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Gregory, Elizabeth [host]; Scott-Hable, Mary [moderator]; O'Connor, Kyrie, 1954- [panelist]; Reagler, Robin [panelist]; Wadwa, Anita [panelist]; Wallace, Latisha Johnson [panelist]. Women Who Blog. 2006. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. April 17, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/living/item/30.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Gregory, Elizabeth [host]; Scott-Hable, Mary [moderator]; O'Connor, Kyrie, 1954- [panelist]; Reagler, Robin [panelist]; Wadwa, Anita [panelist]; Wallace, Latisha Johnson [panelist]. (2006). Women Who Blog. University of Houston Women’s Studies Living Archives Recordings. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/living/item/30

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Gregory, Elizabeth [host]; Scott-Hable, Mary [moderator]; O'Connor, Kyrie, 1954- [panelist]; Reagler, Robin [panelist]; Wadwa, Anita [panelist]; Wallace, Latisha Johnson [panelist], Women Who Blog, 2006, University of Houston Women’s Studies Living Archives Recordings, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed April 17, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/living/item/30.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Women Who Blog
Creator (LCNAF)
  • Gregory, Elizabeth [host]
  • Scott-Hable, Mary [moderator]
  • O'Connor, Kyrie, 1954- [panelist]
  • Reagler, Robin [panelist]
  • Wadwa, Anita [panelist]
  • Wallace, Latisha Johnson [panelist]
Date 2006
Description Video of a panel interview consisting of four female bloggers (Kyrie O' Connor, Robin Reagler, Latisha Johnson Wallace, and Anita Wadwa) and one moderator and fellow blogger (Mary Scott-Hable) . The panelists take questions from the moderator such as questions about the blog's name, the effect that blogging had on one's life, negative experiences, other blogs the bloggers read, time devoted to blogging, distinctions between blogs of men and women, legal issues, and advertising. The moderator also added her own viewpoints, and the audience comments and asks questions.
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas
  • Blogging
  • Women--Blogs
  • Blogs--United States
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • Gregory, Elizabeth
  • Scott-Hable, Mary
  • O'Connor, Kyrie, 1954-
  • Reagler, Robin
  • Wadwa, Anita
  • Wallace, Latisha Johnson
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • interviews
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b4555844~S11
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name 2011_17_042.m4v
Access File Run Time 01:21:02
Transcript Women Who Blog [quiet conversations and laughter] Elizabeth Gregory: Shall I start? Unknown: Yes. EG: Welcome, I’m Elizabeth Gregory. I’m the director of the Women’s Studies program at U of H and I’m happy to welcome you to the third program in this year’s Living Archives series which is sponsored by the friend’s of women’s studies, and this series that has been going on for almost 10 years now, aims to present a sense of a complex history of women’s lives in Houston and of the struggles and changes that are characterized by that history. And our interview format was developed as an extension of the Women’s Archive at the University of Houston to serve students, scholars, and the Houston community as a whole. And the focus of the Archive, which is located in the M.D. Anderson library on the main campus at UH is on both oral histories of Texas women and the papers of Houston area women’s organizations. So if you are a member of a women’s organization or know of one that you think should be documented in the Women’s Archive, please let us know about that organization or give us a contact and we will be happy to go talk to them about having their papers archived there. And the virtue for the organization of having their papers there is not only that their papers are accessible to the wider audience, but frequently become accessible to the organization itself. If they’re stored in boxes in someone’s garage or something. They can come to find them in the Archive. The Living Archives series provides a means of focusing the public’s awareness on the need to document women’s history as well as the Women’s Archive. And the Friends of Women’s Studies support the Women’s Archive, or Women’s ARC as it’s sometimes called. If you’re not a Friend, please consider joining. There are membership forms available and one of the member benefits is free admission to the living archives series. And after the panel today, we’ll have a reception with wine and cookies and chance for further conversations, so please stay after. And, as I said it’s the third and the final for the academic year, in this year’s series, but please join us next year for the Living Archives panels on dates yet to be announced and on subjects yet to be selected. So if you have an idea for a panel discussion, also those are welcome. This year we’ve had Women and Fashion, Women and Nursing, and Quaker Women’s Activism. And this year, oh today, on blogging. [chime of an internet messenger]. And our panelists tonight will offer a variety of perspectives on their experience as women who blog! Which sounds very dangerous somehow. [laughs] [laughter from all] EG: Which is a whole new dimension of human interaction, not just women’s interaction and we’ll find out what moved them to engage in the world this way and how they like it, and what happens to your private life when you maintain a public diary, that’s my question! [laughs] [loud laughter from all] EG: Anyway, I find it really interesting, but maybe I just want to blog! [chuckles from all] EG: Our moderator, Mary Scott-Hagle, has many lives. She was going to tell me what her bio was, but she failed to do so. [chuckle] [loud laughter from all] EG: I know what she used to do. She used to be a teacher and an architect, and the Alley Community Affairs Director and now she works for Parents.com as their… Mary Scott-Hable: Community Manager. EG: So she has a very active, uh… internet life. [chuckles] [laughter from all] MS: Among others. EG: So, she is our moderator. Latisha Johnson Wallace, is a 22-year-old college senior, graduating in December with a BA in Communications from Prairie View A & M, and she’s an aspiring journalist and teacher and former news editor for The Panther which is a student public at Prairie View, so maybe you should talk to Carrie, maybe you have already. [chuckles] EG: She’s an amateur poet, film-maker and philosopher, and a member of Shady Acres Church of Christ in Houston. And she’s been blogging since 2001, when she was a junior in high school. Her interests include writing, movies, music, politics and a good healthy debate with her best friends. [chuckles] EG: Kyrie. Is it (“Q-ree”) or (“Q-ree-ay”). Kyrie O’Connor: Kyrie (“Q-ree”). EG: Do Features people come up to you and sing. KO: Only my sister gets to call me (“Q-ree-ay”). [laugh] EG: [laugh] They don’t sing masses to you? KO: They do. [laugh] [loud laugh from all] EG: She’s the depute managing editor of Features at the Houston Chronicle. She’s recently moved to Houston. She’s a home owner. This is from your [loud laugh] EG: blog. [loud laugh from all] KO: [loud laugh]I must have written that when I just bought a house. [loud laugh] EG: She has a dog and a cat. [chuckle] [chuckles from a few continue] EG: She’s a hapless traveler and a bad commercial TV addict. And her blog started as a daily memo to her staff KO: Yes. EG: and has since morphed. Robin Reagler: Oh, that’s cool. EG: Robin Reagler keeps two blogs. One is called the Other Mother and the other is Big Window. The Other Mother is a mommy blog with a twist. Her family has two moms and two daughters. She’s the other mother. Some people call her pad, Girrrl. Girrrl. With lots of r’s. Big window is an interactive journal, a space for conversation about poetry and other things. Bills, film, music, and art that capture the imagination, and her poems and essays have been published widely. She has a Ph.D. She is the executive director of Writers in Schools. And Anita Wadwa is a teacher at …. Anita Wadwa: Lee High School. EG: Lee High School in Houston and she’s about to leave Houston to go to Harvard to get her E.Ed. Ed.D. Education doctorate. And she enjoys writing, reading, dancing, and blogging. And how long has your blog been? AA: Oh, less than a year. Couple of months. RR: Over two years. KO: Yeah, a little over two years. EG: And so Latisha is the one with the most experience. [chuckle] [loud laugh from all] EG: And I better stop here. Please join me in welcoming our panel. [clapping] MS: Thank you very much Elizabeth. And I’m delighted to be here. You know, I meant to do a lot research and have a lot of great facts, but I think probably everybody knows that the word blog is a contraction of “web-log.” You all didn’t know that! [chuckle] Alright. And it has given rise – it worked pretty well as a prefix as in, blog-o-sphere, which is the word for the general community of bloggers on the internet and probably there’s lots of other vocabulary that I’m going to learn from you all. It’s also given rise recently to the term vlog which is even harder to say and that’s a video web log. And I have a 15 year-old cousin in Welsley, Massachusetts who’s vlog has won awards an gets a lot of attention. That’s really for the young people, I have to say. [chuckle] [chuckle from audience] MS: But I have to say it’s really wonderful to have all of you here and I wanted to give you an opportunity to just introduce yourself further and tell us in particular why your blogs are named what they are. I think we know Kyrie’s story, so you can just fill in whatever you like there, but [chuckle] some of the URLs are not easily explicable. And we’ll just start from here and we’ll kind of go back and forth, up and down. AA: Okay. Hi everyone. My blog’s called Out of My Butt [chuckles from all] AA: and I’ve been teaching English for 5 years and whenever my students are writing or answering questions they tend to act, like if we’re reading Hamlet, “Oh, this happened.” “Where’d you get that from.” “I don’t know.” And I’m like – I always tell them, “Don’t write out of your butt.” Don’t take the answer out of your butt. It should come – it should be thought out. And it was like a joking kind of phrase, and so when I started my blog I didn’t want to write like a very serious blog because – well I used to write a lot more than I do and then I started getting chronic migraines and I started to write. And so I have a novel that I started but it’s just sitting there, and all my writer friends are like, “When are you going to write. When are you going to write!” And I’m just like, “I teach all the time, and I really enjoy teaching, and I come home and I don’t really have the energy. And it’s hard for them to understand because I look healthy. And so – but I really wanted to write something fun, and like healing, and humorous basically. And so, it’s just pretty silly name and it also has a lot of bodily humor and that’s why I sat there, physical. [laughter] RR: Well my blog is called the Other Mother, I’ll talk mostly about that one tonight. And as Elizabeth said, my family has two moms so my partner is the birth mother and I am the other mother. That’ s where the name came from. I started the blog about the week before our first child was born and thought that I was starting it as a, sort of a gift to my family. None of my family or my partner’s family live here in Houston and so I thought they would want to follow along and see pictures and you know, see their grandchildren growing up or whatever. It turned out actually very different. They, none of the grandparents even seemed to be able to locate the blog! [loud laughs from all] RR: They don’t know how to do a bookmark. And when they DO make a bookmark, they don’t know where it goes. [chuckle] [loud laughs from all] RR: But even the younger generation in my family, I don’t think any of them ever check it unless I send them the link in the e-mail and you know, “click here!” [chuckles from all] RR: And so it just took off in a totally different direction. That’s how projects often do that, you start with one idea in mind and they turn into something else. There are people according to the little hit counter that do read the blog, they’re not related to me. [chuckles from all] MS: And I’d just like to interject, that some pieces from Robin’s blog are now part of a book, called “Confessions of the Other Mother,” which was just published by the Becon Press. I saw it in Barnes and Nobel in New York, which means you should rush out and get it on your way home. [mumbling from some] RR: [soft chuckle] MS: Kyrie? KO: Oh, well my blog is called MeMo and I didn’t name it. It was the first blog that the Houston Chronicle put up on it’s website, Chron.com. And it was just partly because it was an easy thing to do because I already wrote a memo to my staff everyday. Memo, get it? MeMo. The guy who is the editor for my blog said, “Well, let’s call it MeMo.” And I said, “Ugh. Fine. Whatever.” [laughs from all] KO: [chuckle] because I didn’t think it would last more than a little while, so I didn’t really think about what the name would be or that I would have to live with it forever. And my blog is on the Chronicle’s website and I’m an editor at the Chronicle which makes it a little more complicated because it’s on a website of a major publication, and I work for that publication so, even though it’s somewhat personal, you know – and the restrictions right away were kind of, fairly huge. Like, “DON’T give any opinions that will be controversial!” and “DON’T talk about politics!” [chuckle from one on panel] KO: So, that immediately put it into a whole realm that was fairly there already, and basically because it’s of bad TV commercials. [chuckle] [chuckles from some] KO: But it’s really more than that, and it’s been interesting. But I do find that it’s – one of the hardest things in the whole world is to get a blood relative or anyone you actually speak to during the day. [chuckle] [loud laughing from all] KO: Total strangers seem interested, but people you actually care about, not so much. [chuckle] [laughs form all] KO: But yeah, it’s been interesting. LJW: Um, my blog is called, “Young Negro Girl in America,” but my URL is rosieandlucy.wordpress.com. Rosie is because it’s the name I used my mother. Her name’s not Rosie. But I told her she had a split personality, so when she was tripping or whatever, I would just call her Rosie, though she asked me to quit doing that. And Lucy is my two-year-old little cousin. Her name’s Amber, but I call her Lucy. [laughs from all] LJW: It just flows to call her Amber-Lucy and she loves it so those were like the two top people in my life and I don’t know, hey Rosie and Lucy! I can’t call my mom Rosie anymore but I can always have it on my blog. And I really started my blog my junior year of high school because I’m a very, very opinionated person and my friends weren’t listening to me anymore. [laughs from all] LJW: So, I was like, “That’s fine. You don’t have to listen to me verbally, but you will read what I write eventually you’ll just be dying to know what I write because I’m going to talk about you, you… [loud laughs from all] LJW: So you’re going to want to know what I’m saying.” And since I’m a better writer than I am a speaker. But, that’s basically why I am. Like a said, my blood relatives don’t really read it. They do sometimes, but I always just say my comments when they read it, so that they can’t say anything. [chuckles from some] LJW: But complete strangers read and they – I’ve had some good comments and bad comments, I really don’t care. I like healthy debate because I say whatever I want to say from the internet, or in class, or in public, or wherever. So it’s just another place to restate my thoughts. MS: So how has blogging, I don’t want to say, changed your life, but I suspect it has. [chuckle] so how has it affected your outlook, your everyday experience, and as a second part to that question, what motivates you to keep blogging. Have these changes been encouraging or discouraging. Talk about that. AA: Um, I was just having a conversation with my friends who don’t read my blog, and I was referencing things like one of my students was on the news. And I was like, “Yeah, you know Shawana?” “And they’re like, “What?” I was like, “You know on my blog.” “No, I don’t know.” Ughhhh! So then I have to re-tell them. And then I was talking about something else and I’m like, “Oh, you know this.” And they’re like, “No.” And I was like, “You read my blog, I wouldn’t have to restate this!” [chuckles from some] AA: And so it hasn’t changed my life except that I have this high expectation that everyone should be reading it because I used to be on Friendster and it does send you a link, like “here it is!” And so they don’t have do to any work. And so they would read it, and then I moved because there were too many pop-ups and now no-one reads it. And so, basically it’s for me. It’s changed my life in that I don’t write the way that I used to and I really miss it, and so if I feel like something makes me laugh I feel like, “Oh, okay. I want my friends to read this.” I’m trying to entertain them, and it is for my own amusement, primarily. And it’s also like a document. Like, I write a lot about my students, and I put pictures of them, but I don’t write anything personal really, because I feel like it’s the internet, and if I don’t want people to read it, then I’ll just write it in a journal at home. So, I guess it’s changed my life in that I’m writing again. Unknown: Mmm hmm. RR: Well for me, I – most of my writing life I have always been a poet, and I don’t know how many of you go out and buy books or literary magazines to read poetry, but almost nobody does [chuckles from a few] RR: so even if there are just a few of you in the room, you’re very rare. And so basically I think any one post on my blog, gets more comments back in writing than probably alllll the poetry that I’ve published all together. [chuckle] [chuckles from a few] RR: So you can imagine how exciting that would be for a poor poet. You know to sort of just write any little funny story, you know… [laughs from some] RR: and to get people sort of writing back and saying things and asking questions. So I think, for me, I mean the audience part is what’s exciting about the blog. I think, as far as what I’ve gotten out of it, you know as a lesbian parent – I know lots of people who are parents but really I don’t have too many friends who are lesbian families and I think one of the things that it has done for me is that I know lots of people who have families just like ours. I have met some of them, and most of them I have not met, but it’s a community thing. It’s kind of like, one time my partner had mastitis, you know, [chuckle] and I don’t even think I even wrote it in a blog, I think I wrote it back to somebody, but she wrote back and she was like, “CALL me! Call ME! I am the Queen of Mastitis!” [laughs from all] RR: “I can HELP!” You know, things like that. It’s just kind of neat. I think most of the people who read the blog are parents. They’re not necessarily lesbian parents, they’re all sorts of parents, but it sort of feels like a peer group. [brief pause] KO: Um, I think – Oh, I actually have a great story about how it’s changed my life, even though it really hasn’t changed it all that much. [chuckle] [chuckle from a few] KO: When I first started my blog, I suddenly realized that this is the way that everybody you ever knew in your life could ever find you even if it’s an unintended consequence. And, I had this guy write to me and said, “Maybe you remember me. I believe we went out on a date. [chuckle from a few] KO: when I was a senior in high school.” And he said, “Perhaps you’ve always wondered why I didn’t ask you out again.” [laughs] [loud laughter from all] KO: [laughs] And I thought, “You know, I haven’t spent a lot of my time, wondering that, [laughter from some] KO: but it has crossed my mind.” And it was very sweet, he said, “I just wanted you to know that I was too shy. Audience member: Awww. KO: It was too overwhelming. I didn’t really know what to do about dating and I just couldn’t deal with it so I just never called you again.” And I thought, “You know, that’s been a long time coming, but [loud laughs from all[ KO: I’ve moved on from that, but it’s good to know. LJW: Umm, I might have the worded answer, but blogging hasn’t changed my life at all. It doesn’t interfere. [chuckle] I can say that it has enhanced, because it’s always good to be always writing so that you can stay on top of your game. And as an aspiring journalist when I write for the paper I have to be unbiased, and on my blog I can say whatever I want, even if it contradicts what I said at the newspaper. But it hasn’t changed my life. I keep a personal journal at home and my blog is just for my opinions or whatever, not my personal thoughts, basically. MS: Well that leads into my next question, which is how do you decide what goes into your blog? Where do you draw the line? Are you conscious of the choice when you’re writing, do I really want to say that? Or how does that work? AA: Um, yeah, I don’t use profanity for example – well I do, but I put stars, because some of my students have read it, plus I don’t want to just come off as a crazy lunatic who RR: Writing F-that all the time?! AA: Writing out of your butt. [laughter from all] AA: And, what else? I try to keep it positive. Like, I try not to use it as a place to slander anyone or put anyone down because I feel like that’s cheap. Audience member (Kate):Is this the time to ask questions or should we wait? MS: Umm. Go right ahead Kate. [chuckles from all] Kate: When you said you try not to, would you comment about that – when you say you try not to. AA: Yeah. Kate: Does that mean that you do sometimes? AA: No. Kate: But not always? AA: Do I? I don’t, right? RR: No. AA: No I don’t. I don’t. I try not to, meaning I don’t. [chuckles from a few] AA: I feel like if I have to vent about a personal thing, I’ll do it with my friends, one-on- one who I trust. I’m not going to put it on the internet. I think that’s – personally, that’s just not how I want to come off as, I guess. MS: And did you have that in your mind going into this? AA: Yeah, I said, “I want this to be a place where, basically I crack jokes.” I make myself smile, I make someone else smile. And I think there is a place for venting, especially when it comes to politics, like I have lot of venting to do. [chuckles from a few] AA: And I do put political stuff on there, like we’ve done a lot of immigration stuff at Lee. But I usually just put it on – I’ll say, “Come to this rally.” And that’ s it. I mean, I put my political opinions on there, but I try not to be very negative because, just for my own health I can’t afford to be venting and ranting. That’s my only stipulation, it’s got to be – I don’t want to say light because it has crossed over into the serious, but just has to keep in that vein. Kate: You mentioned your students. Who are your students? AA: Oh, I teach at Lee High School. Kate: These are high school students that you talk about your butt? AA: Huh? [laughs from some] AA: Did I talk about my butt? [more laughs] Kate: Coming out of their butts. AA: Oh, no I talk about, like stories that have happened with them or some of them perform at Rice, and so I’ll have pictures of them performing. Basically interactions with them, like little playful interactions with them. [brief pause] RR: Okay, for me, I think politics are okay on my blog and they’re not so positive often. Uh, lets see. I will say like, - I’ll complain about like how all those baby cribs are to put together. [laughs from all] RR: There are things like that. [chuckle] Those are the kind of negative things I say. I’ll never say anything critical of a person that I know or, you know. Basically I’m not trying to create some kind of confrontation that’s in my life. In other words, if I have a confrontation with somebody, I’m just going to talk to them. I’m not going to sort of stick it in my blog and see how big it blows up, that sort of thing. Um, I guess for mine too, there’s a way in which the whole sort of really kind of anti-gay mood of our country is something that I’m conscious of when I’m writing the blog. And so, I really – sometimes I feel like a cheerleader for lesbian families or something. [chuckles from few] RR: I pretty much put a positive spin on everything and you know, I talk about some problems, but I’m pretty careful about that. I think one of the problems I talked about a lot was my dog, was biting my daughter [chuckle from some] RR: and eventually we had to give the dog away. It sounds funny, but it’s very, very, very sad for me. It’s really one of the most difficult things I ever had to do was give up this dog. And that was one of the things, it was hard but I talked about it on the blog. And actually people were super! They were so helpful and nice and stuff like that. And so that was the kind of thing I did talk about. But I guess I don’t want my blog to be something that my children [chuckle] will google and be horrified. [chuckles from a few] RR: I try to think about what it might mean to them in the future and basically I try to make sure that there’s not going to be any record of anything that they’re going to be uncomfortable with. [brief pause] KO: Yeah, I had some – I don’t know if this has happened to anyone else – but I had some kind of bizarre experiences when I first started blogging. I think partly because it was very public, you know Chron.com website. And I’m not making a political statement here because these are self-described right-wing bloggers. But some right-wing bloggers that are seized on my blog and criticized it in their own blogs and made comments that were, I mean REALLY ugly. I remember one of them, I got really irri[table] – I mean, I actually posted on this other blog because they said they wanted to hang me from a radio tower and watch me fry or something. [loud gasps from audience] KO: I mean I just said, “You know. That’s just wrong!” [laugh] KO: [chuckle] I mean it’s wrong from my point of view, but it’s just wrong generally. And they were very – I think it was partly because people weren’t, you know, not that there’s a lot of civil discourse in blogs, but I think that things have moderated somewhat and at that point it was still sort of extreme talk was really favored and it was also I think somewhat more unusual to hear a woman’s voice. And that was something that they really seized on. I even find now that some of these blogs if I express any kind of – if I think I’ve gotten a little worked up over something and I don’t do anything political or anything like that, that they’ll pick up something I’ve said and say, “Oh, look she’s getting all crazy again, or she’s hesterical, you know and instead of taking my opinions for what they are, or you know, taking my emotions for what they are they sort of lapse into this stereotypical description of what women – “Oh, she must be having a hormone issue.” [chuckles from a few] KO: And, you know I found that really unbelievably offensive and difficult to work through. LJW: Can you read the question again? [laughs from all] LJW: Um, what was the question? Unknown voice: How do you choose? MS: Yeah, How do you choose what goes up and what doesn’t? LJW: Well, in the beginning it’s always been about my opinion. I remember I wrote one entry about my mom going through menopause because she was really, you know, getting on my nerves. [chuckles from a few] LJW: She – I don’t even know how she got my link, because she’d never read my blog before but she read that. [laugh from a few] LJW: And, she printed it out and I came home from college one day and she was like, “So, this is what you’re sending everyone.” “Well they can see that. When you go to the grocery store and you do it,” I said, “it’s something and it’s public. You act like this anyway.” [laughs from audience] LJW: So, I thought, let me not put personal things on my blog anymore, unless they’re like happy things like my friend and I going garage saling and we’re going to put those pictures up or something like that. Well, basically it’s just sticks with what I read in the news and my opinion about. Politics, religion, culture. Anything that just – basically anything that my friends and I would debate about in public anyway. So anything I would say in public to someone or if I’m having a conversation, I’m going to put it in my blog, but personal intimate things or relationships. I’m trying to stay away from family stuff. I write that in my other journal. But if it’s something I have no problem saying in front of everyone in here, then I’ll, you know, put it on my blog. And as far as negativity, um, well it’s my opinion, so I kind of feel like it’s my blog so if they don’t want to read it they don’t have to read it. So, some things they may be negative. Some things might be positive, but I try to be open-minded and try to have both sides, and then draw, you know pros, cons, and then this is what I think, whether you agree or disagree. MS: Has anybody else had a negative experience, like Kyrie? LJW: I’ve had e-mails sent to me saying, “You’re just so wrong and you should think this way, and this way. I’ve never had anyone threaten me, but I have had people flood my comments section and we can just go back and forth, back and forth. So I’m like, “Well, if you’re going to put like 50 comments on my thing, why don’t you just start your own blog and say what you want to say.” [loud laughs from all] LJW: “You know, we can debate this all day, but my opinions staying the same and your opinion’s staying the same, so why not get a blog?” MS: Right. LJW: Do what I do. [chuckle] RR: I had this one time on my literary blog, Big Window, where I put up this story that I’d heard kind of secondhand from a friend of mine. It was about this – poet Bill Knot. He’s published lots of books and it was not a bad story, or I didn’t think it was a bad story. It was this exercise that my friend told me, he used to do with students and he would cut their poem in half and give them half of it and have them revise it that way. It was like a revision exercise, and I thought it was kind of fun. I didn’t see it as negative and then after that I posted an exercise where I cut a poem in half and asked people to write a poem out of that one. So I thought it was okay, but anyway, I guess Bill Knot found my blog and found that and whipped this very long thing kind of against it and I wrote him back and I said, “Well, first of all, I’m a big fan of yours. The only things I put on my blog are art, poems, films that I like. Actually, Big Window is not negative. You could think of it as all the things that I love. And so I said, “I’m a big fan and I didn’t really see this as a bad thing you did at all, and my friend who told me this story, you were her favorite teacher of all times. But I said, “You know, I’d be happy to take it down if you like, and so just tell me what you’d like me to do.” And he wrote back this VERY nice [laughs from some] RR: very looong thing, and he didn’t ask me to take it down. And then I noticed today, I don’t know why I noticed, but clicked and clicked and clicked somewhere and he has a blog now. Panel members: Ahhhh. RR: You just don’t know what people are going to say and I think sometimes too, I get like sort of semi-pornographic things on the other mother. I think they google like, lesbians something or another. [laugh] [laughing from audience] RR: And then they get my blog and then they put this stuff on it, but it’s not like they read anything, they just sort of have been messing around on Google and I just delete it and move on, like I figured it wasn’t about my blog in the first place, it was just something else, and it doesn’t bother me. It really is amazing to me how I’ve gotten really none of that kind of anti-gay stuff that you know you’re evil or a sinner or nothing. The whole time. Unknown voice: Great! [brief pause] KO: I haven’t had anything …. AA: [talking over] My friend is on a Planned Parenthood board and she recently got put on that and I was just saying congratulations to her and I put a picture of her lobbying in Florida and I got a link to a pro-life website. That’s about it. One on panel: Hmm. AA: Like you should check this out. MS: Right. AA: So I did check it out. [chuckles from some] MS: Do you all read other people’s blogs? And just so we get an idea, how much time do you devote to this pursuit, such that we can call you blogger? Anybody can jump in. LJW: Um. Let’s see. I’d say about 3 hour a week really that I – you know, I get up at 6:30 in the morning for some reason, but I get up and I blog and then by noon some new news is happening because I missed it last night and so I devote about three, let me not say devote because I just go on weeks without writing anything, [chuckles from all] LJW: but, about three hours blogging and reading other people’s blogs. I really don’t’ have time anymore so I used to read about eight blogs that I was really, really in to, but I haven’t been able to do that lately, so I used to probably spend about 10 hours a week, but I try to stay off the internet because it can it become addictive, so about three hours do I spend on my blog. KO: Yeah, I spend about an hour a day. I mean I have to read the internet anyway MS: Mm hmm. KO: For work, so that part I don’t count, but yeah, it’s about an hour. I try to do it early in the morning just to get it out of the way. RR: I tend to have no sense of times, so I don’t know if this is at all accurate, but I would say probably about 5 hours a week. And I do read a lot of the other blogs. I have two and so I have a whole blog roll for one, and a totally different blog roll for the other. I don’t know, I feel like for me the blog is kind of a conversation and part of the conversation is listening so I’m sort of constantly going back and forth and seeing what other people have to say. AA: I have about 3 to 5 blogs that I read. 3 are friends, they hardly ever update so it doesn’t take that long. It’s like a couple minutes a day. And then another blog, just like on politics and news so maybe less than 3 hours a week because I don’t have that much time either. MS: Has blogging taken the place of something else, either blogging or reading blogs? I mean, I know I read less newspaper now. Sorry, and more blogs. But what have you given up. What were those 3 hours before? LJW: Um, studying for school. [loud laughs from all] LJW: seriously. I never have watched a lot of TV, but now I know I go days without watching television, which I don’t know if the internet’s any better because it’s still a media outlet. I do read less papers, but they’re online. And then also, when you get blogged they usually give you the link to the article MS: Yeah. LJW: that they’re responding to so you just click the link, you read it. And they have opinions, and it’s just like community debate, you know, from a whole spectrum of people. KO: [chuckle] I don’t’ know where my time comes from. I think I would be spending it on the internet and doing something related to it anyway so it doesn’t feel like any great loss. RR: I don’t write in my personal journal as much as I used to. I think part of the deal is the change is not so much starting a blog but having kids unknown voice: Mmm hmm. RR: because that takes up a lot of time, and then I have like two little journals, one for each child and I write to them [chuckle] and then I have to blog and I write about them. So my journal, I’ve never written so little in my life actually. And then in terms of what I’ve actually given up, well I never watched much television either, but I watch absolutely none. I probably read more news on the web than in the regular newspaper. We still get the newspaper, but I probably do more of that kind of thing on the internet. AA: I might read more. And I was probably just watching junky TV anyway. So I don’t think I’m missing much. I think it’s better that I’m reading on the internet. MS: Do you tell people about your blogs? Are you interested in driving traffic and getting attention for your blogs and how do you do that. AA: I tell people I meet who are my friends. I don’t just tell everyone, “Hey I have a blog.” MS: Mm hmm. AA: But people I meet who we befriend each other and I’ll tell them, “Oh yeah. You know, here’s a blog.” If they’re interested they’ll like reference it later. RR: I guess in sort of marketing my blog I’ve not felt very successful in marketing towards people I actually know. [loud chuckle] RR: some of the people I work with, every now and then I’ll hear say to somebody else, “Oh yeah, haven’t you seen Robin’s blog.” And I’m like, “You read my blog?” [chuckle] RR: They don’t tell me. Maybe that’s part of being the boss. Unknown voice: Right. [chuckle] RR: But I do do things, like I think like having a blog roll and reading all these other blogs, they can actually see in their hit counter, where the hits came from. I think it’s a way of saying, you know I’ve just checked in with you, and you know, you’re going to check in with me. Commenting on other people’s blogs too, a lot of times they’ll read the comments and they’ll see what you’re writing about. It’s not really – I mean, to me it’s not marketing so much as this kind of community thing. You know, say hi! Here I am. But, it is something that I sometimes do consciously to sort of check in with people and the idea’s that they probably will check in with me too. KO: Yeah, I think it’s sort of an interesting debate, the whole idea of whether or not you have the obligation as a blogger to sort of keep that conversation with other blogs going. I actually have this debate pretty regularly with my blog editor at the Chronicle who appears on my blog as Evil Dwight. Evil Dwight, always says that the conversation is the important thing and you know, the more sort of hits and links you do, the better. And the more ways you’re able to sort of reach out and get people to reach back in, that that’s what keeps it going. And his guru is this guy, Jeff Jarvis, who is I think, oh I forget where he is now, I’ve heard him speak twice and he drove me crazy. [chuckle from one on panel] KO: I kind of, - I really don’t necessarily believe that. I think that it’s a little bit artificial to be deliberately reaching out all the time to try and pluck people from here and there. I mean, I think that it’s like water, it sort of seeks it own level at some point. And I’m not interested in massive numbers of hits or being mentioned here. I mean, maybe I should be sort of professionally, but it feels a little bit like prostitution at some point, [chuckles from few] KO: where you’re just constantly seeking this affirmation and I kind of don’t need that. LJW: I didn’t even know anyone read my blog, but that never stopped me from writing. So I don’t market my blog. I don’t tell anybody. They find it, they find it. They don’t, they don’t. I’ve moved my blog about 3 times, so I might have lost a little fan base or whatever, but I just write because I want to. Unknown voice: Mm hmm. LJW: How you found my blog? I always ask them that. MS: Is your blog in fact edited every day Kyrie? KO: Yes it is. MS: Before it’s published? KO: Yeah. That’s kind of a mass media thing. MS: Sure. KO: I mean, it goes through another set of eyes. It doesn’t change very much but it’s definitely read. MS: Are you running some blog ads now? RR: Ads? No ads. MS: It’s possible to subscribe to a service called Blog Ads, and then there are companies that will research the number of hits your blog receives to determine they would like to post an ad, and it’s a pretty small revenue generator, but a blogger we know, paid for her groceries last week. [chuckles from some] MS: Her family of four in San Francisco. So can be income! Does that notion appeal to you? AA: No. MS: No? LJW: Uh uh. RR: I’m … not against it. [chuckles from all] RR: I guess it maybe has a little bit of prostitution in it. Some people are now doing this one where I think you can actually choose the items that are advertised on your blog. MS: Mm hmm. RR: Or sometimes you even blog about an item, but you get to choose it. I can’t remember what it’s called, but I’ve seen some people are doing that now, but I have not gone there so far. KO: One of my favorite blogs that I think sort of – the guy stopped doing it, it’s name was Mr. Pants. [chuckle] [chuckle] KO: [chuckles] it was wonderful sort of quirky blog, and for a while he tried to generate ads for his blog by writing about certain things and seeing if he could get an ad for it. RR: [chuckles] KO: [chuckles] Like he’d write about BIGFOOT to see if a bigfoot ad would pop up on the right-hand side. [more chuckles] KO: I like that idea. LJW: I had some ads on my previous site but 50 cents here and a dollar there it’s not really worth your while so I didn’t keep it. MS: Didn’t keep it. Interesting. [brief pause] If you all have questions please feel free. I know everyone’s very curious about this subject. [chuckle] [chuckles] EG: Do women blog differently? MS: Yeah, are women’s voices in the blogosphere different distinct from men, how so? Where do yours fit in? RR: In my literary blog, Big Window, when I go through the blogs and some are by men and some are by women, to me those blogs feel very different. And, the male bloggers, in sort of literature tend to be – it’s kind of like reading academic papers. And while I did write academic papers for a number of years, some of these professors in the audience can attest to this, I don’t do that on my blog. It’s like the women bloggers in general are writing a different kind of thing. It’s a kind of much more of a conversation. It’s a kind of a discourse, whereas the male bloggers tend to be putting out an argument and they tend to argue with one another [chuckle] and I don’t know, that’s what I’ve noticed. LJW: I actually read more male blogs than I read female blogs. Men tend to – well the ones I read, I can only speak of those, tend to be more technical and straightforward and not really, you know, not uh, what’s the word? It’s their opinion, but here’s the argument and here it is for you. Women, it’s here’s the argument, this is what we should do, and this is how we should do it and here’s some links [chuckle from one] LJW: or whatever to get into the cause. Men are – well the ones I read – men are just well here’s the argument, what do you think? It’s just open. KO: Yeah, I can’t say I’ve really thought about it very much, but when I reflect I think most of the blogs that I read are by men. I mean partly because I think a lot of women, or one of the things I see a lot in women’s blogs is a lot about sort of love life and reproduction, which are important issues, but that’s not what I’m going to write about, and so, I’m looking for things that are sort of cutting edge pop culture, or interesting quirky things. There are some women who I think who do that but most of the people I read, tend to be men and I don’t know why that breaks down that way. AA: My male friends who blog tend to leave out their emotions. They’ll write about things and they’ll try to be funny, but you’ll never see anything real serious or really deeply personal, whereas my female friends tend to be a little bit more personal even if it’s through sarcasm or some other humorous device. MS: Anita, you mentioned putting photos of your students in your blog. That’s not legal! [chuckles] I mean, does that – have you thought about that? AA: I just ask them. MS: You did? AA: I ask them. MS: Yeah. AA: Like, would you be comfortable with this. MS: Right. AA: Yeah, sure. [break in tape] Question 1 from audience (Q1): I was just curious about HISD’s view of that? AA: For my blog? Q1: Mm hmm. AA: Well there’s not inappropriate content on my blog. RR: The one thing she did, was she was telling about her student that won a big scholarship. Graduating senior, and. AA: And that was actually a press release put out by the principal. RR: It wasn’t inappropriate or anything. Q1: Oh, I’m not suggesting. AA: No, I know. Q1: I was just curious. I guess they haven’t considered it – haven’t they found that an issue? RR: HISD has VERY, very strict rules about kids being on the news or in pictures or things like that and in fact I was talking to someone from Channel 2 news and she was telling me they’ll go to any school district before HISD [chuckle] to get footage of the classroom. You know, kids in the classroom or something because HISD has such strict rules about permission. Q1: Mm hmm. AA: It’s basically a media release form. RR: Yeah. AA: And they just have to sign it. RR, AA, MS: Mm hmm. MS: Kate? Kate: So, does that mean Out of My Butt is through HISD? AA: Nooooo! [chuckles from all] Unknown audience 1: No, it’s not. AA: Nooo! Unknown audience 2: You missed the intro. MS: You missed the beginning about Out of My Butt. AA: Yeah. [loud laughs from all] AA: I teach for HISD, and Out of My Butt is not in anyway affiliated with HISD [loud laughs from a few] Q2: So what’s the future, you know, I’m trying out My Space and I had an interesting experience with that and I don’t know how that compares to blogs, but, you know a kid that’s a younger brother or a babysitter, she’s talking about “Party, man!” And all this stuff. You know [it’s] kind of like, God! I just had to stop right there because I didn’t want to know anything else about any other kids we know. [chuckle] I just wanted to keep this angelic vision of them. But, how does all that compare to blogging and what’s the future and where’s this all going? And also, the second question, have any of you met strangers that have read your blog. Just out of the blue, say “Oh, I read your blog.” And you don’t know them. Kate: And then I’d like to complete my question. [laughs from all] MS: Okay, we’ll come right back. AA: The first questions really interesting because there’s a website called Cpixel.com, and a colleague of mine overheard some students talking about things that they were doing, and you know, this website and she checked it out and she was horrified, because our students are on there and I mean, I don’t really know, it’s hard because you’re basically invading their privacy, but I feel like I have to protect them too, because they’re my students and I don’t want them – mainly the females – I don’t want them to present themselves that way on the internet. So I’m not sure what roles teachers are going to have to play. It feels like we are going to have to advocate for them and we’re going to have to do some educating for the parents because I think they’re largely unaware of what the students are posting on the websites. But some parents are up on it, and I think that they are spying on their children thru MySpace, and I’ve heard about that. RR: I think, to me – you asked about the future – and I think there’s always this sort of scary technology issues that are sort of popping up and as parents we’re always sort of challenged by these new things. And I’m sure when telephones came into being, you know everybody was like, “Oh, my god! They’re going to call and talk to each other!” [loud laughs from all] RR: I mean, every time, there’s sort of a different manifestation, now they do their little messages and stuff like that. I know my sister has taken the text messaging – you know, she called the phone company, said, “don’t let me son’s cell phone do this, the cell phone not this, not this!” you know, and thinks, “Well, that’s what you’ve got to do.” This thing about being educated. But, I mean to me, the future, [pours a drink] is just a new form of communicating. A new form of self-expression. And there are a lot of these new forms coming up right now and I tend to be a little bit Pollyanna about it. But I look at it and I see kids who like to write. Like, these blogs, kids are reading, kids are writing. Mehhh, some of it is questionable use of time, but I think there are probably just as many good things as not, and as parents we just have to keep up to speed and create structures for kids that are going to keep them safe. KO: You know, it’s easy to blame the technology instead of the – like looking at the root cause or why a daughter might present herself in a way or why. RR: Right. KO: Someone might be partying the way they are as opposed to – you know, so it’s not the technology. It’s not the movies. It’s not the rock bands. RR: Mm hmm. EG: It’s the parent’s. [loud laughs from all] Audience 1: It’s parents. It’s society. [laughs] Audience 2: There’s such a difference in boundaries though. I mean, so then it is the technology because it has allowed the boundaries to just fall away when suddenly – and you guys are saying you’re not so personal but I mean I think younger kids have no clue what personal is, or isn’t and this is their diary because a lot of them don’t even have journals, I think. RR: I think with the technology, the kids have a comfort level with that technology that many parents do not. And parents are often intimidated, Audience 2: Mm hmm. Right. RR: Or confused by that technology and to me that’s probably more so the issue. And of course for children that makes it all the more empowering, right? Audience 2: Right. KO: It seems to me as if, the whole social connection via the internet is so interesting. I mean, there was a long story in the New Yorker a week or two ago about Friendster and, and – not so much about MySpace. It was sort of a Friendster – it was social connections in colleges and one of the people in the story said, “Do you think we could get this going for nursing homes, because people want to stay connected there too.” So my guess is that it’s all just gonna go across age groups and everyone’s gonna be, you know, communicating that way. MS: But there’s an interesting story, I’ll share it briefly, you know, the future of the web is clearly user generated content and all of the media companies are scared to death! But there are lots of people, they are figuring out ways to make this work - i.e. selling very specific ads for very specific things that will apply to people who that read your blog. And Nickelodeon, there’s a channel called the N, which is aimed at pre-teens. And Nickelodeon has for a long time had online components, or counterparts to its broadcast channels and on the N website, and it’s mostly pre-teen girls. They for a long time, you actually have to be 15 in order to post on the message boards and they were all pre-moderated which meant somebody read every word before it went on the site and there were banned words and if you used any profanity at all your post got sent back and you were you know, “Thank you. Here’s the door and never come back.” Today, there’s no pre-moderation on the N. The posts go right up because it has become a very effective self-monitoring community and anybody who comes up with anything inappropriate is just jumped on by all the other people who are chatting on the N. So, that’s encouraging. And you know, MySpace [deep breath] a whole other thing. [chuckle] Audience members: Yeah. MS: But at least there is this potential for the wonderful communication that is enabled by the internet to allow the best of people to come out as well. Audience 3: May I say something? MS: You may. And then we’re coming back to Kate. Audience 3: Yeah, well actually to disclose that I work for the _______ teachers department, [chuckles from a few] Audience 3: and I don’t think that we’re afraid of a website or blogging or whatever. I just think that for one, they just didn’t understand it because when Kyrie first came and she started the first blog we were talking about it. We were all like, “Uh, what is this thing and why would people be reading it?” And now we understand why people would be reading it. And now we have our e-mails and a lot of our stories so we get unedited responses from people, which is pretty horrifying. [loud laughs from all] Unknown panelist: Yup. KO: Yeah, and the Chronicle has, I forget how many, 80 readers written blogs. Audience 3: That’s right. So it’s like exploded in two years. KO: True. Very good point. Audience 3: [inaudible comment] MS: Kate! Kate: Uh uh. [chuckles from a few] MS: are you sure? I’m sorry. [chuckles from a few] MS: Tiff? Audience (Tiff): It’s really interesting to see how depending on what you’re blogging about or who your audience is, how you might self-monitor, what do you say? And I felt like the women on this side are more careful because you’re dealing with your family or you’re dealing with your students and maybe a little bit willing to be more open to just give like your opinion or whatever. And I’m curious to know what you guys might say to the response that – I think the initial response from people who are negative about blogging was that it was just people - It’s just your opinion out there. It’s kind of that good stuff, just “blah, blah, blah, blah. Here me Roar” kind of thing and people aren’t so informed writers, they’re just sort of writing their thoughts and emotions and what use is that? But I know that might still be going on but it’s also something else that’s happening and I was just wondering if you guys could respond to that criticism. RR: I think that people say that anybody can keep a blog, and that’s certainly true. It’s free. Anybody can start one up, but that doesn’t necessarily continue to write your blog. I mean, there’s only so long that you’re going to write to nobody. [brief pause, then all laugh loudly together] RR: Well, it’s true! I mean, you know to get people sort of coming to your blog and commenting to you and one another that’s sort of a different thing. To me, I don’t think I’d be motivated to continue if nobody ever went to it. LJW: I’m just the opposite. Like I said, I didn’t even think people read my blog but I was still writing because when I do write for, or I used to, write for a newspaper and you’ve got to be SO unbiased. I remember covering our SGA, student government elections, and the person that won, no I never used his name on my blog, but I didn’t think it was the best thing for the school, but I have to go report that story. I have to be unbiased. I have to just give THE facts. Period. Point blank. Stop. On my blog, I can go home, not name the candidate, but then I can just give my opinion and, well I don’t know how many people probably read my blog, but I just felt like okay, I have to do this when I’m at work. Well, I can come home and let me just say whatever I want to say. I have an audience, that doesn’t mean that somebody’s going to be reading it. But usually discussions were just between me and my friends and this is how I felt. And this way, I felt that I was able to give my opinion and people that did read my blog at school – well they can formulate their opinion about the story that I wrote, about what I said, which was probably not fair to that candidate, but I felt that everyone is entitled to their opinion because at the end of the day, I am a journalist, but when I go home I’m just me, that’s just [sigh]. I’m just tired. I just want to say what I want to say. And I remember my editors saying, “Well, how can you keep a blog and be a journalist.” “Well, I’m a blogger here and a journalist here so I just feel you have to have… [break in tape] And I really just wanted some different opinions. That was just circulating in my mind. I could have a whole other opinion because I’m like, “Okay. I hear this side. I hear this side.” And that gives me a more well rounded view of the situation, so that I’m not closed minded. Know what I’m saying? AA: Oh, my friends made fun of me when I started blogging because I’m in a writers group and two of them were like, “What is this blogging? Why are you blogging?” And I’m like, “Well you can read it or you don’t have to.” And like, two of them started a blog now. And my other friend who’s a doctor, he started blogging too. He said from reading my blog. So, I think that’s kind of cool. He’d never make fun of me, but I think people thought, “What is this blog thing?” Which is exactly what I used to think and now they started one and I like their blogs. RR: I think there’s kind of a need for authenticity and on the one hand the internet is full of these zillion blogs, but on the other hand they’re each like a real person, kind of talking and it feels very different from mass media speaking at you and it just seems like we got to a point where our media was not really on target. I mean, there were no weapons of mass destruction, but you know, David Letterman joked about it. “Where is the weapon of mass destruction.” But the news never said that, right? And I think people were looking for something real! I think when y’all have your bi-line as your e-mail, again that’s an attempt to make that something authentic. It’s not the NEWS like on TV, but I can actually read it and ask you a question or things like that. Audience member 5: My name was always on it. You could always call me, so I guess to me we were always there. We were always open, maybe we just didn’t make that obvious to you. It’s more obvious when you have your e-mail on, or… Audience member 6: It’s like an invitation, though. RR: Yeah. [a lot of overlapping comments] RR: Calling the Chronicle though and trying to talk to somebody is VERY difficult. Audience member 7: Yeah. [more overlapping comments] KO: I don’t – I guess with my journalist hat on I find it very hard to understand why people think that opinions are more authentic than facts. I hope that one of the outcomes of – I think when blogs started, you know, everyone’s like, “Oooo they’re going to reveal all this stuff that the mass media is not revealing and all this stuff that’s been suppressed!” [laughs from all] KO: And you know, the bloggers haven’t really come up with anything. [laughs] I mean, because it turns out you actually have to go out and talk to people, and report, and get the facts and figure it out and do the stuff that Barbara does everyday of her life and that, that actually has some value. And I hope that – I know there have been issues with people and the media, thinking that there’s something going on that after 30 years, I still haven’t found out exactly what it was that was supposed to be going on. You know, where the conspiracy was. Since we can’t even get our act together day-to-day. So I hope that it’s all going to sort itself out and that people are going to see the value of, you know, having - reaching out and touching another human being through a blog and having interaction and you know, “Oh, that person’s having the same experience I’m having even though she’s 3000 miles away and doesn’t look anything like me.” I feel like that’s something of valuing, but there’s gonna return to thinking that an accretion of facts and serious recording is something very different and also of maybe greater value. RR: I think there’s nothing wrong with facts. Facts are certainly important, but if you think about like, the 6 o’clock local news, there’s 30 minutes of facts, right? You have all the people who got murdered, [a few chuckles from audience] RR: all the people who got hit by a car, there’s some facts about the weather, there’s some facts about the sports. There are a bunch of facts, right? But they’re not fact’s that I am interested in. They’re not – you know what I mean? That they’re, it’s like the butch facts are what get me. KO: Don’t get me started! No, I don’t know what you mean! [laughs] [laughter from all] RR: They’re not facts that are relevant to me. Audience member 8: I had an experience with the Jack Abermoth thing. A year before it ever made the news, I knew about it. I knew about Jack and I called my dad, I was like, “I need to know about Jack Abermoth.” Florida, this, you know, it was something I had learned through reading blogs. And then, finally, a year later there it is. So I think that there is actually some independent reporting going on that does get voiced in blogs. Talking once in a blog, for example. You know, there’s this question I have. I was like “Ugh! Does anybody know anything about this?” Next thing you know BAM! There’s a bunch of people writing in. You know, you have to substantiate your facts. You have to give them a link. You have to give them something, you know that was publishing. But I’m actually very interested in seeing how blogging is actually writing open the communication channels in a way that I haven’t seen that happen in newspapers. Now I can’t say that it won’t be. [interjecting, talking over] KO: Huh! I actually think that talking points Memos kind of an interesting example, I don’t want to get way off on this, but I think you’re absolutely right that in some ways I think it looks a lot like old fashion reporting except its easier to get a question out there. I mean, I think that just a few years ago the newspapers sometimes, we would put a little box in the paper saying, “If you know anything…If you have [stuttering]… if you’re having trouble house training your cat, call us.” [chuckles from many] KO: And that seems like so retro and old fashioned, and weird, and now you can sort of – I mean it’s a great deal more serious than housetraining a cat, but you know what I mean. I think it’s sort of another way of doing what we’ve done all along. Audience 8: Yeah, but I think those channels have been closed down in a way that this is reaching a lot more people. If you were to ask how has blogging changed, for me I’ve read SO much more now. I read a whole lot more than I ever did both news-wise, art-wise, culture-wise, you know it was a little more [trails off] EG: Facts always have to – I mean, obviously you choose your facts, whenever you do that is set up by the choice of what you’re going to report. So, there’s always that element in the selection process, the editing process of what you’re going to write about. And certainly, watching the news, the local news, is usually just frustrating, because you want news that is telling you something about where you are and it’s always just filler or something like that. So, there – I mean, my sense there is that you’re getting a selection that’s biased for some weird reason. It doesn’t seem to be just necessary facts. It seems to be an odd selection of facts for that kind of media. KO: I think you would be in a very sorry state if you tried to get alllll of your information from local TV news. EG: Yes. [chuckles from some] KO: But if you want to know what temperature it is outside or whether it’s going to rain tomorrow. Audience: [said together] weatherman lied. [laughter from many] KO: Yeah! EG: That that we get. Yeah. There’s all kinds of information in there that definitely looked like a blog. But the sight of – when you’re describing the kinds of things your[self], the kinds of things that you can write on a blog it reminds me sort of, of a cartoon with somebody having a thought balloon where they can say things that they would say in a kind of like – if you see the picture of somebody, “This is what I’m thinking while I’m saying, how you doing? You know. KO: Mm hmm. EG: And it seems like there’s this infinitely expandable solution that you can have there on your blog [chuckles from some] EG: and you’re sort of telling your secret behind this thing. Because I do feel that way A LOT. You sort of walk through life, and I’m saying, “Hello and Goodbye!” and just the necessary things. [overlapping comments] EG: But secretly I’m thinking all this stuff! And NOBODY wants to know it! I know! [loud laughter from all] EG: Whoop-d-doo! [more laughter and overlapping comments] EG: But somehow we are like that in passing and the blog is like this infinitely expandable illuminance. And it’s interesting because it’s like this whole other dimension to life if we actually were reading everybody’s blogs. Like you were saying, if went and read everybody’s blog – first of all it would take a lot of time, but it would give this whole other way of understanding people’s lives and what they hope, and I don’t know if it does yet, just because I don’t have time to read blogs all the time. It’s sort of inside. MS: I’ve heard a blogger say, a very, VERY devoted blogger that now when whenever she’s experiencing something, she’s blogging about it in her head. You know, she’s readying that post. So, it opens up this narrative that really is going to exist somewhere. Do you all, have you felt that a little bit? AA: I do that. MS: Yeah? AA: Yeah. I’ll take paper and write stuff down. Kind of like what a writer’s supposed to do anyway, but it’s more immediate [snapping fingers] because I’m going to blog about it and it’ll be done. It’s not like I’m writing fiction or poetry or something. It’s more immediate gratification that way too, especially when people are responding to it. LJW: Oh, I did that also. I was on the phone with my friend and she, hopefully y’all read my blog to the joke. She made this funny comment, so I was like, “Hold on one second.” [loud laughs from all] LJW: [laughs] and I went and got my laptop and I got back into bed. She was like, “What were you doing?” “Just getting a snack.” [loud laughs from all] LJW: So, I was like, “What were you saying?” She went to saying, and I got to type. I said, I just have to type this right now! And thank God she doesn’t have a computer. When she came over and it was up and she said, “You wrote that!” And I was like, “People have to know! This is the funniest thing.” I don’t know what date it is, you’ll see it. It’s about caskets. [laughter from all] LJW: It was so funny and I didn’t want to miss anything that she said so I said, “So is this what you said?” And she’s oblivious and she just went to saying all over again and I [laughter from all] LJW: blogged it right then and there. MS: And you credited her in the entry, right? You said, this is my friend. [laughter from audience] LJW: Well I have it in dialogue. I have K and then me and then what was said and I have the punch line at the end. And then I e-mailed it also to everyone. Y’all might not get it when you get home, but it was so funny at the time. [chuckles] [laughter fromm all] LJW: When you read it, remember that she was pregnant at this time. So, you know, just give her some credit. It was really funny, I want everybody to know. [a few chuckles in audience] MS: Alright…oh, go ahead. RR: I was just going to say with the thing you said about the thought bubble… Unknown: Mm hmm. RR: I’m sure that that’s true for a lot of blogs, but it’s certainly a legitimate strategy for a blogger and you at some point might really want to start a blog. [laughter from all] MS: I could try it! RR: You can call it The Thought Bubble! Right?! [laughs] [loud laughs from all] RR: Some of them do that as a kind of release, but I don’t know that all of them do that. Audience 9: I’d just like to say, it takes a lot of work to have opinions, so I really admire blogs. Audience 10: I was going to say, it takes lot of work to have a blog in general, and I think some people are really intimidated by that commitment but I think that so many people are interested in getting their ideas out. And one of the oldest blogs, or largest blogs I think Global News in the media, ______ network and that’s one way that people can get involved and when they’re committed to and involved with and actually self-published. I kind of wished that I had maybe offered – not offered myself – but maybe figured out a way to get a media perspectives of this. And media reports have pretty different perspectives as far as how to connect with the news and how to connect with their spats, and how to make their personal career goals and bring those things together. On the global perspective, and I don’t know, I just think it’s one of the few blogs that I DO check regularly. It’s not a blog, it’s a global media, sort of conglomerate that it’s totally self-published. It’s totally self-run by a very small group of people. It’s for collectives and communities. So, there’s one in Houston. There’s one in Louisiana. There’s one in Belarus and they’re all over. And you can publish your own pictures and publish your own videos, and publish other stories and I think that takes a lot of the fear out getting your opinions discussed or your stories heard or stories read because you don’t have to do it all yourself. There’s already an infrastructure that exists. Do you see a lot of Indy-media? [chuckles] AA: I love Indy-media. I mean, we did a protest at Lee High and I posted on there and I check it too. It’s a really great website. It’s very empowering to go someplace and come home and just write your own report of what happened and then different people are posting on the same event so you get to see sort of on the street perspectives AND read the newspaper, AND read the internet version and kind of compare, particularly when the protests were coming out. I was really interested in like, well how many people where there? Were they carrying U.S. flags, or you know? So it was very good for that. MS: Just as a final question, and I don’t want to cut anybody off so we can keep going off after this. Do you see yourselves blogging indefinitely? Will you be blogging till you die? [loud laughs from all] RR: Blog to death! [laughter from all] MS: How do you see it? [laughs die down] AA: I’m starting graduate school in the fall so I don’t know if I’ll have plenty of time, but hopefully I would like to continue it, even if it’s not very regular. You know, something that – keep up with the community people even if it’s like two or three people, that would be good. RR: I think one of the reasons I started the blog was to kind of generate some material. There are not very many books about lesbian parenting or things like that and I think I thought it might be a way to sort of generate a writing that would be a memoire and I think that will probably be the direction I take. I think as my kids get older, they’re not going to want to see themselves on the blog and I can’t blame them for that, so I don’t know that I’ll continue on and on, but maybe I’ll try to do some sort of book project. KO: I can’t predict. I have NO idea. I enjoy doing. I don’t know if it’s a media that’s going to last forever. I don’t know! I wouldn’t make bets 6 months out. LJW: Um, I’ve never thought about that so I really can’t say. Well, actually, I can say. When I first started, I think I had a 4 month gap where I really didn’t have time to do it. I kind of missed it, kind of didn’t. But as far as right now, I’ve kind of gotten to that kick and just going with it. You know how you just start something and go with it, like I started a new journal, real personal journal every 6 months because I can’t find the other one. So I can’t really say, will I be blogging in December? I don’t know. I can’t say. MS: Does anybody else have questions for the panel? [brief pause] Thank you all so much sharing your experiences. [clapping] May 2006 - 1
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