Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

METABLOG WEEK 2010: Value, Own, and Share Your Blogging Life

METABLOG WEEK 2010Have you ever heard of metablogging? Metablogging happens when a blogger blogs about blogging on their weblog.

That is a terrible sounding sentence. I apologize.

The kind of metablogging I am going to talk about is a kind that primarily pertains to personal blogging: when bloggers write about their personal experiences with blogging.

Over the last few days, I have read irritable grumblings about personal metablogging online. I am not clear about who was doing the grumbling, because there were quite a few people doing it, and I tend to drift off at night while reading through my feedreader and Twitter stream in bed. The grumblings were planted in my brain, though, and I have been ruminating about this public irritation ever since.

For years, since my earliest days of blogging back in 2003, I have avoided writing about blogging on my weblog. I am occasionally possessed of the urge to write about how I feel about it or why I do it or what I think can be done better, but I reign myself in. I admonish myself, as though it is vain to talk about the very thing in which I have been solidly engaged for almost seven years. Somewhere along the line, I picked up the idea that no one wants to hear about a personal blogger's perspective on their own experience as a blogger, as though that particular type of sharing were immodest, akin to showing your knickers or your vulnerable, white underbelly.

Personally, I like it when others write about their experiences with regard to blogging, because I see so much of myself and my own experience revealed in what I read there. Yet, while it clarifies and reaffirms the very human and often transformative aspects of this thing in which so many of us engage, I still stop from writing about it myself out of fear of criticism from those who would tell me it irritates them. Personal metablogging has been made out to be almost shameful.

How ridiculous is it that I do not write what I want to write because someone might be irritated? It's REALLY RIDICULOUS.

If metablogging is blogging on a weblog about blogging, then isn't writing about writing in a printed publication metawriting? And if metablogging is so taboo, then shouldn't metawriting also be? And then shouldn't Annie Dillard, Anne Lamott, and the many others who have metawritten chap our collective butts, too? Their metawriting doesn't chap our butts, though, and, after much thought about it, it's pretty clear why that is.

This common negative reaction to metablogging is actually more about the following three things than it is about the act of metablogging itself:

  1. It is about the outdated sense of legitimacy we place in paper publications over writing online.
  2. It is a defensive reaction borne by a sense of personal vulnerability when we are confronted with having to take ownership of our own blogging as legitimized by our peers.
  3. It is a way of putting those peers in their place who we perceive as having more success than others.
We recognize Annie Dillard, Anne Lamott, and other authors published through traditional media as authors who are legitimately talented, legitimately popular, and legitimately successful. The publishing industry has handed their works over to us, and we accept the legitimacy leant to them by that higher power. We bloggers, you and I? Not so much. We're just playing! This is fun! We're just mashing about in the frothy melee of the everyman's new media!

It's all fun and games until someone admits to giving a damn.

I'm not pointing fingers at anyone specifically, because I have been guilty of all of the above. I have anachronistically valued printed publication over material online, shied away from owning my own work, and rolled my eyes when bloggers I perceive to be popular write about their experiences with blogging, especially if they share less positive stories. After giving a lot of thought to the subject of metablogging and the way in which it is often negatively received, though, I am going to come out and tell you what I have concluded:

It doesn't make rational sense to lump all personal metablogging together as a whole and label it Not Good.

Some of us are just mashing about in the frothy melee of the everyman's new media. Some of us have found our true calling and put hard work into it every day. Some of us are terrible writers, and some of us are amazing. Either way and every way in between, we blog, we read others' weblogs, and we connect with each other in both positive and negative ways, and it is not weird or stupid or wrong to write about why we do it and how it affects us.

In fact, it seems like we would be missing a great opportunity if we didn't write about it. We are invested here in this blogging arena creatively, psychologically, socially, and, dare I say, spiritually. We have been given an opportunity to create and communicate in ways never before seen in history. Whoever wrote the memo that said we could blog about everything but our experience of blogging didn't understand what an historically momentous occasion this is every day and, especially because of its inherently social aspect, what a brilliant opportunity it is to look together at what we do and why we do it.

I have a challenge for you:

  • Let's value blogging and what we create through it even though it is not the traditional media in which we imagined ourselves participating when we were kids.
  • Let's own what we create within the blogging arena.
  • Let's put aside petty self-interest and allow for the legitimacy of each other's individual experiences of blogging, whether they be positive or negative.

  • What do you think? Are you up for it? Because I am.

    I am officially declaring this week METABLOG WEEK 2010. I am devoting Monday through Friday of this week to metablogging. I will metablog the hell out it. I will so metablog the hell out of it that I have made buttons, because nothing legitimates my metablogging like a mess of buttons. And then, because my buttons have made metablogging so freaking legitimate, you might just want to metablog, too, because nothing is cooler than deciding to value, own, and share your personal experience of blogging along with other bloggers.

    METABLOG WEEK 2010
    <a href="/weblog/2010/6/28/metablog-week-2010-value-own-and-share-your-blogging-life.html" title="METABLOG WEEK 2010"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v491/schmutzie_pickles/buttons/metablog-week-125x125.png" border="0" alt="METABLOG WEEK 2010" /></a>


    METABLOG WEEK 2010
    <a href="/weblog/2010/6/28/metablog-week-2010-value-own-and-share-your-blogging-life.html" title="METABLOG WEEK 2010"><img src="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v491/schmutzie_pickles/buttons/metablog-week-180x60-1.png" border="0" alt="METABLOG WEEK 2010" /></a>


    So, you ARE going to metablog with us? How wonderful!

    But now what? If you take part, what will you metablog about?

    Here are a few questions to help get you started:

  • What constitutes oversharing? Is there too much oversharing happening on weblogs? Do you think oversharing is a positive or negative aspect of personal blogging? What lines do you draw for yourself when it comes to sharing on your weblog?
  • Tell us how blogging has impacted your life offline. How did your family/friends/work react when they found out about your blogging? Has the way in which you interact with others offline changed as a result of your blogging?
  • Have you ever felt attacked by negative commenters? How has that affected your writing since? Do you feel that it has made you more or less effective as a blogger?
  • Are you famous on the internet? Do you want to be famous on the internet? Does the fame afforded you by blogging affect your life where you live?
  • Why did you start blogging? How has the reason why you blog changed since you began?

  • How To Take Part In METABLOG WEEK 2010

  • Blog. I will blog about blogging on my weblog every day this week. You can do it every day, too, or a couple of times, or just once. It's your choice.

  • Post the list of METABLOG WEEK 2010 entries at the end of your own. Copy and paste the following code into the end of your metablogging entry to share what's being said, and don't forget to add your own to the list:

    <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.simply-linked.com/listwidget.aspx?l=ae814d0f-d8fb-4959-af2a-3c04c7d965a9" ></script>


  • Grab a button. If you are so moved, you can copy and paste the code for one of the above badges and put it in your weblog entry or into your weblog template.

  • Value, own, and share. Everyone who partakes in METABLOG WEEK 2010 by writing or reading along or both can bask in the valuing, ownership, and sharing, because those things are very good for all of us. They're like soul vitamins for hungry bloggers.

  • Now go! METABLOG WEEK 2010 has begun! And don't forget to come back here to submit your link!

    Participating METABLOG WEEK 2010 weblog entries:

    METABLOG WEEK 2010: How Blogging Changed My Life

    Grace in Small Things: Sunday Edition #23