Archives for category: Imperfect Blogging

Migrating your blog is not easy, I’ll tell ya that much.

I did it once, from my own server, using Blogger, to WordPress, and today, I moved it from WordPress to my spanking new domain (still using WordPress, the blog publishing platform) and become a ‘platinum member’ for two years of hosting at Bluehost.com.

Why, oh why, am I doing this again?

Pride. I take pride in my blog. Buckets of it. And since it’s the only writing I’m going to do these days, might as well give it all I’ve got. Been blogging for three years this month, so I think it deserves a celebration.

Although there are better ways I can think of to celebrate, instead of spending the whole day on my ass learning how to do code simple PHP to make my plugins work and configuring MySQL to set up my stats (which is dismally non-existent, at the moment), while vainly trying to beautify my blog with the 150 downloaded themes so it doesn’t suck.

Oh yea, it’s all about the themes. 50% why I wanted to do this again. Totally worth the 15 hours spent on this.

Make that 60%.

While I’m completely smitten with WordPress, make no mistake. This is hard work. So much so I sent the kids to bed at 7pm with mac and cheese and no stories. Momma’s gotta ‘work’, I’d said. Gotta be ready to retake the world, my babies.

By the way, Rae asked to pray for Pikachu today.

“Pikachu? Like the Pikachu on TV?” I asked, a little puzzled. And afraid.

“Yea, please pray that Pikachu will be safe.”

“Okay. But honey, you know Pikachu on TV isn’t real, right?” I had to do it. For the love of my God.

“Mooohhhmy! It’s only pretend!” she answered, giving me the evil eye. I’d totally spoiled the mood.

“Okay okay, Lord, please bless Pikachu…” I continued to go down the list of people we always prayed for.

“Pretend bless, Mommy. Pretend bless!!”  

Okay, now my daughter thinks I’m a total idiot.

“Dear Lord, please PRETEND bless Pikachu…”

Totally.

I was listening to the latest Bloggercon (IV)'s podcasts on ZDnet, and they had one called "The emotion (sic) life of bloggers", which featured, among many semi-famous bloggers in the US, Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome fame (who'd led another session called The User Complaint session, which turned out to be another mega-software corp bashing session and didn't make any real sense at all in the end, but that's another story).

And it got me to thinking about why people blog, and why it's just so popular.

Was journal-writing and diary-keeping ever this hot? Is putting your thoughts out there for friends and strangers the reason it's hot? If so, why?

Why do I blog?

Revisiting this topic, it's because I was a journalist, and I'd wanted to write about other things in my life, put stuff out there I otherwise would not have the opportunity to write about, use that creative side of my brain a little. Rant a little. Share info, links, opinions. I started blogs for my girls because I'd wanted them to have something to look back at when they grow up, an accessible, searchable archive of their lives as little babies and kids.

Looking back, blogging rounded out my 'public personality' a little. It used to be that I was this geeky writer who was neither here nor there, writing about games, technology, AND relationships (yea, I'm diverse like that). People, friends and strangers, got to know me as a woman who had relationship problems, who found the love of her life, got married and now living out the rest of her life as a muddled-up mom. It was my way of letting the world know that I existed.

You don't have to climb Mount Everest or swim the English Channel or pose naked for Playboy (well, maybe some still do) to become famous these days. All you need is a computer and a blog account, average writing skills, a nose for what people want to read, and you're in the race to be seen and heard. Even if you're not in it for the money (direct or otherwise) or fame, simply putting your life out there will get you enough attention to make friends out of strangers, and enemies of friends and family members.

After three years of partaking in this pleasure, I've observed three things about blogs and bloggers:

1. If you're just coming into this phenomenon, the best kind of blog to have is an anonymous one. This is odd coming from me because I hate anonymous commenters but I think if you want a blog that gives you the freedom to vent and rant and say what you want without getting fired or get any significant backlash from, you will need to stay anonymous. Assume an alter ego because when you can blog in the knowledge that nobody will ever find out who you really are (with the clever omission of certain personal details and the right software), you will be able to say whatever it is you want to say. The downside is, of course, you can't publicise it as much as you like and as twisted as it may sound, the reason TO blog is that other people, complete strangers, perverts, quite possibly your mom, will read it. Otherwise, you'll keep it offline.

2. There are bloggers and there are writers. That is why journalists and writing in the traditional sense is still necessary. Bloggers like Scoble, I find, are famous not for their ability to write, but for their knowledge of the industry they're in, the status they're in and the resources they have. Bloggers like my friend Karli and so many like her, may not blog about much, but man, can they write the hell out of their otherwise mundane lives. Ordinary people who write extraordinarily about what it is to be human. They may not get a lot of hits and hence, make a lot of money, but if the blogosphere ever wants to be considered seriously for its artistic, emotional and intellectual integrity, it is people like these that will carry the legacy of humanities through to the next generation, not the technology.

3. Podcasting and vlogging are quickly coming into their own as popular platforms to be seen and heard, which sends a very simple message: You don't have to know how to write to blog. You don't have to have a recording contract or movie deal to be a star. And as an audience, we don't have to pay to be entertained anymore (well, except your ISP bill). All you need is the right technology, genuine talent (for stupidity or otherwise), and you're set.

So what happens when most of the world put their lives online, in more ways than one? What happens when you have so many outlets to speak up and be heard? What happens when everyone lives so publicly?

I can hear my father's answer to this question.

"Then noone really is."

I spent much on commuting this week in years due to the avalanche of appointments for both work and play. Just yesterday, I had to be at four places at once, starting with our Kotaraya bloggers‘ brunch at Dome KLCC, to which I brought Danny. Both of us got lost for a while because neither of us had an inkling how we would be able to make them out in a crowd of patrons enjoying their Citron Presses and lattes. In a roundabout manner, we located Aiz‘s number (Aiz being the only person both of us COULD recognise, and yea, I was gonna meet a bunch of strangers without any of their numbers! – typical Jennism) and finally found the whole lotta them tucked away in a ‘private room’ in a corner of the cafe.

We were an hour late and Aiz was already talking about Project Petaling Street. We tried slipping in unnoticed but that was hard to do, it being a small group. Someone shouted my name and red-faced (being SO late and all), I had to intro my sorry ass with Sarini ‘filming’ away. Danny was spared, being the tag-along’ friend. It was pretty unnerving, finally putting on a face in front of people who may have read your blogs about being a sham and other intimate bits of info you don’t really want to acknowledge you thought, much less wrote.

We mingled, talked about the things we blogged about, about blogging, about other bloggers. It reminded me of the IRC gatherings we used to have (what? 5 yrs ago?), where we would meet strangers and talk about things we IRCed about, about IRCing, about other IRCers. It’s always so nice to make new friends. It’s like traveling without moving (who was it who said that? alanis?), discovering new sights, new sounds, new ideas. Motherhood has definitely restricted my freedom somewhat, making such moments precious.

After the meet, I met Lokes for lunch, and then sped off to cover the closing of Liga Electronica. The turnout was quite good, despite it being a Saturday. When it was over, I rushed home to get the house ready for our lui pao birthday party, where three of my childhood friends would try as much as possible to unceremoniously turn 30.

We spent the night eating Ayamas and Suchan’s (is it spelt like that?) famous tiramisu (which has too much nuts, if I may say so – coz I hate nuts), playing a new group game I bought called Taboo (like charades but using only words) and chatting about life at the turn of another decade. I was the only one left in the group still clinging on to my 20-something-ship (I turn in October ;)) – and the only married person there. Having known each other since secondary school, each of us became increasingly candid as the wine poured, questioning marriage, motherhood, each other’s boyfriend(s) (I was spared by virtue of Lokes being there haha), growing increasingly agitated and pensive at the same time, stepping on each other’s toes and then soothing the sting over with the magical balm of familiarity that only old, old friends have. At the end of it, someone said that we should ‘celebrate’ properly by drinking ourselves silly the coming weekend. The vote was a unanimous yes.

So yea, it has been a most productive weekend, friends-wise. Thank you God, for old and new mercies.