I Don’t Want to Be Called a Blogger
I have very mixed feelings about the term “blogger.” I started my first real blog in 2006. The concept was still relatively new back then but had blown up.
In 2007, the online version of The Arizona Republic decided to get in on the blogging craze. A friend of mine was an editor at the time and invited me to be one of the inaugural bloggers. It was an amazing opportunity.
I could basically write whatever the hell I wanted but they preferred it had something to do with Scottsdale, the city where I worked and was heavily involved in several think tanks and non-profit boards.
If the editors really like something I wrote, they would run it in print in The Arizona Republic. There are very few joys I have felt in my life like seeing my name and picture with a byline in a newspaper. It feels real.
What strongly determined what I would write about and how I would say it was that one of the owners of the company I worked for read it on a regular basis. Never did he have an issue with my content. Of course, other people did.
It was the first time I was introduced to online trolls. There were two camps in the city: the new, young regime committed to responsible but necessary development and growth and the old regime who wanted Scottsdale to stay “The West’s Most Western Town.”
There were a lot of old, well-off, white guys who didn’t care for much that a young woman had to say about their city. They were tough and my sensitive heart couldn’t take it for very ling and it eventually caused me to leave the platform.
I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the term “blogging” back then. The written essay has evolved. When I worked in print media, we called them columns. I had my first column in college.
What I wrote 25 years ago isn’t a far cry from what I write now. The only difference is that it’s not printed. I can’t hold it in my hand. My mom’s friends can’t cut out my column and stick it on their fridge.
When I had my own blog, I wrote every day. It wasn’t necessarily earth shattering because it didn’t have to be. For sure, it was what blogging was intended to be. It was a web log. A diary of sorts. But, it was funny.
It was self deprecating. It was random things that happened to me. It wasn’t art. It was ramblings and observations. I put very little time into it. Occasionally, it was good.
We’ve bastardized the term blogging. When people refer to what I do as blogging, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It has a lot to do with people’s perception of what a blog is. We got inundated with just about every mommy out there trying to make some extra money with recipes, what their kids did that day and an occasional story of married life.
It’s not that other people don’t find these things interesting. They have merit. But, I’m still stuck in the world of columnists. I admired Rick Reilly. I still hold that his essay “Funny You Should Ask” is prefect. It was stuck to my fridge for about a decade.
From Dave Barry, I was taught to laugh at the world and find humor everywhere because it was there. Writing about it allowed others to seek out their own ridiculousness every day.
If either of these writers were still actively writing their columns, I am sure they’d appear in digital form. I’d never refer to them as a blogger.
They were writers. Just writers. I’m a writer. Just a writer.
So when someone calls me a blogger, I correct them. I don’t blog. I write. Plain and simple. Until we find a better word, I’m Vanessa. I’m a writer. It’s nice to meet you.