Here are some of the new blogs I’m reading:
The Adventures of Jeff. I posted about this blog just a yesterday. It’s the travel journal of an intern of mine back in Shanghai, who is now leading bike tours in the South of France, and after another tour of Europe will be a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador. He’s a good kid, and his blog is mostly a way to keep his family and friends back home up to date.
Wait for it Seattle, a comprehensive Seattle sports site. Brian is a friend of mine. His posts are witty, intelligent, and well-written, and his enthusiasm for Seattle sports is infectious. Also, I’ve never seen a new site put up so much real content so fast, and be so quick with the organic promotion (and that’s saying quite a lot, especially coming from a content-whore like myself).
LanguageMusings.com; Crafty Strategies for Dominating Foreign Language. This is my friend Tristan from Melbourne, Australia. He’s a former SpanishPod listener who likes language learning so much that he left his career in IT and got a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics. I’ve written about his site before. I love to read him both because I’m so proud of him as a new colleague, but also because he lists “DOs” of language learning, and illustrates them with personal stories. Me… after 13 years in the classroom, all I can think of is “DON’Ts” and although I have personal stories to illustrate them with, I feel toxic about telling them all the time.
livingfusion; these are the worlds I’ve seen, as I’ve seen them. This blog is by Jen (not Jenny) from Praxis Language; apparently she worked on SpanishPod after I left. I never met her, but Lili vouches for her, so she must be cool. She seems to be a super polyglot and a fellow Seattlite, and her first two posts are good. Actually, her second post was just published a few hours ago, when I discovered her blog. She’s seems to be right at the hub where cuisine, culture, languages, and real life intersect, and so I’m already a fan.
TheGapper. This is my friend C from high school. Let me tell you about him; he’s an Australian immigrant, who has lost is accent but not that charming Aussie knack for being offensive. He went to high school with me in Olympia, which is just weird. And he went to college in the deep south, which he feels has been formative to his character, and I think he may be right. His blog is all stories from his life.
Mucha Alegría. This is my once and future colleague Erin, who was a guest on Acentos 0003: Erin Lives Another Day; my costar in a goofy lipdub and the Grapas del destino series (Episodio 1, Episode 2). So suffice it to say she’s super-cool. Here’s the deal with Erin; she feels so called to work with the poor of Latin America that she quit her job as a teacher to go work with the Sisters of the Holy Names in Lima, Perú. She has some medical needs, and trust me, she’s tried SEVERAL avenues to acquire medical insurance, but she keeps getting denied due to pre-existing conditions. But she’s not going to let that stop her. So in the mean time, we’re going to pay for her medical insurance through the donate button on her page. She doesn’t have a lot of content up yet, but I have a lot of faith that her story will be worth following.
A few months ago, a friend of mine who has never read blogs declared to me, “Blogging is dead!” It was something a more connected friend of hers had told her; this friend was apparently trying his hand at the twitter game, trying to become an influential voice in cinema.
It wasn’t a surprise to me, as bigger, more influential blogs from the past decade have gone by the wayside. Big ones, like BitchPhd, but also the personal blogs my friends were writing, like Screed and Delicious Biting.
I always looked at this blog as a personal journal, rather than a publication, so I didn’t fret much about readership. In fact, took a big hit in readership when I moved it over here to WordPress in an attempt to circumvent the stupid Great Firewall of China. I’m always surprised to be reminded that people are actually reading, despite the title of the blog. It’s an even bigger surprise on the rare occasion when I meet a reader in person.
“Why do you even do it?” was a question that a very close friend of mine asked once. It wasn’t so much a question as it was a criticism. Teenagers do this all the time, they focus their disdain in the form of a bitchy question. They don’t want an answer, they just want to make you feel bad.
I know that tactic; it’s a lame one. It’s why when I choose to criticize someone, I do it in the form of a statement; I think it shows I don’t care for an answer.
“You don’t have to read,” was my answer.
In any case, for a while there I did feel like blogging was dead; I felt like this blog was the last personal blog in the world.
Lately, though, I’ve seen a new generation; actually in the past month. The quality and sophistication in the writing shows a post-social media attention to storytelling. Now that we’ve all figured out the short-form linking fest that is twitter and facebook, some people have realized that they have stories to tell.