Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Using Blogs Wrong"

Perhaps I use blogs wrong. I'm not too worried about it, I'm just mentioning it. The word itself... Usually I'm big into etymology, but this time I didn't sit a moment with the origin of the word ("this time" meaning when I first created a blog).

So today in hope of clarifying my existence and perceptions, I went to look.

William Safire wrote
Blog is a shortening of Web log. It is a Web site belonging to some average but opinionated Joe or Josie who keeps what used to be called a ''commonplace book'' — a collection of clippings, musings and other things like journal entries that strike one's fancy or titillate one's curiosity. What makes this online daybook different from the commonplace book is that this form of personal noodling or diary-writing is on the Internet, with links that take the reader around the world in pursuit of more about a topic.

and Anders Jacobsen wrote
Weblogs are personal, online publications that can include links to news stories, opinion pieces and commentary, used for everything from personal journals to intercompany notes to supplementary news on major media sites

So I feel better. Because I'm using blogs all kinds of ways.

What has brought this momentary angst upon me was reading in someone's unschooling blog that she usually doesn't journal on her blog, but... and then she told some personal stories. WHOA! That's about ALL I do on this blog. But then I remembered what I've done instead of use a single blog with labels and categories is to use separate blogs for separate things.

I'm used to having separate lives because of the SCA. I have my Ælflæd of Duckford life, and for that I have clothes and dishes and jewelry and hair-dos and friends that Sandra Dodd doesn't use. And Sandra Dodd has Rolling Stones albums, plastic hair clips, jeans and hiking boots that Ælflæd of Duckford has nothing to do with. So when it came to internet sharing and storage, it wasn't hard for me to keep my SCA and "real life" separate. But then I have unschooling—not just what we do at home, but the analysis and examination I share with my best online intellectual buddies who also like to comb through ideas and outcomes and glean truths and principles.

I had some early webpages, and they were rough and slow and useful but not vibrant. People were on dial-up and the best thing to do with my stuff was download and read later, pretty much. But things change. And I have an extensive and evergrowing webpage. From the first, I knew there needed to be separate paths to those three aspects of myself. And so it looks like this:

The first blog I had was through my own site, but it was spammified constantly and kind of a pain to get into to edit. And all that blog had was announcements of new unschooling pages on my site. It's still there.

In the Spring of 2005 had an idea for a collection that had nothing to do with any of my three major life divisions. That blog is called Biochemical Love, and is a beacon and antenna for others who might be interested in sharing those parts of song lyrics and other related writing that hold clues to the biochemical aspect of love, and how it is experienced and communicated. Love: Romantic Biochemistry. What's new and cool there is that since it was initiated, it has become increasingly easier to embed a player for a single song, and so it's wonderfully richer. It doesn't get much traffic, but that's just fine. It's a good place for me to have my collection where others can find it someday, or where I can find others with similar interests. It's the VLA of my webpages, and the responses might not even arrive in my lifetime, but for posterity, there it is.

Most of my online writing over the years has been done on user groups, message boards and email lists. Those conversations are the live part, the exchange, the opinion-and-feedback places. Or they were, each in their turn, the edge of where such things were happening. And some of the best writing happens in an emotional state, whether in a fray or a pep rally or a burst of recognition, and some of those "YES! I AGREE!" moments have been saved for posterity on some of the hundreds of pages I've collected about unschooling (and some, similarly, on fewer-hundredish pages about SCA philosophy and practice).

So zigging back to the present, I've created another new blog, for another new interest. The 100 Species Challenge

And zagging back to the topic: I guess I don't feel too bad about having different blogs for different topics, but I did honestly wonder if I was "doing it wrong." I suppose it's okay to use blogs differently. They're like dynamic public notebooks. It certainly makes sense to have more than one notebook.

I started to list all the blogs I have, but I can't. I have little blogs at Family Unschoolers Network and Livejournal and MySpace. If you click the "About Me" on the sidebar you can see the blogs I have (or that I'm in on with others) on blogspot. What you won't see is the one I have as Ælflæd the Anchoress, but it's here. That's my quietest blog, and I have it set so that "Sandra Dodd" can't accidentally post to it. I have to sign in separately as Ælflæd. And what's written there will probably make little sense to those with no connection to or knowledge of the SCA.

So I'm scattered about and none of these is representative of all of my life. This is the map of the moment, though, for any who might like to view other parts for a larger picture.


hahamommy said...

you inspire me in the most unexpected ways! I've taken the leap and done *another* blog for me, too:
So I can prattle about my morning glories and tomatoes AND to post the most beautiful pictures from my recent "Focus on 100 Species" walk with Charlie :)
So far it's just a header, a pretty one, you can subscribe so you're informed when I do get a chance to post ♥

JJ Ross said...

Sandra, you reminded Favorite Daughter and me of Katharine Hepburn today! I don't have a link to her biography but she talks about how the public KH persona is someone else she created, different than and separate from the regular person she is in private daily life. Here's a one-line quote at IMBD:
"Who is Katharine Hepburn? It took me a long time to create that creature."

FavD is heavily into musical theatre so she has many personae she's still creating and refining. Only one blog though -- so far! :)

Cid said...

too f'n cool ;) you have spoken to the scattered parts of me and I am rejoicing with the idea of more blogs... I already have a separate "PC" blog for the extended family (which I made sure didn't get any of my "real" stuff by using a different email address to log in) but why not for every lovin' part of my life?! YOU ROCK, SANDRA D!!

Elisha said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who does this! I tend to scatter blogs all around the internet, usually all on different blogging sites too. I tend to divide them more by intended audience (friends, very close friends, casual acquaintances, strangers) than by topic, though. Although I do use journals specifically for music.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your website today and I think you are an awesome woman! We have been unschooling for over 6 years now and I'm so thankful. I am glad that I have come across your site, thanks for such excellent support and inspiration!

Just Me said...

oh joy, I'm not the only one with multiple personalities on the web! i started a personal blog as hippychickmusings to escape the friends on myspace who would raise an eyebrow at my love for Woody Allen, my curleejoy myspace blog is strictly funny stories about my kiddoes, and I started my unschooling blog to keep track of our daily life, and hopefully inspire others, also as a "so there!" to my family members who say, "huh? how are they going to learn anything like THAT?" so, thank you, i needed some affirmation today!

mandaroo63 said...

I had created a separate blog for an interest in mailboxes and it turned more into my photo blog for all things pretty that I liked to take photos of.
My kids were both inspired to start their own blogs once they saw me updating mine regularly. They don't post as often, but it's fun to see what they find important to blog about...Violet mostly pokemon stuff and Olivia likes to pick pictures I've taken of her with her friends and captions them.
I've often thought of either an anonymous blog where I can write "anything", but I suppose that can be kept in a private journal. Our unschooling blog is mostly snapshots of our lives as unschoolers, thoughts about it, occasionally getting personal, but I try not to...sometimes I end up hitting delete.
I guess one can never have too many find that you have much different readers on each. I like that you addressed/questioned for thought.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm ALWAYS starting some new blog project...perhaps its because it's the "thrill of the start" that motivates me. I LOVE starting new stuff! Finishing's an over-rated skill. :)

Sports Picks said...

oh joy, I'm not the only one with multiple personalities on the web! i started a personal blog as hippychickmusings to escape the friends on myspace who would raise an eyebrow at my love for Woody Allen, my curleejoy myspace blog is strictly funny stories about my kiddoes, and I started my unschooling blog to keep track of our daily life, and hopefully inspire others, also as a "so there!" to my family members who say, "huh? how are they going to learn anything like THAT?" so, thank you, i

Sandra Dodd said...

I'm always glad when my quirky courage inspires someone else to feel fine about mixing life up!

Anonymous said...

Well gosh I'm not sure how I got to read this blogpost almost a whole year later. It's the internet.

And I do not really have much to say other than.. well of COURSE people might have multiple blogs. I have to (yes... I do so there).

The one you inspired was not a very public one and I've since abandoned the thing, I think. It has one lone follower, a real life friend, sympathy following. A spiritual blog.

I have 2 unschooling blogs and a relationship blog too, all which are audience specific.

But overall I'm less a blogger than a commentator online and offline. I have written way more on the Always Learning list and similar lists than anywhere else, the topic being very much the longest ongoing discussion I've ever been party to. And it's been a pretty fun party too.

Sandra Dodd said...

Thanks, k!