So, here are my recommendations this year:
- Ruminations. This is C.W.'s blog, a librarian in Perth, Western Australia. I always find something interesting here.
- Vonjobi's the Filipino Librarian. Another librarian blog. I am a librarian, so I am bound to read things in my profession. According to its author, this is a blog for "those interested in knowing more about the Phillippines, Filipiana, Phillipine libraries, and Filipino librarians." Another place for finding something interesting.
- Trisha Reloaded. A blog from Singapore. This is a new discovery for me. I was intrigued by Trisha's recent post about why she hates teaching. A lot of good teachers have moments like she describes. As a teacher myself, I was intrigued, so I kept reading. I think many readers will like to make a stop at her blog as well.
- Ivan About Town. Ivan Henares writes about his travels to various heritage sites. In his blog, he seeks to promote backpacking in the Phillipines. A recent discovery for me, I foudn myself interested in the travel narratives.
- A Bengali in TO. This is the blog of a Bengali in Toronto. I discovered his post about reading the Qu'ran for Ramadan and his decision to not (just) read it. I am lingering to see what else is offered, and I think it makes a good recommendation this year.
Even though they suggest I do this part before the big day, time is a little tight for me, so it has to be today. So, here go my replies:
In advance of that day, we at Global Voices would like to ask our community to help fellow bloggers in different countries get to know you better. We’re finding that people in different countries blog for different reasons, and that blogospheres in different places have developed different kinds of relationships with the rest of their culture, politics, and mainstream media. We’d like to help people understand you and your region’s blogosphere better. So if you have the time, please help us do this by writing a post (or several if you like) before August 31st, answering some or all of the following questions:
- Why did you start blogging?
- What do you blog about mainly?
- Do you blog in your first language or in another language, and why?
- What motivates you to keep blogging even if (like most bloggers) you’re not paid much for it?
- Is your audience mainly inside your own country or around the world?
- What do your family and friends think about the fact that you are a blogger?
- Does your boss know you have a blog?
- What is the relationship between blogs in your country or region and the mainstream media?
- When you blog, how would you describe what you write? Is it part of a conversation? Is it ranting? Is it a daily diary? Is it journalism? Is it some or all of these things at different times? Does the definition matter?
- Have blogs started to have an impact on politics in your country? Have they started to influence what stories get covered in your country’s media? We’d love to know some examples.
- I started blogging for professional reasons. The Gypsy Librarian is my LIS/librarianship blog. I use it as a tool for professional development. It allows me to reflect on my practice as a librarian and an educator. I also use it to reflect and respond to some of the issues in the profession of librarianship. However, it turns out that blogging can be fun as well. To that end, I have a personal blog, The Itinerant Librarian. I use that one for post that are a bit more personal as well as for some humor topics, and for what I like to label as "the things not talked about in polite company." That usually means politics and religion. This one I started just for fun.
- At The Gypsy Librarian, I blog mostly about topics in librarianship, library instruction, academic articles, reading, books, and literacy. It is mostly about things that interest me as an academic librarian. At The Itinerant Librarian, I blog about everything else. In a way, it is my "goofing off" blog that I use to post about things I find amusing. Now and then, I may post something related to politics (very minimal), religion, humor, life in general, reading (often about more controversial things). I think my personal blog is where I show more of my own opinions without caring about what others think.
- I blog in English. However, I have to clarify that English is not my first language. I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, so Spanish is my first language. I have English native fluency since I was raised bilingual. Since I work in the United States, and English is the language of the land, I blog in that language. I am pretty comfortable expressing myself in English, so to be honest, it is not something I have given much thought to. At times though, I have wondered what it would be like to blog in Spanish. However, I would have to find a good tool that allows for the various diacritical marks in Spanish, and I don't want to deal with that at this point in my blogging.
- Indeed, like most bloggers, I am not paid to do this. For my professional blog, it is mostly a tool for me to think about what I do. I also use the blog to make notes on interesting tools, websites, and ideas I find around the blogosphere. It is kind of like a notebook for me to consult later. It is the value of building a record which keeps me going. I also enjoy writing, so that is additional motivation. While I hope there are some people out there who read my blogs, that is not a primary motivation. However, now that I know some people read it (thanks you two), I try to make good posts that they will find interesting (or at least amusing). For my personal blog, it is mostly for my own amusement.
- As far as I know, my family is not aware that I keep blogs. It is not intentional, just something that has never come up. My parents are not really into the Internet, mostly because they don't see as much value in it other than using it to get directions and other short tasks. As for other family members, my better half (also known as the wife) is aware of it, and she thinks it's ok. As for others, some of my coworkers know I blog, and I know of at least two that read my blogs on aggregators. Their feedback has been positive.
- I know my boss reads the professional blog at least since she has mentioned it to me, but otherwise I have no idea what she thinks. In a way, my blogs, for my coworkers, are something I do, but not really spoken about (other than those two coworkers). Neither my coworkers nor my boss have left any comments on the blogs before. My guess is if they want to tell me something, they just come to my desk.
- A lot has been written about blogs and the media in the United States. I may not be the most qualified expert on that topic. My impression is that the mainstream media has a love/hate relationship with blogs, mostly slanted towards hating them and seeing them as a threat. I will say that I often find out about news a lot sooner through bloggers than through the mainstream media. More importantly, blogs provide a balance to the mass produced grind of mainstream media. If you want the corporate line, you read one of the online U.S. newspapers or the websites for places like CNN. If you want actual news, coverage of topics the mainstream fails or neglects to pick up, and some opinions from diverse points of view, you go to the blogosphere.
- Hmm, how would I describe what I write? Maybe, we can go by what it is not. It certainly is not journalism. Even for librarianship topics, I am nowhere near being anyone to break news stories or new grounds. I leave that to some of the A-listers in the biblioblogosphere (that's the term some librarians use to describe the part of the blogosphere where they write and hang out). I don't really do news or politics in my other blog, unless the news fall under the "odd or curious" category, and even then, timeliness is not an issue. So, no journalism here if we look at journalism as being timely and covering important events. Is it ranting? Sure, I do my occasional rant, but it is not the primary voice. For me to rant, I really have to be mad about something. Not a daily diary since I do not post on a daily basis. For The Gypsy Librarian, I aim for three times a week. For The Itinerant Librarian, at least once a week. Yet, I will post at any other time I feel like it. At the end of the day, I cannot give readers a definition of what it is I write, and I don't think definitions matter. As an old saying goes, "my friends need no explanations, and my enemies will not want any explanations." I just write. Something interests me, I write about it. I read something, I review it and/or respond to it. I feel a need to bring attention to something, I do so in whatever small measure I can. It's blogging. You just do it, to quote the Nike ads. Definitions don't really matter. It's what we bring to the posts and what we offer readers that matters. In my case, it's mostly for me. That others read whatever it is I write is a nice side effect.
- I think some of the larger political blogs have some impact on the American political landscape. I think this happens in the sense that more people are discovering these and other blogs. Some of these blogs also take activist roles in getting people mobilized to vote or just to think about various topics. I should say that I try to stay away from politics as much as possible. Not because I lack opinions, but because it seems such a polarizing thing in society. If people need a list of some political blogs, the Internet Public Library offers a nice little list here. Those are A-listers. I will say that I have discovered that the small bloggers in politics are usually the ones to read. Unlike the big guys who mostly cover Washington politics and the same stories over and over, not to mention for the most part they just point to things with minimal or no actual commentary, the small bloggers tend to actually think about the issues and provide some thoughtful insights. They may not get on any lists, but finding them (often by serendipity) makes it worth it.