Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thinking about blogging

Once again I'm awake much too early for the weekend. I used to think my old man was insane because he'd be up before dawn on his days off, and now I'm just like him. His habit of early rising is one thing I never thought I'd inherit.

But I'm up, and for some reason I'm thinking about the blogosphere and some of the stuff I've stumbled across in the past few years. I started blogging fairly recently (less than a year ago) after it struck me I was leaving comments on so many other blogs I might as well have one of my own, although finding out my brother-in-law blogged may have been the tipping point last winter. And why it would be the thing that nudged me when I'd been reading friends' blogs, like The Retread Ranger Station, for years is a mystery. Unless, of course, it was the universe crying out for symmetry: the BIL is a Ron Paul supporter, and I'm about as far left on the spectrum as it's possible to go.

Think the first blog written by a stranger that I ever read on a regular basis was Pharyngula -- I'm not sure how I stumbled across it -- but I got hooked fairly fast. Don't read it as much as I used to -- it's gotten too popular with some of the shriller voices in the science/atheism community and tends to degenerate too rapidly to about same the level of discourse as third grade boys telling the girls they're not allowed in the treehouse because they're dumb. Even when I'm agreeing with the general sentiment, the tone of the religion bashing makes me uncomfortable. PZ and his acolytes tend to see the world in a much more dichotomous fashion than I do, as well as making the all too common mistake of assuming that because someone is wrong about one thing he or she is an ignorant fucktard who's wrong about everything*. If only life were that simple! (I still love the Friday cephalapod posts, though.)

But I do have to credit PZ Meyers and Pharyngula for steering me to a whole lot of other blogs. It's how I found Evolving Thoughts, Respectful Insolence, and Politits. And those blogs led to other blogs (Utah Savage, Yikes, and innumerable others), some of which turned out to be worth repeated visits and others that were the equivalent of one hit wonders. I stumbled across some where I have almost nothing in common with the blogger and for sure don't share her core beliefs, like Dancing Down the Moon, but was so blown away by the quality of the writing or the photos (Chris Clarke's Coyote Crossing comes to mind) I had to keep going back, and I found others where after dropping by once or twice it felt like I was so totally on the same wave length as the writer that it was like knowing that person forever (Yellowdog Granny). Cyberspace is an amazing place.

End result is a blogroll and favorites lists that includes feminism, science, politics, life in general, blogs that are small and intimate (a handful of regulars dropping by to comment), blogs that attract zillions, blogs that serve as forums for serious professional discussions, blogs that are a place to share mutual frustrations, blogs that started out as one person's way to let friends and family know what was happening in their lives and then morphed into a giant on-line community, and blogs where the writer intended from day one for it to be a soap box.

I'm not sure where this one falls. Not exactly a soap box, definitely not a showcase for either writing or photography, more or less still a memo pad for random thoughts and an occasional rant. I'm still debating things like just how much self-revelation to do in terms of a profile -- being anonymous has always struck me as odd because my initial experiences with the internet, back before it was the internet, all required using variations on my real name for a user ID. I participated in on-line discussion groups, listservs of various types, for years as myself, so making up a user ID to blog felt weird. Even the nicknames I've had over the years were all variations on my actual name, so I stuck with who I actually am: Nan.

I wasn't sure just how interested I am in having random trolls drop by, so I said No to letting search engines find this blog (although I said Yes to the same question on my other blog, I See Dead People, which is rather contradictory), but haven't bothered with Comments moderation since about the first week. Yet. I've seen enough nastiness and weirdness crop up on other people's spaces to understand why doing comments moderation or even blocking comments entirely can be a good thing. I can also understand how annoying it gets when a commenter decides to hijack a comments thread to use it as a soapbox for his or her personal obsessions, but figure if I get sufficiently annoyed that's what the delete key is for. If someone says something too off topic, rude, or just plain stupid, there's always the metaphorical trash can.

Is it time for C-SPAN yet?

(*think it's only true if you're the Republican vice presidential candidate)


  1. What a great morning thoughts post. I wondered how you found me. Funny, I keep Pharyngula in my rss feeds and read the posts, but never comment or even read the comments. Maybe that's a good thing. And, yeah, I agree with you. Sometimes the tone is off-putting to me. I know plenty of people who are both religious and very intelligent and thoughtful about their faith.

    I love the blogosphere because it allows us to be parts of lots of communities. I discovered Ranger Bob through you and now count myself as a fan. I need to read Yellodog Granny. I must admit, I've not done it, but I look forward to her comments here daily and am always rewarded with a chuckle or something thoughtful.

    Happy Saturday. The kids have commandeered the television and I've not seen C-SPAN at all today. I'm counting on you to keep me up to date.

  2. I totally agree..When I first started blogging my only goal was to piss off as many rightwing, ultra conservative, religious republicans as I could..So what happened?..I made some of the best friends I have ever had..and you are right up there..I too feel like you and I are linked some how..maybe we were friends in another life.and if you want a good laugh..go check out nitwit's post this morning..I laughed my ass off.
    he's on my blogroll..
    and even though Sat and Sunday's are my day off?...I woke up at my regular 7am this morning..which is a good thing as it's a beautiful morning and I'm listening to my oldies but goodies is good!


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.