Saturday, October 16, 2004

Blogging 101

Several readers have asked, "So, what is a blog, anyway?"

That's why Smartmom decided that it was time to have a teeny, tiny tutorial in blogging. So here goes. A blog is literally a WeB Log. Hence the name Blog. It is literally a daily journal on the Internet about politics, music, art, teen angst, the world according to ______ (someone's name here), or just about anything else.

Just click on that "next blog" buttom at the top right corner of the screen and check out thousands of other blogs.

The neat thing about blogs is that they are interactive. In other words, readers can respond by making comments. These comments are accessible at the bottom of every post. If there are no comments, you will see a 0. If there are comments, it might say 1, 6, or 596 depending on how many comments there are. Click the number and voila, you can read the comments. In order to comment, readers must be registered with Blogspot and give themselves a Blogspot name. Comments are warmly appreciated—and it's really not that big a deal to register with Blogspot.

Another nice thing about Blogspot: it automatically archives all posts. This means that you, dear reader, can access all of Smartmom's previous posts either by scrolling down at the side of the screen or clicking on the link that says: Previous Posts -- 10/10/04 - 10/16/04, for example. It's a great way to catch up on all the posts you've missed.

Some history. Smartmom discovered blogging when Teen Spirit sent her a link to his very own blog. Smartmom will be a good mom and NOT divulge the name of Teen Spirit's blog. She was, however, blown away by his blog and especially liked his blog motto: "What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about..."

As she read Teen Spirit's blog, she felt motherly pride for her son's fun, bloggy writing style. "Whoa, this is so cool," she said to herself. "It's like an x-ray into the mind of my 13-year-old." Not that she wanted to snoop. No, it wasn't that at all. It's just that Smartmom is, shall we say, a student of Teen Spirit's mind. And it was fun to do some studying. Yeah, that's the ticket.


Much as Smartmom LOVED Teen Spirit's blog, it didn't really occur to her to start her own. She figured it was something the teen generation was doing these days. This was reinforced by the fact that her twin 16-year-old nieces were both blogging as was their 20-year old sister, who is a student at UCLA. As it turned out, quite a few of Teen Spirit's friends were bloggin'. Suddenly, Smartmom understood why Teen Spirit was spending so much time hunched over his little white iBook in the dining room.

And then one day, out of the blue, Smartmom felt moved to start one of her own. It came to her, like so many of her best ideas, after meditating, Smartmom got up off her medititation pillow and walked over to her desk like she was in a dream. Typing her way to Teen Spirit's blog, she did some quick reverse engineering and figured out how to create her own. Why, right on the opening page of Blogspot it said, "Create an account, Name your blog, Choose a template in 3 easy steps." And it's free.


In 3 easy steps, Smartmom came up with Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn (OTBKB), which she subtitled: The Adventures of Smartmom, Hepcat, Teen Spirt, and the Oh So Feisty One. Once she had those anonyms for her immediate family, Smartmom knew that she could let loose on whatever was floating through her mind. And it felt right and appropriately bloggish.

In a few week's time, OTBKB evolved into a chatty, fun, personal, sometimes funny, sometimes serious romp down Seventh Avenue and beyond. From the start, Smartmom was committed to the idea of the boldface names approach to Brooklyn restaurants, stores, schools, and other local landmarks. While she wanted the blog to have a real sense of place, she also wanted to create a personal but not too personal forum for what was going on in her life.

At first, OTBKB was very much like a daily journal. But then Smartmom decided that you, dear reader, didn't really need to know what delicious entree Hepcat was preparing for dinner, the exact time she and OSFO fell asleep after bedtime reading, or what freelance writing project she was working on. And yet, within reason, the daily travails of life on Third Street were perfect fodder for Smartmom's bloggy voice.

Over time, OTBKB evolved into what Smartmom likes to call her very own "Hers" column. For those too young to remember, the "Hers" column was a feature in the Thursday New York Times for years. Short-form memoir writing at its best, the column was authored by an ever-changing pantheon of some of the best women writers around. That column morphed into the "Lives" page, which is currently on the back page of the Magazine Section of the Sunday New York Times. While quite different from "Hers," it too is often smart, interesting, and well-written. Other bloggy, journalistic influences include, "Waiting for Dessert" in The Village Voice, Anne Roiphe and Ron Rosenbaum in The New York Observer, Sam Sifton and other great columnists in The New York Press.

Which isn't to say that OTBKB is all that well written. Smartmom just wants her readers to know that she's aiming high.

So that in a nutshell is blogging and some reasons why Smartmom decided to do it. Sadly, ever since Smartmom began blogging, Teen Spirit hasn't posted a thing. In fact, his blog has been dormant for weeks. Smartmom's best guess is that once he saw that Smartmom was indulging in the blogosphere, he decided that it wasn't very cool anymore. Which is too bad since he had so much to say. Ah well, he's probably on to the next way-cool thing, lightyears ahead of his pre-historic mom. It is also possible that he's created a brand new blog and has no intention of sharing it with his copycat mom.

Smartmom, however, is glad to report that she's inspired a small blogging fad among some of her friends. And to those who haven't tried it yet, Smartmom says, "Give it a go, dear readers. In 3 easy steps, you too can be a blogging fool."


At 8:00 PM, Blogger Third Street said...

From Former Downstair's Neighbor

Thanks for nudging me over to your blog, which I've been meaning to drop by since you first announced it. I've only read through a couple of your entries, but I love it! You really capture the idyllic quality of Park Slope. Quite amazing actually. I'm canceling our sales contract for the Northampton house and moving back! Well, not so fast. I will try to visit often

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Dave said...

This blog is awesome! If you get a chance you may want to visit this ##KEYWORD## site, it's pretty awesome too!

At 11:24 AM, Blogger Erminio said...

Have you ever seen Asparagus this BIG
They grow up to 15in long and 2in wide.


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