Hayley Brooks & Ali Kokot | ThinkTwice.Wordpress.com

Think Twice | Navigating our way through the blogosphere

· August 1, 2012, 10:01 pm

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Haley Brooks & Ali Kokot
Think Twice

In kindergarten we had to wait for our show-and-tell day to share with our classmates. Today, the blogosphere allows us to indulge the entirety of the web-surfing population with whatever we want, whenever we want. Whether we choose to promote vegan-cooking, tech advice or lesbians that resemble Justin Bieber, we unknowingly become an authority on whatever topic we tackle for a certain audience — even if it’s just mom or some (Facebook) friends.

The beauty of the blog is that you are both the writer and the editor. It’s a game of free rein where anyone can play, and only need report to themselves.

There are no rules. May the odds be forever in your favor.

While today’s hot social media sites, Twitter and Facebook, serve mostly to feed our vanity and self-absorption, the blogosphere often provides a more productive outlet.

In this digital age the blog post has in essence replaced the personal journal entry. But what does this say about our generation?

It seems that private reflection has gone public. The validation of penning our thoughts upon the page is no longer enough, and we need to see that someone has somehow acknowledged it — liked it, linked it.

Today we start blogs with an array of intentions. Blogs are maintained as pure hobby, an online portfolio of sorts or a little bit of both. And in the case of Emma Koenig, her witty, freakishly accurate blog FUCK! i’m in my twenties scored her a boyfriend, a New York Times feature and a book deal. Philadelphia Inquirer film critic and adjunct professor Carrie Rickey, in addition to her reviews and published essays, keeps a personal film blog that solely seeks “to start a conversation.”

A popular Google search, “how my blog got me a job” returns pages and pages of success stories that confirm that employers appreciate when people take the initiative to study and promote their field of interest on their own time and for no dime.

When 2010 College graduate Laura Loesch-Quintin began to tire of her first out-of-college career in market research, she began a blog to pursue her passion for food writing. The blog morphed into “a platform to share a portfolio of my work” and could demonstrate her passion and capability to employers. Through her food blog she built credibility as a food writer, marked her spot on the cyber-map and landed freelance writing jobs. You have to show employers “that you really want to be in this industry,” she said, and cultivating such a specialized blog is a great start in any field.

Loesch-Quintin now works for one of the most well known food magazines, Bon Appétit.

Rickey, who will teach a course next fall entitled “Writing, Blogging, Tweeting about Movies,” said it best: “Blogs and tweets are just business cards with a little more personality.”

Like Loesch-Quintin, rising College junior Adam Pearlson blogs on his interest, in this case, film. Pearlson maintains that blogging is “training more than anything, as becoming a film critic would be a viable career option” for him. But like Rickey relayed, Pearlson enjoys “[being] part of the greater dialogue about film” — involved in the critical conversation.

Before the birth of the blogosphere we relied solely on established sources like Bon Appétit or Rolling Stone as the authority on food or film, respectively. Today we can choose to read Loesch-Quintin’s blog, Gourmette NYC, or Pearlson’s blog, Adam Writes A Picture, for our daily dose of thoughtful culture. Loesch-Quintin and Pearlson’s blogs, though amateur, are well-researched, smart and entertaining. Read them if you don’t believe us.

That credible sources do exist buried within the cyber-heaps of laugh/eyeroll inducing blogs (see here) and blogs that are just taking up space creates a dual challenge for the blog-consumer. Amidst all the noise, how do you know what’s worth reading and for that matter, how to find it?

The lawless nature of the blogosphere gives anyone the freedom to voice their opinion as well as the opportunity to be heard. While this democratic platform allows anyone to become a successful blogger it can also make perusing tedious.

These “Who’s the best? Who’s the boss?” questions are the ones we hoped to answer when starting to write this column. But after talking to bloggers, both student and professional, we’ve come to find that ultimately it’s one of those English major moments where frustratingly, there is no answer. As Rickey said, “Aren’t we living in a world where you’re an authority if you say you are, until proven otherwise?”

The decision is not up to the blogger at all — but rather, in the hands of his or her readers.

Hayley Brooks and Ali Kokot are rising College juniors from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and New York, N.Y. respectively. Their email addresses are hayleybethbrooks@gmail.com and alikokot@gmail.com. Think Twice appears weekly during the school year.

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