Last week I moderated a blogger panel. I was disappointed with the low attendance, but at certain times of the semester it’s hard to get faculty to turn out. However, I was very pleased with the actual content — the bloggers were articulate and thoughtful and passionate. It was a great discussion. A big thank you to Cliff, Oyster, Schroeder and Maitri. (Alas, Karen of Squandered Heritage couldn’t make it, which is a shame because I’m sure she would have brought another great perspective.)
Here are the questions I asked. Remember, these were formulated with a non-bloggy audience in mind:
- Tell us about your blog. What do you write about, and why? What motivates you?
- Who are your readers? How many people read your blog? Do they leave comments? How does your readership inform your writing?
- Tell us about the blogs you read (not strictly local). How do other blogs influence your writing?
- The writer David Zirin described the New Orleans blogosphere as being unlike most cities, using the phrase “blogger solidarity.” Your thoughts on the nature of the local blogosphere?
- If you were blogging before Katrina, how did Katrina change your blog? If you started blogging post-Katrina, was Katrina in some way a catalyst?
- Activism: Describe how you are active in your community. How does that relate to your blogging? Is your blog an adjunct to this work or is it your main channel? Can blogging be a form of activism?
I don’t think I explicitly got to some of those latter questions because the conversation took on a life of its own (as good conversations should) and we ended up covering those topics.
However, my big regret is that I didn’t allot more time. We only had an hour, and so I didn’t get to my final two questions. This was particularly disappointing because these were my “big” questions:
- Does blogging matter? Can blogs make a difference? And if so, how?
- One promise of new media is democratization. Is this promise being realized, or does the blogosphere reproduce/reflect social inequities?
I thought I’d follow up by posing these questions to my esteemed panelists online. Please answer on your own blogs, or in the comments as you prefer. Feel free to address either of these two questions, or both — or neither, as the spirit moves you.
Anybody else can join in too; it’s an internet free-for-all.