On Wednesday, June 13, 2012, I attended Fabulous, an event here in Vancouver to honour VancouverMom.ca’s 2012 Top 30 Vancouver Mom Bloggers. Three alumni from the 2010 list were asked to share a brief speech around the idea “What I Know Now is This”. I was privileged to be one of the speakers, and this is what I had to say.I started blogging more than nine years ago, because my husband built a website with a blog on it and it made me sad to see that blog empty. I wish I could say that I took to blogging like a fish to water, but that’s not true. It took me time to understand what it meant to be a blogger. But as I ambled along in the blogging slow lane, I did learn a few things. I’d like to share three of my lessons with you.
My first lesson is that there’s no right or wrong way to blog. As bloggers we chart our own course. You can choose to accept product reviews, or not. You can choose to do Wordless Wednesday, or not. You can choose to vlog, or not. You can choose to post photos of your kids, or not. You can choose to use your real name, or not. You can choose how often you post, how long your posts are, and what your posts are about. You set the tone, because your blog is your space.
There’s a catch here, though, which leads me to my second lesson: you must be willing to own your words. There’s no right or wrong way to blog, but there are more and less ethical ways to blog. It’s important that what you write conforms with your personal value system, that it doesn’t violate any laws, and that it’s not hurtful to other people. Because other people will read your blog, whether you know it or not. If you’re not careful – and sometimes even if you are – your words may be misconstrued and cause hurt feelings. If those hurt feelings belong to someone you know in the offline world, the consequences can be less than pretty.
That sounds like a downer, but I promise to turn it around with my third lesson, which is that blogging is really not a solitary act. It may seem that way, when you’re sitting by yourself at your computer, tapping out words. It may seem that way, when no one else you know in your daily life blogs. It may seem that way when the comments are few and far between, if you get any comments at all. But the strength of the blogging world is that it’s made up of real people – real people like us. As you blog you erase many of the barriers that exist in your daily life. Over time, you connect with people you would never meet otherwise, and re-connect with people you haven’t seen in ages.
For those of us who spend much of our time at home with small children, there is incredible power in this connection. Blogging draws us together and provides a virtual support network. It helps us find our people, wherever they are. It can bring so much more into our lives than we ever expected.
When I was first asked to speak the plan was that I’d have a theme song playing as I entered and exited. I chose “Don’t Rain On My Parade” for this line:
Don’t tell me not to fly, I’ve simply got to. If someone takes a spill it’s me and not you.
For me, that line sums up what blogging is all about. Most of us write not so much because we choose to, as because we feel compelled to. We’re called to write. By doing that writing on a blog we can truly take ownership of what we create. The online spaces we build, the connections we make, and the words we publish are all ours. They belong to us. Nothing could be better than that.