Suddenly, I'm a Blogging Expert

How did that happen?

Before I get into this post, let me mention that it was a pleasure to welcome Mike of Rational Reasons to the latest Bloggers Hotstove. Jason Cherniak was in attendance and the whole thing was very well moderated by Greg Staples. I had a good time, and I think we had a good debate, so I’m looking forward to next week’s installment.

It was also a pleasure to attend this year’s version of Word on the Street. The weather was terrible, I’m afraid, but people still turned out. And though the rain put a damper on things, it did have the advantage of sending people scurrying to the author tents for shelter. As a result, well over a dozen people turned out to hear me speak on blogs alongside book blogger Alex Good and local mom-blogger Aimee Morrison (who wishes to keep her blog anonymous, which is why I can’t link to her).

I’m told I spoke well, although I should have spoken to the audience more and not faced the other panelists. Lesson learned. We had an interesting discussion, moderated by Quill & Quire editor Derek Weiler, going over the ins and outs of the blogging community. Is it all antagonistic towards the mainstream media? Is it worthwhile? Is it an echo chamber?

I think the panel highlighted the diversity and breadth of the blogosphere. As I noted, the communities do have a tendency to fragment, and if there is a flaw in the Canadian political blogosphere, it’s that they sometimes seem to see themselves as the be-all and end-all of the Canadian blogosphere, forgetting the numerous cultural blogs, photo blogs, book blogs and personal diaries that are going on over the fence. Fortunately, perhaps because we feel a bit overwhelmed by the huge (and more polarized) American political blogosphere, the various partisan blogrolls have come together more. The Bloggers Hotstove is one fine example of New Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives actually talking to each other respectfully, and there are others.

But one thing we noted, from a question from the audience, is that political blogs tend to be national or possibly provincial in focus. Local blogs don’t get the attention they deserve, even from members of their own community. Check out the Greater Toronto Area Bloggers and you’ll see that the majority of these guys aren’t political. My own attempt at creating a local blogroll, the Waterloo Welllington Bloggers Association, is hampered by the fact that most of my activity has been in the political blogosphere. I haven’t attracted attention from the cultural bloggers that I know are out there, and who would be welcome to join the association.

Waterloo-Wellington bloggers out there, I’m looking at you!

I was also pleased to catch up with Marsha Skrypuch, who was there to talk about her latest book, Aram’s Choice (a wonderfully illustrated chapter book about one boy’s escape from the Armenian genocide). She was kind enough to stay behind to watch my own presentation, and she suggested that I offer “Blogging 101” as a possible subject to talk about at teacher conferences and professional development days. She’s my booking agent, so I said she’s welcome to do this. Setting up a blog is an easy thing to do, and I know this from experience, so telling this to teachers is worthwhile.

Anyway, I would like to thank the organizers of Word on the Street for having me out and putting together such a fun show, and to Erina Harris for introducing me so well and being very supportive, and I will be back next year. Hopefully, I’ll be back as a reader, but I’ll be back nonetheless.

Quick Hits

  • Good morning, Joe Volpe. Quick question: why don’t you just resign while you still have some shred of dignity? At least then the media won’t have Joe Volpe to kick around anymore.
  • So, Toronto’s garbage problem is solved, thanks to the purchase of a new landfill outside of London. Quick question: does the landfill contain a black hole or a portal to another galaxy? Is it infested with bugs that consume garbage and release rose petals into the air during Canada Day celebrations? Does it have a dimensional anomaly that allows one to put garbage in it indefinitely? No? Then, sorry folks, but Toronto’s garbage problem is not solved.
  • Ontario needs power, and Toronto needs to get rid of its garbage. Why is it so hard to connect these two simple points?
  • Recent phone conversation: “James Bow speaking” (pronounced as “bow-and-arrow”) / (pause) “Um… hi. Could I speak to a Jay Bow please?” (pronounced as “take a bow”) / (pause) “Nope. Nobody here by that name.” / “Oh. Sorry. But would you like—” / “Goodbye!”
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