Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh to be a Pro Blogger

It takes a lot of hard work to make a lot of money. This is the case whether you make money in mid-town Manhattan wearing a suit and tie or you commute from a recumbent to semi-recumbent position in your bed (my personal office of choice).

Those of us who heeded not the wise, wise words of Dooce

"My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET."
Us idiots, we know the massive negative effect blogging can have on your life.

You have a lack of freedom, can't publish what you are thinking for fear of being connected to those thoughts that you do, in fact, think in your heart. You have to keep in mind your audience, i.e. am I a summer camp counselor or do I work in Residence Life with minors during the summer and would it be bad for them to know that I could potentially be a sexual human being due to sharing of posts from sex blogs?

And sometimes you have to resign from your job because you make a dumb youthful mistake without the benefit of the time afforded by the leisurely past-time of letter-writing, including (but not limited to):
  1. uncapping the pen
  2. finding the notepad
  3. summoning up an envelope
  4. and the saliva
  5. white-outing and waiting for the white out to dry
  6. re-folding to fit it into the envelope
  7. looking up the address
  8. a 20-yard walk
  9. a 36 cent stamp
  10. putting on of pants
BUT, that's not what this post is about.

Earlier this week I replied to a pro-blogging post asking what the biggest mistake people made regarding blogging...most people it was not doing it soon enough, or often enough, not having faith in their own integrity and interest as bloggers (writers+people) that someone wants to hear what they had to say, even if it is your own mom (Happy birthday Mom!)

Now that I have truly adopted the life of a blogger in the past 18 months at this here blog as Elle, now that I am part of the dialogs going on at my favorite sites and articles and am becoming part of the second-lowest faction of internet blogging elite, the technorati if you will, an avid Twitter-er and aggregator of information: my hits are up.

Quantitatively, a more regular blogging schedule and a tiny bit of authority that I've earned from length of time and variety of topics has accumulated a healthy readership (for a personal blog). But qualitiatively, I am an active participant in the online conversations, a subject of posts every once in a while, and have even gotten the attention of a favorite author who I 'blogged about. I've also met some professionals who I would never have gotten in touch with otherwise: case in point is Susan at Hug The Monkey).

I'm pleased that I've been able to be as much of an open book as I have on this blog for the past year. And while I got myself in trouble and learned the hard and dumb way, I find that I'm liberated in so far as I don't want to work for companies who can't handle me being who I am. I have strong opinions that I can't always camouflage into the apathy so endemic to fellow members of my generation.

Am I the person I seem to be on this 'blog? What do you think? A blog entry, just like a photo, is just one moment of one angle of a person. Occasionally it's an insightful art student with her finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. Sometimes it's an angry bitter ex-girlfriend. Often it's an overwhelmed adolescent who just misses her mom and dad and wants people to know what she's up to. And those it's that combination that makes this blog what it is. Could it be more "targeted" towards a "niche"?

I know you guys--my loyal and exclusive following--are only getting glimpses and flashes of memory and experience, and that this blog seems to be just as much about the person I am as the world I live in, but I have grown to truly value the attention you pay me with your time and comments. I value the blank space that this blag has become to me, a place to empty my brain so I can move on.

And even if you stop reading, I know my mom, dad, and twin sister will still remember to check up on me every once in a while.

I don't get paid to 'blog, and that's not because my 'blog isn't interesting. It's because that's not the goal of it. If money was all I cared about, you know I would not be at art school, would not be reading blogs all day. But that's the luxury of being in school, that working part-time and going to class full-time allows just enough time to explore the interwebs and find my place in that realm, as this identity, and to some extent to my identity as a whole. I'm not relying on that right now to make me a living, but one day blagging via satellite phone in the wilderness and posting images or selling evidential sculptures could make me a living, too.

Where do you stand on the subject of blogging as occupation? It's relation to citizen journalism, user-created content, and on-demand media?


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