Who Knows What a Blog Is?
edited: Monday, January 24, 2005
By Patricia C Behnke
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, January 24, 2005
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I may not know everything about a blog, but at least I'm blogging nearly every day now.
“Who does not know what a blog is?” asked the workshop leader at the recent Florida Writers Association's conference.
I looked around the room, and I saw nodding heads and smiling faces. No one raised a hand.
I came to this particular workshop to learn about pumping up my freelance writing career from a hotshot editor from New York. I was not about to admit I did not know something.
So I sat in ignorance and fumed a little as she talked blog talk. What did this have to do with my freelance career?
And then I heard it.
“Producers, editors, agents directors, and publishers read blogs,” the editor said. “An unknown author just sold a novel to a producer for six figures.”
Now she had me.
Later I caught up with her in the lobby of the hotel.
“I have to admit I had no idea what a blog was,” I said. “I’m still not entirely sure.”
“It stands for web log,” she said. “It’s a journal on a website.”
That very night as I waited for the banquet at the writer’s conference to begin, dressed in my black velvet cocktail gown and sitting high above the city of Orlando, I began my first blog on the glamourous life of a writer.
And then I promptly lost the words of my first blog.
When I returned from the conference, I gave it one more try.
And I’ve been blogging ever since.
And I’ve been learning about bloggers.
Bloggers are renegades and radicals. Bloggers are making changes. Bloggers are revolutionizing journalism. And some bloggers are very brave.
ABC News named bloggers the people of the year. They cited bloggers’ photos and reports from Indonesia on the tsunami as giving us the first real reports on this tragedy.
We live in a time when the mainstream media has sold out, quite literally. When the major advertisers now control and own the media outlets, we have to be especially on guard about what we read and what we hear.
As a result, we get watered down versions of news stories or we do not even get to read about some items that may be deemed too controversial.
Ah, but no one owns the bloggers — yet.
I read with interest a blog called Baghdad Burning. A woman in Iraq wrote about conditions in her country. She managed to do her blog whenever she could get a dial tone on her phone, which occurred sporadically, and then with electricity going on and off with regularity, it is a wonder anything came out on the Internet at all.
She fears if she does not leave Baghdad soon, she will not get out. She said most of her friends had either left or were getting ready to leave before the borders were shut down the week before the elections.
Where could I have read that real account in the mainstream media?
I am not naive. I know that what a blogger writes may be suspect, but when a story is buried, a blogger can resurrect it.
Take the case of Russ Kick, a book editor. According to Time, Kick filed a Freedom of Information Act request for pictures of coffins from Iraq after learning the military was limiting access to such photos. The Air Force sent him a CD of 361 coffins which he posted on his blog site. The article stated the national press, “beat a path to Kick’s door.”
Every day I hear a blogger story — in the mainstream media. I predict within a very short time, blogs will run the risk of becoming mainstream. And the sell-out has already begun.
Google offers the largest free blog site on the Internet at Blogger.com, which is the site I use. They have just begun offering bloggers the chance to make money off their site by hosting banner ads. Every time someone clicks on the ad, the blogger gets paid. I fear it will not be long before bloggers will become the publishers who bow to the pressure of the beckoning dollar.
I may not have known what a blog was two months ago, but I’m hooked, although not sold.
I promise you will see no ads on my blog site.
But you might see a different me.
Patricia’s blog site is http://writesuccess.blogspot.com.