What's this Blog About?

Politics in Wisconsin as they roll up to every level... and some other thoughts that may cross my mind are explored here from my lefty point of view. My values shape my opinions. You'll always find them in here. Let's have some fun exploring why Liberal values are American values!

Your comments are both welcome and encouraged!
(The watercolor is called Magnolia Tree for Momma, by Audrey Crawford)

Monday, April 02, 2007

WI Blogger Summit: My Take

I have really been trying to ignore the conversation going on between my friends Seth and Jay on WisPolitics WI Bloggers Summit II, but dear Jay has mentioned me, and now I feel compelled to make a statement on my thoughts on the entire ordeal...

I'm going out on a limb here to make a statement that's going to be controversial.

If you are a paid member of the traditional media (radio, newspaper, television, magazines, even traditional internet websites, etc...), you are NOT a blogger. You may very well post your compensated for material and opinions designed to draw advertising dollars on a blog page to increase traffic for your employer's website, but you are NOT a blogger.

The blogosphere was a few years ago, the largest threat to traditional media since they figured out (after the fact) that posting newspapers online for free meant they needed a new way to raise money. They've found a way to fix that problem by selling advertising to their journalist's blog pages...

I only see 5 maybe 6 bloggers (I'm being generous) on the list of summit panelists...

So here's the most incredible irony of the summit. What REALLY bothers me is that ALL the people of color are shoved onto one panel and it's called: Are all voices being heard in the blogosphere? I couldn't write a joke with this much irony in it...

I will admit that I was a bit put off that I wasn't invited to a panel at the summit... so I have a bit of sour grapes. I do understand that my readership is limited in Wisconsin. Most of the people who read my posts are national from my tracker, and it seems the majority of my local readers are either media themselves (because I get invited to speak on the radio, or cross posted by Sykes, Garvey, or other bloggers), other bloggers, or people in Wisconsin cities I have never heard of though I grew up here and have traveled extensively around the state my entire life. I also know that I don't post as often as I'd like to and so, my readers can't daily click on my blog and get my take. I get it that I'm not considered a "player" in Wisconsin politics or media and so my blogs are largerly overlooked as insignificant...but isn't that the point of the blogosphere?

I do have a somewhat political background, but, up until 2003, I was a computer programmer in Brookfield who followed politics as a serious hobby. What that makes me is a real Wisconsinite who's only voice until 2003 was my vote. Someone who discovered in 2005 the ease and power of the blogosphere to get my personal voice out to a larger audience (no waiting a week for the JS to get around to publishing my thoughts on the ed page when they no longer are timely...). The most important thing to me though is how much I enjoy this blogging thing personally let alone when the JS writes and article on something I brought up first...

I really only began writing this reluctantly at the bequest of a friend in the media who met me and thought I might have something interesting to say. I don't always, but I have found through writing that no matter what I write about if it's personal, something I come across in the news that catches my attention or something that gets my blood boiling, I am writing again and that's good for me.

Real bloggers in my opinion are those of us whose voice DIDN'T have any significance prior to our blogging and relish the minor significance we have now, and as long as the established media can get away with having their paid professionals pass themselves off as "bloggers", our place will continue to be just that personal enrichment in a public forum.

So I will continue blogging in obscurity and enjoying it. Somehow, they did manage to figure out a way to send me an invitation to the summit, so look for me. I'll be one of less than 10 people of color in the place who although insigificant, still considers myself an important part of the blogging community. Although you will not see me on the one "blogger summit" panel they created to make the summit more colorful or any other panel for that matter, you are here, reading my blog now, so does it really matter?


Anonymous said...

I haven't been reading the blogs for quite a while now but I'm glad I happened to see this post, it's a good one.

But since you asked, yeah Renee, I think it still matters - it matters a lot.

Any social or economic force that marginalizes groups or individuals, anything that is designed to force any social structure into some kind of heirarchy, or anything that makes "some pigs more equal than others" matters a whole lot.
These kinds of behaviors do not embody a spirit of increased democracy, a spirit of inclusion and participation - a freeflowing exchange of ideas.

I THINK that is why we started blogging, and I THINK that's what makes blogging "dangerous" and unpredictable. And then naturally, why there arises the impulse to control blogging. Do you find it interesting how the so-called "wild west" environment of the internet mirrors exactly the "real" world? There si no difference here. Notive how the voices that are heard loudest "out there" are also loudest "in here"? And how the white middle-aged (and really not very progressive) men come up with elaborate (and full of holes) justifications for why this is the best of all possible worlds?

(I did happen to hear about Jay's "since I'm on the top of the pile it's of course a good system" post from awhile back - he actually I hear, told some guys who were expressing their own views that they "WERE WRONG"?! How can a guy's personal feelings be WRONG? Personal reactions are just that - there are valid, they cannot by definition be "wrong". Lordy, how embarassing.)

You are a nicer woman than I am Renee - much freer with the word "friend". Unlike you, I cannot support this behavior, I can not justify it to myself. If you find a group that functions on the principles of democracy, you e-mail me or something. I'd like to know. So far, all I see is the human tendency for groups to form in heirarchies where the Haves are assumed to be possessed of some kind of greater merit and deserve a voice, and the Have-nots are intrinsically lacking in merit, or have screwed up somehow. If the damn Romans thought like this (and I beleive they justified iniquity in their society in this way) well, these ideas are pretty entrenched in human nature I would say. How anything is going to get through certain people's thick skull at this point is beyond me. Progressives, huh? Okay.

P.s. They always haul out Fighting Bob at times like these - I wonder -

What would Fighting Bob say?
I bet it would be more colorful than that panel is going to be.

Crawford's Take said...

Thanks for your comments! I always appreciate your candor and that you take the time to write thoughtful and intelligent comments on my posts.

I actually am personal friends with Jay, so I was not being cynical. The conversation was pretty bland with just men going at it, so I added my two cents to the conversation. I guess it wasn't meant to necessarily bash either of them, but more to make the point that the current line up does more to counteract the idea of diversity than to help. By the way, diversity comes in many forms. Most whites people on both sides think diversity and they think either politics, race or sex. I did appreciate Jay adding many other identifications of people to his post and want to thank him for it.

Jay Bullock said...

Jody, I think you may be misunderstanding my point, perhaps because you only heard the highlights of my post rather than the whole thing.

What's wrong is not bloggers' desire to have a forum that meets their standards. Indeed, I've been suggesting all along that if they know what they want they can try to make it happen. That is, after all, what the blogs are good at--identifying needs and filling them.

Rather, I suggested they were wrong for expecting that kind of forum to be provided by an outfit like WisPolitics.com, or for expecting that their own participation on a panel could provide the kind of varied perspective that the auspices of WisPolitics.com could draw.

Do I think a by-bloggers-for-bloggers event could be fun and interesting? Of course. But if you know anything about WisPolitics.com, you'd know that they'd never organize such an event.

And, Jody, I'm also concerned that you think I, as you put it, I'm happy to reinforce some system just because I ended up on top of the pile. First, I hardly think that being an afterthought citizen blogger at a WisPolitics summit qualifies as the top of any pile.

Second, it bothers me because I like to think that I work hard to promote other bloggers: There is nothing I delight in more than finding a new blog, blogrolling it, reading it, promoting it when there's good stuff.

Perhaps you're right to be suspicious of the Xoffs, Soglins, McGuigans, and even Rowans of the Cheddarsphere who see the blogging as an extension of their (former?) glory or as some other means to an end you son't approve of. But I teach high school. I have no political aspirations or clout beyond what four years of diligent blogging has brought me. I'm not a part of any old-boy networks and I've even let my Dem party dues lapse. I'm not really sure what you think of me, but I don't think I'm that guy.

And, Renee, I hope you're at the summit to point out to Jeff Mayers the insanity of sequestering the diverse voices onto their own panel.