Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Revisiting: What Is A Blog?

There's been a  very interesting discussion today on a an Empire Avenue-related Facebook group.    Adriel Hampton posted in the X-Bar that he was disappointed that Empire Avenue seems to be permitting "content farms".  

On Empire Avenue,  the seemingly simple question "What Is A Blog?"  can be anything but simple to answer and there was a spirited discussion about, well the morality of having a Tumblelog that consists of embedding videos from YouTube and adding just a one line quote from the lyrics and two tags,  connected to Empire Avenue as a "blog".

I'm a writer.   For years I updated my book review blog about one or more books three to five times per week.    I am very well aware of the difference in terms of time, effort and skill between researching and writing a professional quality three hundred to five hundred word blog article vs re-blogging a picture or a video that someone else has already created.    And yet,  I found myself arguing on behalf of folks like,  well myself,  who regularly "blog" twenty or thirty music videos every day.   It is,  I believe,  a curatorial endeavor.    My music tastes are a bit narrow,  a bit odd and rather well-defined.    I listen to select pop/rock music from the 1960's--1980's for the most part.     And the fact is that I have through Tumblr made a few friends who share at least some of my tastes in music and tell me they enjoy having my videos in their Tumblr stream.   And every day it seems,  there are people who Like and Re-blog the videos that I post.   It seems to me that if what I am posting is reaching out and connecting with an audience,  my posts create real value in my personal social network.     Which is why I don't in any way feel that I am "cheating"  on Empire Avenue.

My friend Jake,  whose Tumblr curates amazing landscape photographs from all over the world pointed out that he has made real friendships through sharing amazing pictures-- which he pointed out he spends a great deal of time selecting and in the cases of photographs he takes himself editing.   Jake argues, and I am inclined to agree,  that he does put as much time and effort into his photo blog as any of us writers do on cranking out those 300--500 word posts that many people do in fact find challenging to do more than once a day.     One thing that many folks in that discussion did seem to agree on, is that Empire Avenue should regard Tumblr as another content site,  like Twitter and Facebook, etc.  rather than as "blogs".    As my new friend  Roger Hoyt and I agreed-- we're supposed to be networking and making friends--not arguing over what a blog is.   So how about a nice, non-spammy campaign to convince Dups and the EAv team to make Tumblr another top level network.

cc: @adriel  @dups

Today I Face The Future

Today is day 2 in the #Trust30 challenge at   Today's prompt from Liz Danzico:

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tracks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

My sentence:

Today I face the future,  scarred by my battles with the past,  weary from my encounters with reality,  yet ready to deal with whatever comes my way and as always hopeful for a brighter tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

15 Minutes To Live

I'm participating in #Trust30.    #Trust30 is an online initiative and 30-day writing challenge that encourages you to look within and trust yourself. Use this as an opportunity to reflect on your now, and to create direction for your future. 30 prompts from inspiring thought-leaders will guide you on your writing journey.    

Today's prompt by Gwen Bell:

We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.
-----------My Story----------
I should be in New Orleans.   When the judge told me I was to be executed in fifteen minutes,  I found myself thinking about my home town.   Thinking about the taste of a shrimp po boy, dressed with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise;  of sticky, muggy, HOT nights, riding the Zephyr at Pontchartrain Beach.   Remembering Mardi Gras parades,  Hurricanes at Pat O'Briens and the ever-changing spectacle of people-watching on Bourbon Street.   I found myself thinking that if I had never left New Orleans,  I never would have ended up  being executed for breathing without a license on a space habitat no one back home ever heard of.     I tried to remember the taste of oysters Bienville,  to hear the sound of the streetcars sling-slanging down St. Charles Avenue, to recall the wonderful iciness of a chocolate snowball on hot summer day.   
As the air-tight door closed behind me I pictured myself as a child,  on a day trip on the paddle-wheel riverboat Mark Twain,  recalled my senior prom at the Roosevelt Hotel and pictured the double shotgun house where I grew up on Iberville Street.  As I tried to remember the names of the brother and sister who had lived down on the corner,   were they Dawn and Ken,  or were they Frank and Ruth, or...the air tight door ahead of me opened,  and I was spaced.