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One Year Anniversary Review: Blogging About Bloggers

I’ve had fun over the past year blogging about bloggers.

The first batch of bloggers I blogged about were the first bloggers on , followed by bloggers blogging about Hurricane Katrina, which was of special interest to me since I was in its direct path.

A fun article on bloggers blogging about unusual topics was “Local Blogging Tour Guides – Cornfield Mazes, Cabins, Flying, Satellite Photos, and Landmarks”:

Wasted Days Wasted Nights blogs about going on a date through the nearby cornfield maze in Huntsville, Alabama.

“Neat, huh! It was 14 acres big and believe me, you’ll do a lot of walking to make your way through. I was starting to think we’d be lost in there forever, it was totally dark (it doesn’t open until dusk), the paths looped and twisted and doubled back until you got totally turned around. The corn was way too tall to see over and smoke machines created a fog that you had to feel your way through, but you could hear the screams of others echoing all around you.”

The success and enthusiasm about and got me thinking a lot about the idea of a community of bloggers, so I went looking for bloggers, all blogging about the same topics, often within their own network or community, supporting each other with their blogging presence.

I married a nerd and I have a “thing” for nerds, so writing about “Science Blogs and Bloggers” was just a little too much fun for me. I found more scientific bloggers in “PhD Bloggers”, too. Blogging with brilliance overfloweth.

In “Blogging About Disabilities”, I explored bloggers who blog about their disabilities but also about their lives, sharing the wisdom of living in a world where they want to fit in but society sometimes makes that difficult. Such courage.

On the lighter side, I looked for bloggers blogging about the entertainment industry and highlighted Music Bloggers and Celebrity Bloggers, the stars who actually do serious blogging.

I started a series bragging about bloggers I’ve found and have enormous respect for, but that got sidetracked. The first brag was on Greg Balanko-Dickson who so impressed me, he was the first I invited as a guest blogger here. He wrote “When was the last time you read your own blog?”, “Prevent Blog Pollution”, “True Confessions of Early Adopter Turned Blogger”, and “Writing a Blog and Engaging Readers”. I had so much fun with that, I might do that more in the future. Think you might want to be a guest blogger on ?

I found the story of the “Alaska Airlines Decompression Incident” totally fascinating. It showcased the power of blogging so wonderfully.

Just after the Christmas weekend, Jeremy Hermanns and his fiance were returning from a holiday trip when their Alaska Airlines MD-80 had a decompression problem and the plane made an emergency landing at SeaTac Airport in Seattle. While nonexplosive and undramatic emergency landings rarely attract the attention of the media, this one did. Why? Probably because Jeremy blogged about it.

Not only did he blog about it, but the news story from KOMO-TV was “dugg” by someone on Digg and made it into the Top Stories list by being “dugg” by so many people.

…The big story here is not about what happened to Jeremy and his girlfriend. Yes, it was terrifying, and I love how he described it. The story is not about Alaska Airlines, or even the baggage crew. This is not even an issue about the airline industry. It is about the impact a blog post can have on the world and the media, and the Blogosphere.

Jeremy found a whole world of people out there via his blog, most of them strangers, who expressed their concern and support for what happened to him. He also found that there is a dark side to blogging and fame. We all need to learn about the dark side as well as the bright side of blogging, and this is a prime example.

In a follow-up on Jeremy Hermanns incident with Alaska Airlines, the power of blogging was really revealed:

When I blogged about Jeremy Hermanns blogging about his hair-raising event on an Alaska Airlines flight, my reasons were mixed.

First, I was stunned by the fact that this story made it to Digg and other tagging and social bookmarking services top stories, and then even more stunned that the media not only grabbed up the story but Jeremy’s blog, spreading the news of this non-event all over the world.

Second, the only parts of the original story that we found fascinating personally was the aspect of a police report being filed by Alaska Airlines of a “hit and run” (baggage handler dented the plane and didn’t report it) and the exciting fact that even with such a dent which became a hole, the plane flew on and landed safely, showcasing one of the reasons why my husband is one of thousands of airplane engineers, mechanics, and technicians work so hard for airplane safety.

Third, the after-post by Jeremy that many abusive comments on his blog came from Alaska Airlines registered IP addresses. Real or faked, this is something of concern.

Now, Blog Business Summit has posted “Respondeat superior: What does it mean for Alaska Airlines?”, announcing a podcast today (Jan 4, 2006) on the topic, and I’m even more stunned by where this story has gone:

A number of bloggers have brought up the issue of respondeat superior which is Latin for “let the master answer”? with regard to the case of the nasty comments which were allegedly posted on Jeremy Hermanns’ blog by Alaska Airlines employees. The legal concept – which is well supported by precedent – holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees when they are acting within the scope of their duties. Some bloggers have brought up the concept to explain why they think that Alaska could be in some legal hot water.

…I’m sure that Jeremy Hermanns had no idea that when he posted his scary incidence that it would get so huge or out of control. I’m sure he loves the attention, and it will interesting to see this through. Still, this continues to show the power and influence blogging has. I’m proud to be a small part of that.

With corporations now monitoring blogs more closely, it was interesting to highlight for you the growing trend in business blogging with “McDonald’s Starts Internal Corporate Blog” and Amazon Offers Author Blogs, along with a few others. Everyone wants to get into the blogging business.

On the downside of bloggers blogging, I wrote about how many bloggers are fading out or quitting, because they either said all they need to say or they have some other reason. In “Have Your Favorite Bloggers and Blogs Run Out of Steam”, I offered reasons and excuses for quitting blogging, but also how to avoid blog burn out.

I have been a writer for longer than the Internet is old and I’ve been dealing with the issue of calling myself a writer or blogger since the majority of my writing is now done on the web not on paper. What really caught me off guard was when I saw another blogger title themselves as an “author”. I wrote about this in “Lorelle is the Author of Lorelle on WordPress”:

Okay, so sometimes I’m ahead of the game keeping you informed of what is happening in the “now” of WordPress and blogging, but this is a thought I come late to the game with. You are a published author if you have a blog.

Did you make this “published” and “author” connection?

I’m a writer. I’ve published so many articles in so many mediums, I’ve lost count. I’ve also written books and have been dealing with book publishers on and off for years. But the thought that I’m the author of this blog, and the rest of my websites and blogs, caught me by surprise.

It also made me sit up and think about the responsibilities of being an author.

The act of hitting the Publish button on your WordPress blog is as close as modern technology gets to the printing press ON button. Without the struggle of ink, paper, binding, marketing, distribution, and advertising, you are a published author at that moment. No longer do you need to face endless meetings with publishers, distributors, and editors who want to thrash your work into little pieces on the ground, step on them, and then bring out the glue and scissors and start piecing your story back together.

I think that’s pretty profound.

It takes the concept of a blog as a diary, a personal journal, and opinionated babble, into the realm of books. Of magazines. Newspapers. Of published works. Wow!

…Has your responsibilities and obligations changed as an “author” of a blog? Do you have to do more, pay attention to more things, learn a lot more about things you didn’t know before, or wish you never knew? What are the responsibilities that come with being a “blog author”?

Do you call yourself an “author” or a “blogger”? Do you include a byline on your blog that says “by Fred Something” or “Author: Fred Something”? Or do you even credit yourself as the author of your written word?

It makes you think, doesn’t it?

I adore my fellow bloggers. The amount of encouragement and support I’ve gotten with this one year old blog on is amazing. I will work hard to continue to highlight the many terrific bloggers out there, bringing them and their wisdom to your attention. As for the rest of you, take time to “Thank a Blogger Today”.

I want to publicly thank all of the bloggers who have supported me and challenged me over the past year.

Keep it up.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

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