It’s interesting to look back and see what has changed since 2002, when I started blogging. Jean Chretien was prime minister and we were all eagerly awaiting his departure. We were predicting a Diefenbaker-sized majority for Paul Martin, and a merger between the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives seemed a pipe dream, at best. What a difference five years make.
Five years ago, I was unpublished, and only just realizing that my dream was to be an author. Since then, I’ve found work in the magazine industry, landed some freelance journalism gigs and, of course, published two young adult novels. Five years ago, Vivian was still three years away, and now the time before Vivian’s birth seems a far and distant memory.
And, five years ago, blogging had just come into its own. In the months following the September 11 attacks, the mainstream media started to take notice of this new medium for communicating news and opinion. Since then, hundreds of millions of blogs have been created, and about as many have been dropped. Hard though it is to believe, the fact that I’ve been blogging for five straight years makes me something of an old fogey in the blogosphere — part of the elite group… except nobody has shown me where the clubhouse is.
I’ve found this blog to be very useful on a number of fronts. It’s been an online diary, a writing journal, and a place for me to vent. I’ve attracted a decent amount of attention to my work, marketed my writing and, more importantly, I’ve met lots of interesting people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. From Andrew at Bound by Gravity to Greg at Political Staples to Warren Kinsella to Jennie at Idealistic Pragmatist to many more that would take too long to list. I fully expect to meet more of my online friends and acquaintances face to face in the months to come, which really puts the lie to the assertion that blogging is a lonely activity.
I’m also pleased at what I’ve been able to contribute to the blogosphere, from the Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians to the Waterloo-Wellington Bloggers Association (which celebrated its first anniversary a couple of days ago.
Speaking of the Non-Partisan Alliance, I feel I should take this time to correct a misimpression that some people seem to have about it. On a few occasions, I and others have been told that we don’t belong in the BANPC because of our political opinions. These statements have ranged from the good natured to the perplexed to outright abusive
Basically, some people are surprised when BANPC members express a political opinion that they feel is in line with a political party’s police. For instance, Candace at Waking up on Planet X doesn’t hide her preference for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, but she isn’t a member of the Blogging Tories, and some people say she should be. Paul at Blue Blogging Soapbox quit the Blogging Tories for the BANPC, and some people wonder why I’m taking him in. My own stated preference for the Green Party while being the founder and organizer of the BANPC has led at least one individual to call me a liar.
I don’t understand this mentality. I thought I was very clear that I set up the BANPC specifically to provide a home for Canadian bloggers who didn’t want to join one of the partisan blogrolls. I never set up the BANPC to provide a home for people to refrain from expressing their opinions. Non-Partisan does not mean a-political. People can support the policies of particular political parties and express that support without taking out memberships in those parties, so why shouldn’t the same hold true for blogroll alliances? Is Candace a strong supporter of the Conservative Party? She says so herself. Is she Non-Partisan? Well, she’s not a member of the Blogging Tories, and that’s non-partisan enough for me. Furthermore, she speaks her mind, she isn’t afraid to disagree with her preferred party when they do what she thinks is wrong. This was the reason I asked her to join.
The BANPC aggregator would become quite a boring place if people refrained from speaking their mind, so why do we try and cubbyhole these thoughts? Who are we to tell people where to go?
So, I’m welcoming bloggers of all political stripes to the BANPC. Some are currently members of the partisan blogrolls, but they’re welcome to stay under a grandfather clause. I personally am delighted with the influx of bloggers from the right side of the political spectrum and would encourage more to join. I’d sign up Stephen Taylor if I could (if only to make certain heads explode, but he too provides interesting commentary and it would be good to see him cut loose). A stroll through the aggregator brings up a diversity of thought that I find remarkable, from socialists to libertarians to social conservatives and everything in between. Outside of geographically-based blogrolls, there’s nothing like it in the blogosphere that I’m aware of, and I’m proud that I helped bring this to be.
So thank you all for making my time in blogging so enjoyable, and thanks to all members of the BANPC for making an interesting blogroll alliance. Here’s to many happy returns.
Speaking of multi-partisan debate, be sure to check out Greg Staples latest Bloggers Hotstove, featuring Greg squaring off against me, Scott Tribe and Mike Park. It was an enjoyable outing, all things considered, even if we ran out of time to discuss Net Neutrality. Maybe next week?