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VOF Week 3: (Building Bridges by Blogging)

Just because we are interested, does this make us interesting? This is a question I struggle with as I continue to define my presence in the blogosphere.

As the Internet becomes increasingly sophisticated, so too does its portal for information exchange. Today, there is a culture of bloggers who are informed, intelligent, and diverse in their thoughts, ideas, and writing styles but…do their voices matter?

Blogging and those who partake have come up against harsh opponents, many of whom argue that bloggers are not “licensed” purveyors of newsworthy information, their voices not authoritative enough to be credible. I could not disagree more. While I may not hold tenure at The New York Times, I read, research, and ask probing questions; I am qualified enough to write about subjects that matter to me and passionate enough to give these subjects the care and attention that they merit.

One of the greatest challenges I face as a blogger is recognizing that while I may be praised by some, I will certainly be called to task by many. There is a steep learning curve that not only requires me to anticipate criticism, but also to embrace it and use it as a tool for growth. And this far transcends the blogging world; it is a life lesson, in and of itself. I am learning to recognize that those who question my ideas do not do so – for all intents and purposes – out of spite or to see me fail. In many instances, others’ intellectual challenges help me evaluate my own perspectives and adjust them if and as necessary. As a blogger, I will not allow the potential for confrontation to deflate my determination and raison d’être.

Yet, for me, writing is a simpler element of the blogging process as a whole; connecting with the outside world, in contrast, is an ongoing challenge. Due to the personal nature of blogs, it can never be just about the writing. There is an onus to ensure that my readers can relate with me, that we can establish a bond and a loyalty through my writing and mutual interests.

The universal draw of the blog is that it brings our voices out of the shadows and allows us to address issues from a more humanistic angle. If we cannot relate with our fellow bloggers – many of whom have, for too long, been reluctantly lurking in the dark – who can we relate with? The blogosphere is affording us our time to shine; now is the time to use our vigour and inter-connected voices to defy naysayers and increase awareness and understanding.

While my personal blog is partially about discovering my own voice, blogging is a never-ending process of listening intently and reaching out. I ask myself, “what are my peers talking about?” and then I pay close attention. Following that, I get to work: reading, researching, writing, and publishing. The challenge – and great reward – lies in consistently offering thought-provoking and timely accounts that will ultimately build global bridges.

Comments

jap21's picture

Very nice piece!

Dear Jackie:

Thanks for openning my eyes about blogging, since I am so lost about it. I have no clue as to what blogging can mean in my life, but reading you encourages me to try.

All the best,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

katea's picture

I agree

What you say holds true. We really get to widen our perspective when we read blogs because everybody has the license to say whatever and however. Sometimes what they say on their blogs are naked truths that we don't get to read anywhere else. We don't know the opinions of common people from across the globe because they are not given equal chance to say what they think except on the web, except on their own blogs. TV, newspapers, radio can be easily manipulated and monopolized because opinions are "trimmed and themed" but on the internet it's like having a smorgasbord.

Poverty is man-made that we can undo.

Nzasu's picture

Miss Canada

I was listening to a documentary not to long ago it was on the BBC, one of their technology shows.The trend in regard to news online is no longer about who got the story Aljazeera, BBC, CNN its all about the news.Heres an example did you capture the tsunami? yes do you have a video of it ?yes can we see the water strength of the waves sweep villages away? yes now thats news regardless of who got captured it.It is impossible for media houses to be everywhere every time.Where these traditionalist "news worthy" persons will come in is in analysis.But as far as getting the news they have been outnumber by us non media persons and technology that allows us to citizen journalism.

The older generations are the ones stuck with titles Newyork times etc As for us the younger ones we will read anything and everything as long as we can find it.So a challenge to you bloggers out there is making your information easy to find via search engines,social networking sites etc.

meg.peterson's picture

Hi Cultural

Hi Cultural Correspondent,

The other day I came across the idea, "Just because we are interested, does this make us interesting? " causing me to stop and ponder the idea as well. My answer was yes! As long as we are searching and sharing our knowledge we are expanding our own awareness and that of others as well. I really liked your perspective on why blogging is so important and the challenges you have faced, and found ways to overcome in order to have your voice heard. Bloggers can add a more personal perspective to the story being told that published news can't always offer. You really demonstrate a commitment to authentic and engaging writing. Thanks for sharing your voice!

Cheers,
Megan

molliv's picture

building bridges

i really appreciated everything you said here, especially your title. i think it is all about building bridges, andthis makes ALL of us interesting. even licensed journalists do not appeal to everyone, or there would not be more than one newspaper or news network, yes? i think the digital age is very scary to some people, because it is shifting the value of certain things. an "education" no longer means the same thing, it is not a guarantee of a paycheck, or stability, and the internet also allows for more forms of "education" than ever before...think of all the people who are putting information out there for free that we otherwise had to pay for. so in this way, it is scary and intimidating and taking a lot of "profit" away from people in terms of economy...but at the same time there is a new "value" in that those on the fringes of society can now access this information... many sites even have info in audio form, so you don't even have to be particularly literate... it's absolutely amazing.

how do you feel YOU personally will use blogging and your own experiences in order to break down the barriers?

Don't let your worries get the best of you. Remember, even Moses started out as a basket case.

Cultural Correspondent's picture

The Value in Blogging

molliv,

You are right about the direction in which education is heading; we are living in an era where information is being shared and exchanged at a rapid pace, through many different mediums, and in a variety of ways (written, visual, audio, etc.). Formal "education" has become relative and is not, as you have rightfully suggested, a guarantee of a steady paycheck or stability, or even indication of one's overall knowledge.

I have learned so much simply by going out into the world and experiencing life, but I do believe that what I have acquired through a classroom education are valuable critical thinking skills and the ability to question that which I observe and partake in.

Blogging is affording me the opportunity to voice myself via a sophisticated and wide-reaching platform, even if my thoughts and ideas are not necessarily aligned with popular opinion or the status quo.

Not one to let my worries (or naysayers) incite intimidation, I will use blogging to share my experiences, observations, and inquisitiveness in anticipation that this will instigate further discussion and questioning, ideally breaking down barriers and misconceptions and leading to solutions and effective, positive change.

I can only say that I believe in the power of peaceful dialogue and debate to make good things happen. Personally, this is where I find value in blogging.

Warmly,

Jackie

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