I was conversing with some people I met at a party lady night. We exchanged cards. Someone commented on my being a blogger, asking if I followed other bloggers. Quickly, I said I did. She seemed a little surprised.
When I got home, I checked a few messages. One I saw was about arranging a get-together focused on bloggers, within a bigger community of commentators. I made clear I was ready. I saw another blogger friend add her support quickly.
Like many things about which know little, people often run with wrong assumptions. Many surround bloggers.
I know or have met several bloggers whom I follow. I don’t find that odd. We are users of one form of social media. Many of us are sociable. I just suggested to a blogger-friend that we have another meeting/tea/coffee and compare notes on common things we’d discovered.
Among Jamaican bloggers, those whom I enjoy most spend much time sharing the interesting things they do. Some are involved in volunteer or non-profit areas. Some just have fun with what they do, eg their love of food or cooking or travel or just discovering simple, little gems about life in Jamaica.
I began blogging by trying to corral observations about a foreign country to which I had just moved, as focused on living in Barbados. Some found my blog and sought my advice on living in Barbados. One prospective visitor was shocked but happy to learn that Barbados was not a hotbed of Muslim extremists, having gotten that impression from reading another blog. I gave what I believed was the true picture. The lady and her family visited, and we met at a friend’s restaurant for a breakfast. We’re still in contact and exchange thoughts, pictures and items: she loves washed glass, and I am a beachcomber, sometimes.
Another blogger went to one of Jamaica’s well-known resort to meet a reader: they’re now good friends.
It’s not really complicated. We’re humans. Many of us write because we find people fascinating. We like to meet and enrich ourselves with their company, even if through our observing their peculiarities.
I gave a presentation earlier this week, based largely on my working life. I love to take pictures and it’s odd that I don’t have many pictures of my time in west Africa or of many of the places where I had worked. I remember thinking about a photo-journal to cover my time in Guinea. Something happened. Actually, lots of things happened. Life was interesting and living it shut out photography, somehow. I regret that the phone-camera was not so well-developed or that sharing pictures was not a simple task, as now. So, to give a good flavor, I talked and wrote about my time. Much of my reporting to HQ was painting pictures of life as I saw it. Transport problems. Rice shortages. Flooding. Corruption. Price increases. Poor social services. Anything. I could really have been a blogger much earlier.
I had a quick interchange several days ago with a young Jamaican government minister, which turned on my suggesting he update his website more regularly. He agreed, and this week used it to inform everyone of the good work that had taken place in his Kingston constituency. I see it as a creative use of the Internet, which has become the ultimate sharing environment.
Many organizations now have blogs; that includes parts of so-called ‘old media’, like the printed press. It changes the point and nature of contact with the audience.
Some wonder about the substantive difference between bloggers and journalists. One view is that it’s the ‘unedited voice of an individual’. I like that. There are not many other differences, if we abstract from some formal training, or some contract to meet deadlines and stay within specified corporate boundaries. Bloggers who’ve been employed by newspapers muddy the difference. Experts in fields who blog for newspapers, and write lucidly about their field muddy the water, too. We’re mostly trying to inform and give our perspective, in different degrees and with different regularity and with different reactions.