Yesterday was the day of the of the 20SB Blog Swap, an event for bloggers to literally swap blogs with eachother and possibly reach a different audience. 20SB was also kind enough to give us a topic to blog about, which always makes writing a little bit easier. Unfortunately, I never received a post from my swap partner to post on my blog. I did send her this post, but it appears that it never got posted either. Since I wouldn’t want the post to go to waste, I decided I will post it myself, and if I ever get a post from my partner, I will post that as well.
Quite possibly the best thing about being a blogger is the opportunity to participate in things like this blog swap. The blogsphere is really the ultimate in terms of social networks, and the niche groups like 20SB can provide some great online friends. The networking aspect is probably the biggest reason that I really got into blogging.
Sure, you can get on Facebook or Myspace or any of the other gazillions of social networking sites, but what do you end up with there? A whole pile of SPAM and contrived “friendships” with people. How many people from high school do you really keep in touch with? How many people from high school are your “friends” on Facebook? Don’t even get me started on all the apps that just clutter everything on Facebook now.
I remember when Facebook was new and you could only log in if you had an email address from a supported school. At that point it actually was a social network that connected people who actually communicated with eachother. At that point, being a blogger meant that you actually had to have some knowledge of how to use the internet, people used livejournal, and most of the major blogging sites and platforms were still in their infancy.
In a sense, blogging is a way to cut through all the noise on the internet at actually find people to connect with. It gives us a portal to things that we find interesting or entertaining, and it opens a window into how other people actually are. I have the opportunity to get hints and pointers from industry professionals and I also have the space to offer up my own insights.
Through my blogging I have had the opportunity to really be in touch with people from all over the world, and to be in touch with people moving around the world. Sometimes reading or writing a blog post is enough to get you out of whatever funk you find yourself in. Sometimes you just feel like you need to shout or rant at the world or whoever will listen. On the flip side, sometimes reading about someone else’s experiences, troubles, or rants makes you feel better. Other times you just need a forum to share your art.
Personally, I use my blog for all of the above. I write about my life and experiences, I post photos from my photo collections, I write about things that I think about. There are no boundaries as a blogger, you don’t have to abide by anyone’s rules (especially when you run a self-hosted blog). Yes, there are places that I won’t go, or I try to avoid when I blog, but in general you can say just about anything and someone will listen.
The other night I was chatting with some blogger friends about a blog event that we are working on, Bloggerstock. It started as a pure thought experiment, but has become something that we are all pretty excited about. We had someone who we wanted to be included in the first go-round of the event, but they were feeling a little morally opposed since we had already worked out most of the details. To this idea, I responded: “We are bloggers, we have no morals!” We make our own morals and it seems to work for us.
So, have I answered the question: “What’s the best thing about being a blogger?” Probably, in more words than I needed. The best thing is being able to be yourself and find like-minded people to really connect with. It is fun, entertaining, and interesting.