Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Small Town Blog Wars Revisited

Oh, politics and religion, what rich meals they do make! There are a few anonymous comments on these blogs about sex, too, since we have one (count it, ONE) naughty store in town with books, toys and videos. I think I read a comment about a “full service” massage parlor, too, but I’m easily confused. Or at least easily amused.

Nevertheless, blog wars are a’cookin’ in my diddly poop town. We have a good Christian idyllic town blog, PosMo, which, far from being completely saccharine and obliviously positive, has instead a missing sense of irony, which results in posts about how crappy the town is and how we can fix it. It also offers occasional pompous hypocrisy to the readers and commenters to “keep it positive”. A sarcastic counterblog, which points out some of the glaring inconsistencies at Posmo in an occasionally funny way, particularly with visual scorn, is CounterPosMo .

Then we have the “objective” blog, which thus far has spent most of its electrons on bashing the local newspaper. It needs bashing. I can’t figure out if there are no grownups working at the paper or if everyone they hire is just so damned incompetent that they come off as drugged out rejects from spelling and grammar bees. Read more at SkepMo.

We have an angry philosopher at HypMo who apparently had a point to make and then quit philosophizing, and we have the reserved, “we’re above it all” issue blog DocMo. DocMo purports to be trying to expose the corruption in our local hospital. Well, they’re kind of exposing it, except they really don’t want to expose it because that would be a “media circus” which, being so reserved and lofty, they’re above doing. So, I guess it’s more of a specialized venting blog.

If you want to get down and dirty and call a spade a spade, there’s SledgeMo , where you’re more likely to find a little hard-hitting reportage and attitude sorely missing from our local paper. Speaking of which, the Morris Daily Herald has three utterly useless personal massage blogs, linkable through here on the right hand side of the page if you scroll down a little. SledgeMo has mastered the art of small town snark and provides a forum for additional snarkage, which is strangely interesting.

Slicker and sleeker, and clearly more experienced in designing a blog, is an “I’m running for office because I’m swell” blog, MercMo . In contrast, we have MumbleMo, a blog that was probably intended to show the reasoning behind Good Old Boy decision making, but winds up with its feet tied up in its own lousy, long-winded and ultimately boring-as-all-snot writing. Short, declarative sentences for the general public, peeps – I’m just sayin’, y’know?

The oldest of these blogs is SkepMo, starting in February of 2006 with 72 posts to date. Most of the others, well, all of the others, are only a couple of months old with, generally, fewer than 10 posts. A couple of them are already moribund; the blogger has seemingly adequately expressed his or her motivating opinion and has nothing more to offer. I look at the rest of these blogs, and I see blogs that will die, probably pretty quickly, when either the blogger has finished venting or finds their issue resolved.

That causes me to look over my own blog, the only personal, individual blog that I’ve found from my town, and assess some things. When and why did I start blogging? What are my underlying motives? How am I doing? What’s the likelihood of longevity, here in this ephemeral medium?

In general, I think I’m doing pretty well. I’ve been blogging for about a year, and I’ve generated nearly 500 posts, about half of which are odd or dead words or some German idiom, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted those as my sole entry for the day – they’re usually accompanied by some personal verbiage. I’ve skipped weekends so as to have a life, and a couple of times I’ve had to take a longer vacation and put more time into that life to keep it chugging along. And, still, I write. I’ve had a lot of positive comments, I haven’t dumped any comments except for spam, and one of my posts has transitioned into print media.

I started blogging at the urging of some e-quaintances on a mail list. I was probably holding forth a great deal on that list and either they hoped to deflect me or encourage me to hold forth in a more accessible forum. I could have chosen to not do so just as easily as I chose to do so. In the past, I have had some success in writing for print media – usually a niche market, predominantly domestic humor. I found, much to my surprise, that I was even briefly mentioned in a dissertation on domestic humor, which made its way to mass market publication, “Merry Wives and Others”, which put me in august company, indeed. I’ve written random posts to various email lists for nearly 20 years now, and a number of them have been picked up for use in newsletters, Mensa publications and websites, and I’ve taken other posts, turned them into essays and those have gotten published, too

But, life interfered with what could have been an increasingly engaging pseudo career from home. I’ve lost my voice from time to time, and then, via email, I find it again. Blogging offered me an opportunity to revive my voice and take more control of keeping it in tune and in practice, so I did.

I have hopes of keeping it up. I could be doing more things better – I could be aggressively linking elsewhere, attempting to seek syndication, really dogging for more exposure. Maybe further along the road, I will. For now, I’m singing my writing scales until I’m comfortable with them.

And, there’s something I’ve noticed about blogs in my Internet treks. Issues blogs die young and without warning, like car crash victims. They run out of steam. Snarky blogs die even faster because, I think, the bloggers find out that snark is not very interesting, not even to them, after a few posts. Small political blogs, and even big, famous ones, make themselves easy to ignore because of spin. The blogs that last have humor, insight and human interest which help increase their hit counts. More importantly, they last because the bloggers write. It’s wonderful having a readership, even nicer having an increasing readership, and writing is an asynchronous form of communication, without question. But the real motivation, the real key to longevity, is how much the writer wants to write. And I do, it’s as important a part of who I am as the other hats I wear – mom, knitter, gardening nincompoop, Mensan, parrot owner, wife, and so on.

So, I’ll be here for some time more, and I hope you will be, too. And, if your town doesn’t have any blogs, feel free to visit those from my town; maybe they’ll make you laugh, groan, or start one of your own.


carlie said...

i just wanted to let you know how much i look forward to your blog posts, whether political or personal.
several months ago, a livejournal mensan linked your mensa post to our community. after reading that entry, i continued browsing your blog, found it completely fascinating and well-written, and syndicated it into LJ.
yours is one of my favorite blogs. mainly, i think, because you take various moments in your life, reflect on them, and expose the deeper issues that they contain. it's the way i try to live my life and i appreciate that you do it so eloquently.
keep blogging!

BoS said...

Thank you; that's very kind of you and means a lot to me!

Silence said...

Well I like to read your blog.
Its interesting to read somebody else's opinion and perspective on our fair Morris here as well as life in general.

Anonymous said...

PosMo & CounterPosMo both link to PosMo.

Just thought you'd like to know

Kathryn said...

I discovered your blog today, just in time to see this reflection. Your experience sounds much like mine, so it was great to see a fellow blogger's words of encouragement. I also started blogging about a year ago, and have written over 500 posts on a variety of topics. As a parent of teens (girl-15, boy-13), my posts often pertain to teens, but it's rare to find another blogger who actually has kids out of elementary school.
Anyway, keep up the great work. I've added you to my blogroll, and plan on keeping up with your blog.
- Kathy
PS - Your town sounds like a HOOT! As we'd say here in L.A., "Write the screenplay!!!"

Brigitte said...

Town blogs never even occurred to me, now I'm a little afraid to see if my town has any!

BoS said...

Thank you for the kind words. I'm looking forward to visiting your blog.

Anonymous said...

Your town is cool to have so many bloggers!