regardless of whether a world-wide audience deems them, or their dreams, worthy!