Archive for February, 2007

So many people around are advertising ways to make a fast buck out of blogging. Get-rich-quick plans are abounding left and right with marketers and evangelists trying to get you to pay to become rich (thus they become rich)…sounds like some strange sort of pyramid scheme now doesn’t it? The funny thing is that they may just be right, not in the way they’re prescribing, but nonetheless, blogging is becoming one of the newest ways to make a living. After reading an article in the recent Nov. 16, 2006 Economist magazine entitled, ‘Going Pro: More people are quitting their day jobs to blog for a living’ one can’t help but realise that the way we make a living in modern society is changing into something our ancestors would have deemed ludicrous. I mean, making money by telling people intimate details about our lives? Yeah, right. My Grandfather worked for the same company for 44 years. I’m sure if the old guy were still around (To me, he was a legend) he’d say, ‘How does writing about yourself help anyone else?’ You’d be surprised Grandpa. You’d be surprised.

There’s something about hearing a person tell tales of their life’s experiences, their joys and their woes. We can connect with it, we can empathise…It makes us realise that we’re not alone in our struggles, that we’re part of a bigger picture, that others are doing really weird stuff too. It’s a little different from sitting around the fire in the days of indigenous cultures (when they prospered) listening to wisdom hidden in the elders’ stories. Now, the wisdom is being shared by people of all ages. Who else better to empathise with as a teenager than another of your own?

The Economist article mentions a popular blog by a woman named Heather B. Armstrong, which has over 1 million visitors every month. After adding some paid advertising to her site, she and her husband are now ‘Stay at Home Mothers (SAHM) and Stay at Home Fathers (SAHF)’, or as she likes to call them, ‘Shit Ass Ho Motherfucker’ and ‘Shit Ass Ho Fuckingbadass’. Please excuse my language but I’m quoting here. This is her style, and a strong writing style it is. That’s why people like it. People love a powerful personality, a character that is well defined and knows exactly who they are. Her blog is called ‘Dooce’. ‘Dooced’ is a term (I think she created) for losing one’s job as a result of writing your weblog, which happened to her. If you want to hear the rest of her background story, take a quick look at Dooce’s very unorthodox but highly effective and wonderfully candid biographical page.

So you can make a living from blogging, but does that mean it’s easy to do? Coming from the horse’s mouth of MiContent, I can tell you that writing week in and week out is not a simple task. For those who are making a living from it, the economist article quotes these ‘champions’ as saying that it’s taken them a long time, and a formidable amount of hard work and effort. What worthwhile job doesn’t? Om Malik who quit his job at Business 2.0 Magazine to work on his blog ‘GigaOm’ which receives 50,000 visitors daily states that, ‘“It’s not easy.’ Building his audience has “taken me five years, and a lot of sleepless nights.” He now has two other writers and has revenues in the tens of thousands per month with the help of what he says is an ‘ecosystem of support’ from sales and marketing companies.

These days the most lucrative area in the field of blogging stems from what are actually online magazines. In the days of old, owners had to spend a lot of money on distribution, materials (printing the magazines), and shipping them. It was also expensive to buy your audience via advertising. Bloggers are getting their audiences for free (through interesting content), and the only real costs occur when they need more bandwidth and disk space to support their growing sites. This is where the advertising comes in.

The Economist mentions some of the most profitable blogging companies are those with a group or ‘stable’ of online magazines like Weblogs Inc. who run ‘Engadget’, one of the most popular blogs in the Blogosphere. It’s a site dedicated to new technological inventions, often relating to video gaming (nerds rule the world.) They make tens of millions of dollars a year and are in a different class from the ‘small business’ blogs like Armstrong’s. Another major blogging stable mentioned is ‘Gawker‘ who has 14 sites including ‘Gizmodo’ (another ultra-popular gadget site…these geeks sure produce wealth!).

If you are aware of the MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) phenomenon (online role-playing games played between huge amounts of people all over the world, I am only aware they exist because I read an article…I’m a different kind of geek.) you will know that there are huge rooms full of university graduates in China playing video games for money. You don’t believe me? Some companies are comprised of 30 or more of these young people (who’ve had a hard time finding other work) sitting in rooms for 12 hours a day killing dragons, finding weapons, and drinking magical potions. The virtual gold coins and battle swords are sold for ‘real’ money to lazy/incompetent/busy Americans (and other wealthy nations who don’t need to scrounge for food) on Ebay and other means so that they can make it to the next level in their games. They make a pretty good living from it, better than the days of sewing shoes all day in a sweatshop. Now that’s a weird job! Next to that, blogging for a living seems relatively normal…

Jesse S. Somer is astounded at how powerful the medium of blogs has become. He believes it all has to do with our world and its people needing to feel more united with one another…a kind of revolutionary backlash created by a collective mental field that is tired of feeling fractured, lonely, and divided.

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Still touring the ‘Bloggies‘ blogging awards website I came across a blog that has successfully won the ‘Best European Weblog’ category for both 2005 and 2006. This blog is humorously titled ‘My Boyfriend is a Twat’ (great titles are so important for attracting attention). For the conservatives out there, the final word in the title is definitely being used in a comical context as opposed to one of vulgarity, which might be found in some pornographic material. When you come to this blog there isn’t anything that immediately jumps out at you to inform of its quality. It seems as though it’s simply one of the tens of millions of personal journal-type blogs that make up the majority of the Blogosphere, and strangely enough, that’s what it is. However, after closer inspection you will see that this is a blog that sets itself apart from most of the wider blogging community (thus its popularity). What makes it special is very subtle, yet very effective.

What you will find at this blog is a very personalised approach to the basic blogging format. If you’ve done a lot of surfing around the Internet you will know that many of the blogs out there are created from cookie-cutter templates. People have their posts, their categories, their bookmarks, a small biography, a place to leave comments etc. It can become a bit tiresome and repetitive. You end up asking yourself, ‘who is this person whose life I’m reading about? What makes them individual?’ The writer of the ‘MBIAT’ blog has obviously spent a lot of time (intentionally?) creating a space that is totally and utterly reflecting their way of interacting with the world. This creates a succinct, developed identity that readers can relate to successfully.

Basically, the blog is about a 40+ years old woman who has a boyfriend, who she likes to poke fun at. What better way to do it than write a blog about him? She also takes the normal approach of telling us about her everyday life experience. Isn’t it often so compelling that we are now easily being able to see into another human being’s (a ‘stranger’s) perspective on existence? Let’s take a minute to go in some detail about why her blog is more interesting than most.

  1. At the top of the blog are 4 main categories: Weblog, All About Me, 52 Questions, Photographs. Have a look at her ‘All About Me’ page. It has a few cool little lists like ‘Things I love’ and ‘Things I hate’ (not just ‘I’m an accountant blah, blah, blah’), as well as an ‘Executive briefing’ about her life for those who are ‘too busy’ to read the whole section. She’s got a real sense of humour and is always integrating it into the writing. The bio’s been updated as well (something more of us should do in case things in our lives have changed since the inception of our blogs). Check out down the side columns as well. She’s put in a lot of effort to make each one different from the ones on her basic Weblog page (great initiative).
  2. Side columns: On the main blog page she has a photo of herself, a description on what the blog is about, links to her ‘blogring’ friends, as well as bookmarks categorised as ‘Non-Twats’, AWOL Bloggers’, and ‘Boring Politicians for the Twat’. See, we can even be original and creative with our bookmark category titles. She has the usual email, RSS Feeds, and search engine, but then she’s also got a Guestmap (shows where site readers come from around the globe visually), and even has a Shopping Centre where faithful readers can buy merchandise like T-shirts, hats, coffee cups, postcards, and mousepads all adorned with her witty blog name.
  3. Still in the side column, she has a ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme’ donation button (keeping her silly approach, lightening up an otherwise serious issue-not many people don’t take money seriously) for monetary help from her readers/subscribers (you can get updated posts emailed). However, this also comes accompanied by her ‘Wish List with a Twist’ giving a real personal touch to why she ‘needs’ the money. E.G. A Best of Simon and Garfunkel CD! (She hates when people use exclamation marks-From the ‘Things I Hate List’). The items on the list are cheekily crossed off as she purchases them, which to me is cute, but also shows the real, honest human reasons why she’s asking for money as well as seeming honest about what she spends the cash on. This breeds a sense of integrity.
  4. Among more categories on this initial page are the links to ‘Twattisms: Quotes made by the ‘Twat’’. Enough said.
  5. The ’52 Questions’ page is a list of questions collated from queries by her readers about her life. It’s quite an interesting and informative read, which adds even more depth to her blogging character.
  6. Photos page: All of the photos are funny or interesting, have meaning, and are accompanied by amusing titles and information. This is what also made her bookmarks more worthwhile than the usual lists. Each one has a small summary stating in detail exactly what kind of blog they are.
  7. Comments are called ‘People spitting’ on her blog. Why does it have be called ‘Comments’?

‘Who needs a man, when you’ve got Marmite?’ (English toast spread)…“You put the Shat in Shatter, Put the Pain in Spain, Your germs are splattered about, Your face is just a stain”John Cooper Clarke. These quotes as well as photos of the ‘Lazy Twat’, ‘Greedy Twat’, and ‘The Twat Gardening’ all help to give the blogging world a fuller picture of the blogger’s complete persona, thus making one feel as though you really know her. She states that the only men she could fall in love with have a sense of humor, and a great tongue-in-cheek, yet natural sense of humor is also what makes this blog extra-enjoyable.

Jesse S. Somer has come to realize that there are very few boundaries to creating a blog that is totally original, strongly and succinctly emphasizing one’s individual identity and personality (the key to becoming someone people want to ‘know’ in the Blogosphere).

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Ok, I guess it’s about time we got a touch more serious here at MiContent. A lot of my recent blog posts have been based around the ‘nicer’ aspects of the Blogosphere, you know, kid’s blogs, funny sites, the weird and the wacky. Well, the truth of the matter is that for many reasons I would often rather write about topics that bring a smile to your face than to be just another voice focussing all my attention on the dark and sad things that happen in our world. If you’ve been part of the blogging community for awhile you will know that one of the main functions for blogs is to be a tool politically, to affect public opinion by giving a deeper insight into issues than we ever used to receive from conventional mainstream media.

I read recently that some of the strongest growing new blogging communities are emanating from out of the Middle East: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Persia (Iran), as well as many other countries in the vicinity. On the ‘Bloggie Awards‘ website the 2005 winner of the ‘Best African or Middle Eastern Blog’ was called ‘Baghdad Burning’. This is a blog that I believe was started just after the recent American invasion of Iraq, (Its archives go back to August of 2003, but I believe there were more posts written before that about the war.) and it comes from the mouth of an Iraqi girl who states simply in her bio, ‘Let’s talk war, politics and occupation.’ When she says ‘occupation’ she’s not talking about her job, people. The blog’s tagline is ‘I’ll meet you ‘round the bend my friend, where hearts can heal and souls can mend.’ Maybe you can tell me where this quote comes from (sounds like famous literature), but you can see where this girl is coming from…a place mostly unknown to our own experience, of deep violence and suffering.

I decided to read the newest post first (November 5, 2006) and then read one of the oldest, the August 31, 2003 one entitled ‘Made me laugh‘) to see how much had changed (if anything) when it came to the situation in Iraq, her emotional state related to it, and possibly any evolution in her style of writing. You can tell instantly from the start that for her the Iraqi War is something that you can’t change channels on as we do in our safe living rooms. The war has completely altered every aspect of life for this average girl whose knowledge of normality has been discarded to the sandy desert winds like the chemical residue from a Kalashnikov rifle in the hands of a Baghdad looter.

Just reading these two posts I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the incredible situation that average people in Iraq have to contend with. This is the power of weblogs. We are now able to ‘connect’ if only in spirit (but often directly through email and comment-based interaction) with the actual minds behind the otherwise anonymous faces that have always bombarded us on TV or Internet News. This one girl’s writing is so compelling. It’s filled with opinion that could only be informed by actual experience, and although it may sometimes clash with your own, you can definitely understand and empathize with the reasons why she feels so passionately about her country’s situation.

I’m sure if I read more of the blog that her whole archives could in essence become a form of biographical/memoir/narrative documentary that sheds light on a situation that has been so hotly debated in political corners where we the people have had minimal opportunities of receiving any truth that hasn’t been tainted by propaganda or biased opinion. The older post sets a scene that easily could be on any Hollywood action movie screen (Oh how we love to fantasize about situations that we ourselves don’t have to experience. We talk of ‘sitting at the edge of our seats’ because it’s so ‘thrilling’, because it seems ‘ as if we are there ourselves’. The fact is, that if most of us Western, so-called ‘first world’ societies ever had to deal with anything as fiercely dangerous as this war, we would foul our pants as quickly as a baby after being ‘burped’ post-suckling at the mother’s breast.

The newest post however is more impassioned, informed opinion than any simple setting of a scene. The scene has already long been set and then burnt, a melted and distorted remnant of car on a hopeless highway that stretches eternally into the oil-blackened skies of the desert. Now we hear the strong voice of a young woman who has seen with her own eyes atrocities the rest of the world would gladly flip over to watch a humorous ice cream commercial, or perhaps one of those new ‘really funny’ bank ads. How much do those ads cost? Don’t we all go to the bank anyway? She (calls herself ‘Riverbend’) feels strongly about the recent decision to execute Iraq’s former dictator. Why not read her blog post and find out why?

Jesse S. Somer doesn’t like to watch the News. However, he’s always interested in hearing someone’s own ‘life story’.

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It’s time again to review one of the millions of blogs ‘out there’ in the Blogosphere. Wait a sec. Maybe I mean ‘in here’ in the Blogosphere? I found a pretty cool blog that some of you might really get a kick out of. It’s called ‘Craftster’ and can be found at ‘Craftster‘. This is a blog for people who are interested in creating things with their own two hands. However, it doesn’t seem to be too much like those old knitting magazines that you see at Grandma’s house. There’s some really crazy stuff here. They’ve got a great tagline as well at the top of their blog (very important for catching peoples’ attentions) ‘Rock is dead. Long live paper and scissors!’

Let’s see, zombie and robot teddy bears anyone? They recently had a little competition (Craft Challenge #15, they’re obviously in on the fact that prizes will always cause people to get off their butts to do some hard work!) and this winning teddy bear had removable intestines. Just so you know (for fellow master creators) it was made from fleece, felt, and Polyfil, and stands 16 inches high.

There are some really imaginative and weird people out there. I really liked this crocheted robot with its little polymer clay piggie friend (It’s hard to believe it’s handmade.)

Then there was the previous Challenge: ‘The Little Tiny Challenge’. The winner was this tray of miniscule fast food that is actually edible. It looks like it still would pack a punch though; probably still has more calories than a full-size salad!

If you’re out there still wondering what to write a blog about, or possibly just confused about which types of blogs to try and search for, this blog should give you the strong impression that you can write and find others writing about just about anything in the known Universe. Come to think of it, there are people writing about the unknown Universe as well ‘Paranormal Magazine‘. There are also even people writing about virtual and quantum realities, places that most people don’t even know they are visiting.

You can blog about anything. In essence blogs are becoming the medium for humanity to journal everything about our existence. If I was from another planet and wanted to see what life on Earth was like 5,000 years ago in humanity’s supposed year called 2006 A.D., I’d only have to check out the blog archives on our Internet. This is of course assuming that we keep creating new data storage technologies to keep our sacred ‘files of life’. Hmmm. ‘Blogs: Files of life.’

Jesse S. Somer isn’t so good at being crafty with his hands. That is of course if you don’t count making ‘kickass’ pizzas. They’re not so original to be remembered throughout the ages, but they do taste unbelievably good!

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If you’re into blogs you definitely have some favourites that you read regularly, I mean that’s what it’s all about right? Well, one that I read (admittedly as well as many other people) and have written about a couple times on Blogspoke previously is the ‘Dilbert Blog‘. Check out ‘Blog Comments pages become crazy conversations’ and ‘Blog ‘coolness’ is born from content.’ Well, today I read his post entitled, ‘Feeling Better’ which is basically about how he didn’t post on his blog yesterday because of sickness, and now of course he’s…you guessed it. In this unusual post, rather than write his usual witty commentary about the human race which he lovingly coined ‘Moist robots’, he asks readers, ‘What’s the strangest coincidence that has ever happened to you?’ I started to read the hundreds of comments and found that I couldn’t stop. We humanoids regularly read literature, magazines, newspapers, now blogs…but who would have ever known that a blog’s ‘Comments’ section could become a place to be tangled up in story?

A while ago I wrote an article entitled, ‘Do you believe in random coincidence? Or, do you think that there is some destiny involved when things magically ‘come together’? The shortened name was called, ‘The Universal Connection’. Read it here: ‘The Universal Connection‘. I believe coincidences or destined connections are an excellent topic of interest, as do the Dilbert Blog readers who told their stories in the ‘Comments’ section of the ‘Feeling Better’ article. Here are some of my favourite tales from the already 184 stories related on the subject of ‘strangest coincidence.’ Sorry if the post is long but I really think these short memories have the effect of causing one to stop and think about the connectedness of the Universe…However, of course you may disagree.

1. ‘A few weeks ago I was on a field trip for a fire ecology course, chatting with a woman I hadn’t seen since we were bunkmates, four years ago. We had both worked for the Forest Service and shared a cabin with an exchange student from Taiwan who had disappeared near the end of our field season. The Taiwanese woman had gone camping, for only the second time in her life, alone, and she hadn’t come back in time for the end-of-the-season party. I notified the Parks Service before I had to leave and they sent out a search party.

Besides the surprise of meeting a bunkmate in class after no contact for four years, the strange coincidence involved the man sitting on the log next to us. He interjected with the name of the Taiwanese woman. It turned out that he was working for the Parks Service that summer – and had rescued our lost cabin-mate.

She had wandered far off the trail on a deer path, in the fog, fallen down a steep slope, broken her arm and shredded her side. But that’s another story…’

2. ‘After getting off the bus on the way home from school, my buddy and I came upon a small grass fire. A sheriff’s deputy was on scene and had already called for the fire dept but they had not yet arrived. The deputy had just emptied his squad car’s tiny fire extinguisher when a sedan pulled up behind him. The driver hopped out, called the deputy over, opened his trunk and handed all of us fire extinguishers. He had a trunk full of them because he was in fact a fire extinguisher salesman! It’s been 20 years and recalling that event still makes me smile.’

3. ‘I’ve lived in Alaska for 25 years. My best friend died while climbing Mount Makalu in Nepal. Being executor of his estate, I received several calls from people who knew him. (He had friends worldwide)

A guy called from Puyallup, Washington one night, just to chat about our mutual friend. Meanwhile, I had just THAT DAY discovered the name (possibly) of my missing daughter on a girl’s track team in Puyallup, Washington. (Her mother had taken her away 18 years ago)

I mentioned this coincidence to this fellow from Puyallup. In seconds, he was looking through his daughter’s yearbook. A few minutes later he had scanned and emailed her picture to me. There was no question – she is my daughter. Search over.’

4. ‘One that happened to actor Anthony Hopkins:

From ‘A View From Elsewhere‘ (John Montgomery’s Weblog’)

The British actor Anthony Hopkins [who shot to fame as Hannibal Lector] was delighted to hear that he had landed a leading role in a film based on the book ‘The Girl From Petrovka’ by George Feifer. A few days after signing the contract, Hopkins traveled to London to buy a copy of the book. He tried several bookshops, but there wasn’t one to be had. Waiting at Leicester Square underground for his train home, he noticed a book apparently discarded on a bench. Incredibly, it was ‘The Girl From Petrovka’. That itself would have been coincidence enough but in fact it was merely the beginning of an extraordinary chain of events. Two years later, in the middle of filming in Vienna, Hopkins was visited by George Feifer, the author. Feifer mentioned that he did not have a copy of his own book. He had lent the last one – containing his own annotations – to a friend who had lost it somewhere in London. With mounting astonishment, Hopkins handed Feifer the book he had found. ‘Is this the one?’ he asked, ‘with the notes scribbled in the margins?’ It was the same book.”’

5. ‘When I was nine, my family was driving from Michigan to Oklahoma to visit the grandparents for Christmas. We had bought a flannel plaid shirt with elbow patches for my Grandpa, but we left it at home. We realized this too late, we were already hours away from home and couldn’t turn around. About the time we crossed into Oklahoma, we saw a wrapped present in the middle of the road. My dad was always dreaming of that bag of money that would miraculously fall into his hands, so we pulled over and picked it up. Inside it was a flannel plaid shirt in my Grandfather’s size. It was good that he got a present from us that year; he died about two months later. My grandma has a picture of him in that shirt from that Christmas that she keeps on display. Now, is that a coincidence or a Christmas miracle?’

6. ‘In WW2 my father’s ship was torpedoed and sunk. The submarine surfaced. As the submarine men were about to fire on the life rafts, they thought they saw a plane and the submarine dived. My father was on the raft for two weeks and finally got picked up.

40 years later at work in a factory on the other side of the world he was talking with his German co-worker of many years.

He was on that submarine.’

*This next blog comment actually caused me to feel quite emotional as it obviously did for another reader who ‘replied’ to it in his or her own comment. Blog comments causing emotional reactions and intimate human connections? You go figure…

7. ‘My dad was taken to hospital a few days ago and diagnosed as terminal. He has 10 days left at best. The cactus plant he had for over 40 years just started to wilt and die.’

8. The reply: ‘please, find

1. tuvshintugs_burhan_bumbiin_oron

This is song about one’s love for his father and mother and his homeland.

I so feel your pain, I lost my mom 9 years ago, I am with you, we all are.’

There’s a nice little quote by the famous science-fiction/humor author Douglas Adams slipped into one of the comments: ‘There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.’

Jesse S. Somer wonders if it’s simply coincidence that he’s blogged about coincidence.

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A friend of mine forwarded me an article from ‘Web Pro News‘ entitled ‘The Politics of the Blogosphere’ written by a guy named Joe Lewis. Now, this is interesting because I grew up in Midwest America (Ohio), and when I travelled up to Michigan to watch Detroit Red Wings ice hockey, they played at Joe Louis Arena (I wonder if it’s still there? I’ll have to search the Net for it after I finish writing this post.) Now admittedly they do spell their last names differently, but there’s a connection here (possibly only tangible in my own mind) between this Lewis’s article content, and the profession of the famous Joe Louis who had a stadium named in his honour. Who was the famous Joe Louis? Well, some say he was the greatest heavyweight-boxing champion of all time (Check out Wikipedia’s entry on Joe Louis).

Ok, so here’s my connection. After reading the modern day Joe Lewis’s article about how bloggers are starting to openly criticise each other as if in some political arena vying for page-clicks and readership growth, we are now once again seeing the shadow side of humanity impinging itself on a great thing. With 57 million blogs now speaking their minds out in the blissful Blogosphere, we now have to contend (no pun intended) with that age-old tradition of the battle for power. Hey, you’re working hard to regularly write interesting and informative content for the worldwide Internet community…the only problem is how do they know you exist? Thus, the ‘battle’ and struggle for attention; the competition has begun!

If you’ve witnessed any contemporary democratic election you couldn’t have looked past the TV commercials (costing millions of dollars of course) where instead of telling the community what the candidate hopes to do for future posterity, they spend their time verbally bashing their opposition. It often reminds me of kids on the playground ‘chopping down the tall poppy’ so that one of us wouldn’t be overcome by an inflated ego (How nice children can be!). The only small difference is that now we’re dealing with adults; some people never grow up.

It’s becoming a boxing ring in our brand new world of the Blogosphere. People want to be known, want to be popular, powerful, and revered. The positive result is often hard working grass-roots effort hoping to achieve an identity through altruistic interaction, creation, and communication. Sadly and unfortunately, this type of enterprise takes a lot of effort and the paradoxical opposite also comes into existence, and that is aggressive, winner-take-all, dog-eat-dog competitiveness. There are many reasons that people are judging each other’s blogs harshly. The main one of course is simply a difference in opinion or beliefs…I mean how many wars are begun based around some ignorant perception of supposedly ‘different’ human beings’ so called ‘strange’ cultures?

Another reason these fights come about stems from two parties that have similar interests but who both want to be recognised as the main authority on a given subject. How different are Republicans and Democrats once elected? How different are Protestants and Catholics for that matter? Surely, they are much more similar when compared with Neo-Pagans or Theravada Buddhists. Still, they can hate each other’s perceived differences with a vengeance.

A funny yet very common reason in consumer capitalist society that these word-slinging literary pugilists are taking to the ring has to do with marketing. So many of today’s most popular products, websites, services, and even blogs, became so because of simple publicity. This means that if you do something that stands out as original, passionate, inspired, or even ridiculous, you will have separated yourself from the crowd, from the flock if you will. Now throwing punches isn’t nice, but any successful marketer will tell you that even if your publicity is ‘bad publicity’, it’s better than ‘no publicity’ at all!

So put on your body armour, don your gloves, and step into the field of battle. You may just have to utilise those mental and strategic martial arts once you’ve entered the Blogosphere. Fighting may keep you alive, and strangely enough, it could even put you on the map.

However, Jesse S. Somer doesn’t condone any form of violence in the Blogosphere or anywhere else for that matter. If you can’t make it to the top peacefully, you probably aren’t going to stay up there for very long. Nobody likes a bully.

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One good way you’d assume (however, ‘assuming’ often makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’!) to find good blogs out in the World Wide Web would be to check out some blog award sites. One such site I discovered is called the ‘Bloggies’. The Bloggies are awards voted on by the general Internet-viewing public and cover many different categories ranging from ‘Best African Weblog’, to ‘Best Tagline of a Weblog’, to ‘Best Teen Weblog’. There are around 30 categories in total, and this is the sixth year of this popular award site’s existence.

Scanning down through the categories you can link to last year’s winners as well as the four closest runner-up nominees per area of interest. I decided to check out some of the ‘best’ blogs of 2005. As I mentioned in my last post ‘Laughter-inducing content is just as important as serious blogging matters’, I like a good laugh as much as the next guy on the block. The winner of last year’s ‘Most Humorous Weblog’ was ‘Overheard in New York‘. I couldn’t stop laughing when I read the posts here! It’s a really clever idea that seems to have connected with just about anyone in the community that’s come across it. What’s involved is simple. If you’re out on your general travels in New York (there’s also ‘Overheard at the beach‘ for those who love the sand and ‘Overheard in the office‘ for the ‘stuck in a cubicle’ generation, which both could encompass a much larger audience, although there are definitely a lot of people wagging tongues in ‘The Big Apple’) you listen to the conversations of your fellow travellers/society and if you here something that sounds a bit silly, you record it in your mind and then post it on the site. You wouldn’t believe what comes out the mouths of the supposedly most-evolved, super-intelligent, top species on the hierarchal pyramid of Earth’s sentient beings…

Here’s an example to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

 ‘Wait, What Was the Old White?’

Latina: Like white people. You know, like you.
Jewish guy: I’m not white, I’m Jewish.
Latina: Didn’t you heard, Jew is the new white.
Jewish guy: Oh.
–4th St & Broadway
Overheard by: Noemi

Last year’s ‘Best Food Blog’ went to ‘Vegan Lunchbox‘. Technically I’m pretty far from being a vegan (I did it for a couple of months for health reasons, and I was a vegetarian for 8 years). However, I now eat cheese, chocolate, and fish. I know there’s a technical term for it, but I just call myself a ‘fishatarian’. Anyway, the Vegan Lunchbox is a pretty interesting blog. I know a lot of hardcore meat-eaters. I live with a Hungarian barbarian as well as a ‘Meat Pizza Junkie’ who both firmly believe (they were brought up to, culturally) that if there’s no meat, there’s no taste. I used to think this way too when I was a kid; all those side dishes of frozen mini-vegetables…Yuck! This clever vegan blogger has heaps of recipes of great tasting cuisine that could easily convert card-carrying carnivores into becoming veritable vegan volunteers. Check it out.

‘Go Fug Yourself’ won both the ‘Best Entertainment Weblog’ and ‘Best Writing of a Weblog’ awards, as well as being nominated for ‘Best American Weblog’. This is probably a ‘must-see’ for celebrity-hunting gossipers, but personally I don’t have a clue how it could receive an award for anything to do with writing. Possibly it’s for the witty commentary that accompanies the all-too-prevalent photographs of famous people who have been busted dressing poorly (‘Fuglies’ are ‘F*%$ing uglies’, didn’t you know?), but there just has to be so many more well-written blogs out there! The blog’s tagline is ‘Fugly is the new pretty’…

The winner of ‘Best Asian Weblog’ http://tokyo-girl.blogspot.com/ is a great example of intelligent writing. Her vocabulary and style alone sets the bar far above anything that I read at ‘Go Fug Yourself’. You decide. Check out the rest of the winners as well. It may just give you some ideas on how to improve your own blogging as well as opening your eyes to what other people are ‘talking’ about in the world at large. You may one day aspire to pull off the ultimate challenge in ‘Bloggieness’: Winning Weblog of the Year’, which last year was taken by one of my favourites: ‘Post Secret‘.

Jesse S. Somer has yet to win a Bloggie, but he’ll have you know that in elementary/primary school he came in second place for the school’s Spelling Bee…It’s only up from here.

Copyright MiContent.com.au

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