July 31, 2006

HAVE A GREAT TRIP, GLENN. And thanks for inviting me back. Hi to Megan, Michael, and Brannon.

I’m in the process of returning from a trip myself. I was just in San Jose for the BlogHer conference. Did you know women bloggers have our own meetings? Do you think anyone complained about how male bloggers dominate and how they don’t link to women bloggers? It was nice to be on a panel in front of a large group when someone did, because it gave me a chance to say that hasn’t been my experience at all. Glenn’s name came up.

My panel was about political blogging, and my take on political blogging is that I’m surprised to find myself doing it at all, because I’d never seen myself as the political type, and I certainly don’t blog to push a political agenda. I blog to see what I think and for the sheer joy of self-expression. One of my co-panelists was Lindsay Beyerstein, who might think I’m just posing as the nonpolitical type. She says:

My only regret was that the discussion was more discursive than adversarial. I was hoping for a vigorous debate about the norms of citizen journalism, or the role of the netroots in ’06, or the latest controversies in the political blogosphere. Instead, we focused more on our personal approaches to blogging, our subject matter, and the balance between the personal and political facets of our writing

That amused me, because makes it sound as though we were in some stereotypical women’s mode, but in fact, I read it as a criticism of me. But it wasn’t just me. With our deft moderator Lisa Williams, we really were talking about how we feel about blogging. Maybe some of the conference-goers who opted for one of the other panels — on art and knitting and “transforming your life” and “staying naked” — would have liked our panel more than they thought. And maybe some of those who came to our panel were, like Lindsay, frustrated that we didn’t have more to say about netroots and campaigns.

One thing we did talk about was hyper-local blogging. There are some blogs that are completely focused on one place. Lisa’s blog is all about Watertown. One panelist, Courtney Hollands, writes only about Plymouth. Another, Jarah Euston writes only about Fresno. I’m impressed. I like to write about my city, Madison, Wisconsin, but only as one of many things. Kety Esquivel keeps her focus on a political-spiritual place — she’s progressive and Christian. It takes resolve to fix your perspective like that. It’s not the way I like to blog, but in blogging, there are many paths.

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