30 September 2005

metablogging 2: the why I blog post

So Travis Ennis wants to know why we--we here being ML(I)S students--blog.

The snarkier part of my nature is of course tempted to say "Because I can" and/or "Because I'm good at it"--two responses often given by Famous Authors who have been asked Why They Write. I am not a Famous Author (I mean, really, I'm not even dead yet!), and such a response would seem pretty obnoxious even if I were.

I have always known that I am pretty good at writing--it's one of those things that makes up for other things, like being unable to run or throw or catch, being unpopular, being awkward and unsure of your place in the world. Going through an MFA program is a pretty good way to shake your confidence in your writing abilities, in some cases because everyone seems so much better than you do and in some because everything they're doing seems like such crap that you figure you can't be much better, but I got through more or less intact.

I used to write a newspaper column, which is still my idea of a totally ideal job. I keep hoping someone will say, "Here, let us pay you a living wage to give us 800 words several times a week on whatever you're thinking about," but it's never happened. I loved writing a newspaper column even when I only got $15 0r $20 for it, though, and I'd do it again for that little, or less. In the interim, though, blogging is a nice substitute. (Among other things, there are no deadlines and no required word counts. I sometimes miss the discipline of 800 words every seven days, but not too often.)

There's a very long explanation over at my other blog about how that got started, and there's a little explanation of my original reason for starting this blog in its very first post. Oh, and then a few weeks later, I hopped on the metablogging bandwagon again with a little more explanation. lis.dom's purpose has changed over time--as I've noted before, starting a blog in order to tell people about the existence of blogs is probably a little illogical--but some of what I've said before remains the same.

At the moment, though, the real reason that I blog is that I want to be part of a community (or, as I sometimes put it, I want to be one of the cool kids). Can you imagine a library run by the members of the biblioblogosphere? I think it would be the most amazing library in the world. It would have all the hottest new technology, but the technology would work for us, not the other way around, and nobody would get burned. It would have provocative, timely, and enriching programming. It would be the place everyone wanted to hang out and where everyone was welcome. It would be staffed by people relentlessly, zealously working to make the library a better place--working to make library vendors give us what we want, working for, and often with, patrons to make sure they had the information they wanted. It would be a thing of beauty, if not a joy forever. Some people work in libraries that are closer to that ideal than others, but here--wherever here is, wherever you imagine cyberspace to be--we all get to be a part of it. I think that's pretty neat.

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