My previous discussion of the Brooklyn Blogfest was marred by the assertion that the event was awash in “self-congratulation and self-promotion.” Not that I actually wrote that – Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn did – but that was the general idea behind one paragraph. I think that probably hurt some feelings.
The actual point of my short review was that it was great that the Brooklyn blogging community got together and talked a little bit about the issues surrounding our chosen pursuit. And I’d like to spell it out here that that opportunity existed because of the hard work of Ms. Louise Crawford, of Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.
In her latest post, Louise ends with “it makes me wonder if there needs to be another blogfest and, if so, what the blogfest needs to be.” I’d like to take a second to put in my two cents about that question.
Yes, we need another Blogfest. There is clearly a huge interest among bloggers and blog enthusiasts in getting together and having an IRL discussion about, well, blogging.
But what if next time, the speakers from these great blogs address not the greatness of blogging, but the issues that they face specifically as great Brooklyn bloggers? Within the speeches given Thursday night, several people touched on their own challenges. I think this is where the meat of the next Blogfest is.
- Bed-Stuy Banana talked about the flack she gets on her blog from people who question her legitimacy as mouthpiece for her neighborhood.
- A few people, specifically Petra from Bed-Stuy Blog and Robert from Gowanus Lounge, mentioned the need to address the lack of diversity among bloggers – a particular tragedy given the diversity of the place we all live.
- Gersh, from Brooklyn Paper, asked us to think about “the hate” not just in our commenters words, but in our blogs in general. And I think, there, he was speaking about rampant, passionate subjectivity in blogs as a journalist trained in objectivity, rather than as a producer of a new media that lacks clear professional standards. As bloggers, what sort of ethical issues do we face? Is “news” what happened, or how we reported it, or that we reported it?
These are just a few of the questions that have already been raised, and questions we should think about and try to answer as blogging becomes a greater fixture in the way regular people communicate and gather information.
As a medium that is already pretty deep in its meta-ism and self-reflection, I think it would be apt for us to take these questions out into our community and openly discuss them. And it’s so fun to do that in the actual world, accompanied by delicious free fudge.