With God As My Witness, I Swear I Will Never Use Me Where I Should Use I. That's Where I Draw The Line.

(For the record, I'm breaking a personal rule here.  I swore I would never blog about blogging.  Forgive me?)

With this post, I will lower the standards of journalism around the world.  I will make a spelling error.  I will probably make that error with the word 'grammer.'  I will punctuate outside of quotations, I will single space where a double space is the rule, and I will unnecessarily place a comma before the final item in a list.  I will start sentences with 'and' and 'because,' (I have no idea where the comma goes there) and with god as my witness, I will find somewhere to interject a superfluous semicolon.  That's just how I roll.

The thing is? (So not even close to being a sentence.)  I don't care.  I am not a journalist; I am a journaler.  (See, I totally made that word up.)  (And that probably should have read, "See, I totally made up that word.")  (Also; semicolon.)  I am a diarist.  I'd wager that a good 75% of those of you reading this are also diarists.  I'm not looking to cure cancer or end world anything, I'm just looking to take some notes about my life that won't end up as grocery lists or Pokemon posters later.  For that reason, I do my journaling on the internet.  It's tidy.

It's an interesting thing, this internetowebosphere.  For me, it seems merely like an isolated corner of the internet where a group of like minded people can meet and mingle, but I think that's a fallacy, truth be told.  I believe that we are being watched, taken notice of and critiqued.

We bloggers have been called the generation of first drafts (for the life of me, I cannot find that quote), we've been labeled "Intellectual Kleptomaniacs" or "exuberant monkeys ... creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity," (those quotes won't stop finding me) and as much as those words ruffle every feather on my back, I can't exactly argue the point.

I am not a journalist.  I barely graduated high school, for Christ's sake.  I refer to Mad Libs for the answers to my basic grammar questions.  I AM an exuberant monkey who has created a digital forest of mediocrity spanning four years.  For every accusation of the blogosphere being nothing more than a glorified sewing circle, there is some group of people starting a rumour that, oh, the vice president elect's child was really her grandchild and some vast right wing conspiracy was forged to cover up the birth.  For every criticism that the blogosphere is a financial drain on "legitimate business," there are headache medicine ads pulled and thousands of dollars throw down the tubes on not just the ads but the public apology for the ads because a group of people on Twitter took issue with them.

There are valid points to every criticism, that's all I'm saying.  There are always two sides to any story, and I think it's important to attempt to see both sides as often as possible.

The fact that I am an uneducated diarist, however, does not mean that what I do is without meaning.  The fact that I choose to put my words onto the internet rather than into a book that gets mailed to a publisher does not make them free pickings for every "respectable journalist" to use at their discretion.  The fact that I am not using my words to make a living does not mean that someone else can without my permission.

My point is this: If we are expected to live up to the standards of journalism, then journalists would do well to grace us with the same courtesy.  When Don Mills Diva has an interview with a newspaper and a blog post repurposed, distorted and turned into something completely different without so much as a hyperlink for her troubles, I raise an eyebrow at the editors of that news-site.  When one citizen journalist more-or-less single handedly broke the biggest story to come out of the psychiatric pharmaceutical world since ECT being deemed inhumane* and subsequently had his work more-or-less stolen for profit, I stand up and take notice.  Don Mills Diva and Philip Dawdy are journalists, and they are also bloggers, and if they aren't being handled with the same standards that we as basic, everyday bloggers are supposed to hold ourselves too, there is an issue to be taken.  There is a line in the sand being drawn between the old media and the new media, and I am left to wonder if I've simply allowed myself to be intellectually intimidated into believing that perhaps I am the fly in the soup, when it very well may just be the other way around.

One could say that we are filling the internet with drivel, that we are writing and commenting and networking and conferencing merely to boost our own meager ad-share revenue and stats, but honestly, have you sat down and watched a 24 hour news channel lately?  Sure, I may do a 7 things meme occasionally, but we had the privilege of listening to 4 hours of critiques about Michelle Obama's dresses on the night of the most significant night in this nation's history.  Which is the greater evil, I ask?  Which is the greater assault on the collective consciousness, me posting a bunch of pictures every Sunday on my personal blog that almost no one reads or Rick Sanchez getting his material for his major news network show from Facebook and Twitter?

Maybe they're equally as skeevy, but at least I always remember to link back properly.

All I'm saying is this: You know you've made it when you start pissing people off.  We bloggers, we're arriving, and holy hell are we making waves.  It's important, at least in my mind, to maintain our integrity but just as important is that we insist that the other media outlets do, as well.  We have to stand up for ourselves, respect ourselves and each other, and make sure that the proverbial "they" do, as well.


Join us, won't you?



*Molly @ Soapy Water can be thanked for that perfect summation.  Just sayin'.

Reality Checks are Awfully Hard to Cash

A few weeks before I left for BlogHer, I started hearing the murmur. The grumble about how it's a clique, a self-congratulatory A-Listers club, how those people think they're so much better than everyone else and how we'd never be caught dead going to that thing. Granted, this murmur comes from a small group, but they're vocal. They have anonymous hate blogs set up just for BlogHer chatter.


Really?


I'll admit that the words "I am so not cool enough for BlogHer" have come out of my mouth. The words "I am WAY too cool for prom" and "Gawd, I'd never want to be a cheerleader" also have. Why? Because I am an insecure moron, that's why. I worried for a long time that no one would like my blog, I worried that no one would ask me to the prom, and I worried that I'd never actually MAKE the cheer squad. So I just never tried.


I am so not sad about the cheer squad thing, btw.


Anyway, I was talking to my friend Loralee about BlogHer before we left, about the negativity we'd seen surface, about some nastiness she'd run into that kind of affected her personally. And then she forwarded this link (which is dead, because she closed down her blog, but still. It was awesome).


I started reading this post, written by a woman I'd never heard of before, and instantly my big, long, sharp pointy-finger started doing its big, sharp pointy-finger thing. I slowed when I read this:



I see you all the time, and you never make it in my group—or clique, as you so scathingly might prefer to call it. (For some reason, groups of friends are verboten these days, apparently.) You stagger away, stung and confused, convinced that we’re all just a big bunch of meanies who didn’t think your hair looked nice enough. Because believing that is easier than taking responsibility for the way you act. Believing that is easier than forgiving yourself for letting your feelings dictate your actions. Believing that is easier than taking a hard look around and realizing that maybe it’s your own damned fault.

I came to a screeching halt when I read this:



If you are that person or have ever even kind of resembled that person, this list is for you.

*choke*


I read that YOU, and I started over. I started from the beginning and I pointed that awful finger right back at myself, and I took a pretty decent bitch-slap. And Schnozz, thanks for that bitch-slap.


I read somewhere that the traits we hate most in others are the traits we are the most afraid to admit we possess. I, for one, will willingly admit to being guilt of that. For judging someone for doing something I do 23 1/2 hours a day. For climbing on my moral soapbox. For being an insecure bitch. Insecurity is the least attractive quality, if you ask me, and it just so happens to be one of my most predominant ones.


I took that post of Schnozz's to BlogHer with me, and I kept reading it over and over again, saying, "Dude, just this once, just let this shit go and have fun. Just go in there and know you should be in there, that you are just as good as everyone in that room, that you have nothing to worry about."



I did exactly that. Just ask Schnozz. I tackled the poor girl when I saw her. I tackled everyone when I saw them. Some, well, some I tackled PLUS.



I pushed my shoulders back, checked my insecurities at the door, and had a fucking blast. I made a ton of new friends. I concreted a ton of old friendships. I walked right up to people I admire, people I look up to, people who maybe intimidate me a little bit (my fault, not theirs.) I didn't care; I just put it out there. And I had more fun than should be legally allowed. I made a total horse's ass out of myself, I laughed until my poor bladder couldn't take it anymore, and no one snubbed me, no one looked down their nose at me, even before I read that post and they all knew who I was.

All because of one blog post that totally smacked me upside the head and said, "Um, check it, yo."

Every time I read another blog post, Tweet, whatever, about what bullshit BlogHer is, what a nasty, cliquey thing it is, I want to ball this post up and shove it down someone's throat. But, well, that's not very classy, now is it? But I do think that maybe it should be mandatory reading for, well, just about everyone. Because maybe it'll make you understand where your troll is coming from (a troll is someone who goes around bashing people on their blogs. They tend to be nasty to the n'th degree), and why it's really important to just ignore them. Maybe it'll help you understand why someone is talking shit about you on their blog, in the bathroom at work, or AT THE PTA MEETING. Or maybe, just maybe, it will make you realize something about yourself, just like it did for me.

And with that, I nominate Schnozz's post, simply entitled The Reasons, for Suburban Turmoil and Petroville's Perfect Post for July, 2008. (And I thank Schnozz, profusely, for saving me from my own damn self.)