Observing Blog Day

In observance of Blog Day, I am going to write about five blogs that I think are worth reading.  Based on the rules of Blog Day, I’m cheating a little. Some of the blogs that I am going to review today are not new to me, but they are probably not as widely-read as they should be. Though they may not get much more circulation as a result of my effort here (I don’t have many readers, either) I’m doing my part as a good Internet citizen.

Ample Sanity is Anne Mathewson’s blog. I discovered Anne through Ma.gnolia a while back (my favorite bookmark sharing site), and since I’ve been following her there, I try never to miss what links she posts. She has eclectic tastes, and finds the most amazing sites! I decided a while back to check out her blog, and I find that Anne is a delightful writer and a creative spirit. She’s silly, thoughtful, profound, smart, and terribly interesting.

Nurture Girl is Jean Russel’s blog. I had the pleasure of making Jean’s acquaintance at a recent Net Tuesday event here in Chicago. Jean is a non-profit consultant, and she blogs here about uses of information technology and social media to foment social change. Her blog is critical and thought provoking, actively taking part in the discussion of how the grass roots social networking movement can most effectively organize and mobilize people.

Eszter’s Blog is Eszter Hargiattai’s blog. I stumbled upon this recently via Twitter. Eszter is a girl after my own heart, studying “social and policy implications of information technologies with a particular interest in how IT may contribute to or alleviate social inequalities.” Here she blogs about her interesting scholarship, how to select a ripe and delicious cantaloupe, and useful and fun Internet tools, like Yearbook Yourself.

Metacentricities is Michelle Murrain’s personal blog. Michelle is someone else that I discovered through Ma.gnolia because of links we have in common. Michelle and I have a few other things in common: we work in the nonprofit world, we’re queer; we’re alums of PSR; we’re former Bay Area residents (and I gather from her blog that she’s moving back there!); and we’re Progressive Christians struggling with the institution of our faith. Michelle is a nonprofit consultant with expertise in technology, and she also blogs at Zen and the Art of Nonprofit Technology. I enjoy reading the cross section of faith, politics, good works, and how these play out in Michelle’s day-to-day musings.

La Marguerite “is an environmental blog, focused on behavioral solutions to climate change and other sustainability issues.” This is another blog I discovered through Twitter. I like this blog because it links the larger issue of environmental policy to the choices that individuals make about how to live every day. It makes me think about my carbon footprint, and is one of the many blogs that inspire me to make responsible and sustainable choices.

Honorable Mentions

I feel I must at least make reference to the Neighbors Project which I think is such a cool use of social media to build community and actually foment social change. I haven’t partaken yet in any of their activities, but I’m aware of the work that is going on in Chicago as a result of this effort. Right in my neighborhood, as a matter of fact. As I make my new home here, the Neighbors Project blog reminds me of the impact that I have here, and informs the choices that I make so that I can be a better neighbor. I look forward to meeting my neighbors who are involved with this project.

And I want to give a shout-out to my brother-in-law, Archer, who is blogging about the RNC while events unfold in his backyard: The RNC is Coming to Town

And there are many others. I feel challenged and inspired by so many creative and wonderful thinkers and writers out there.

New Blog: InFomentation

All in all, I think it was a successful weekend. Looking back on my to-do lists, I accomplished many of the things I set out to do. Perhaps not all. I didn’t practice yoga on Monday. Oh well. But I did get the skate board out! Woohoo!

One significant thing that I didn’t include on my list, however, was launching my new blog, InFomentation. It was inspired by the research I am doing for an article that I’m writing about technology and social change movements. The folks at NetSquared have got it going on!

I’ve been sitting on the idea for a few months now, hashing it out with Gillian, letting it germinate. Well, Spring is here! Though you wouldn’t know it right now, its so darn cold out. But this weekend I was provided with just the fertilizer and sunshine that I need it to get that baby off the ground.

Paradoxologies will remain my personal blog, and InFormentation, while it will include personal reflection, will be of a more professional nature. I’m excited to be embracing this creative outlet more and more, and to be connecting with people and continuing to learn and grow as a result.

I hope you will visit them both!


Is it cheating if I postdate blog posts? I still haven’t mastered my time, so I’m behind in my writing. So I’m posting things according to the approximate date I began writing them. I hope that’s not considered cheating.

Blogging Revelations

When I started blogging back in November of 2006, a mere nine months ago (but time really does fly), I felt that a whole new world had opened up to me. I was stumbling across tools and other blogs that gave me ideas and inspiration. I ventured into the world of social networking, and at every turn I discovered people and communities doing really cool stuff.

In November, I felt as if I was diving in with my whole self, embracing my inner geek, and I have been having loads of fun writing, sharing photos and sharing my newly discovered links (I really love Ma.gnolia). When I speak about blogging and social networking to my friends, many of the either have no idea what I’m talking about, or they think that it’s simply about a MySpace page, and I am too old for that. I admit that I feel a little old sometimes out there. It does seem as though many bloggers that I come across are a good decade younger (at least!) than I am. But many are not, and I found an article recently about how folks are using blogs and web presence to enhance their resumes.

So far, I have met and corresponded with a few strangers with shared interests, giving me a little taste of what it’s like to have an on-line community. I have found many great resources this way, and encountered a few blogs that I now like to check out regularly. Admittedly, I have not been producing enough content on a regular basis that would be of interest for readers to check back regularly. I guess I am still a bit of a lurker, in a way. I haven’t quite found my place in Cyberspace.

But when you have more of a personal blog, I realize that it is a really cool way to keep in touch with friends and family. Indeed, that is how many of my younger friends are using blogging and social networking. I guess my close friends and family just need to catch on, check in regularly, and leave a comment now and then.

Yesterday, I had the experience of finding a bunch of websites that really put things in perspective for me. Some times you find a link to a site or blog that becomes a portal to another world that takes you to places you didn’t know existed. I love the Internet for that. One of my Ma.gnolia contacts posted a link to the blog of librarygrrl, which for those of you who know me that blog name has appeal for numerous reasons. I had to check it out.

librarygrrl’s blog, cool in and of itself, has a blog roll for other websites run by librarians. I found the The Cool Librarian, The Library Spot, Library Thing, The Beacon for the Freedom of Expression. What a gold mine! And this is just a sampling. I kind of went crazy with Ma.gnolia with all of this.

By absolute random coincidence, by searching for favicons in WordPress blogs, I found the blog of a Quaker Ph.D. candidate from LA at gatheringinlight.com, and through his blog I found the Convergent Friends blog, for Quakers responding to the challenges of defining what it means to be Quaker in the world today. I am not in the world of Quakers too much these days, but as a formerly Quaker-identified progressive Christian, I am delighted to come across these sites. I now have a place to check once in a while to see what people are talking about in these communities, and perhaps even find a place for me there.

All of these discoveries yesterday I now am aware of how much I have to learn about blogging. I don’t think I will ever fully be on the tech side of things. I blog more for sharing content, and beyond adding specific functionality to my sites, I really don’t care to delve that far into the world of programming and web development. I do find this world and the language they speak a little intimidating, so I guess my struggle will be not to let my limited abilities hold me back.

As in real life, I am a Jill of all Trades, Mistress of None. My interests are broad and varied. And even if I was able to pick just one topic to write about, I don’t think that blogging would give me the satisfaction and even the focus that I find in it. I guess one of my passions in life is information. I love information, hence my excitement about the library links! Blogging and social networking give me the media and tools through which to find, organize, and share information about everything that piques my interest. Perhaps my blog will be a portal for someone else to make their own discoveries, leading to their own blogging revelations.