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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mother Blogger Interview #2 - Holly

This week's featured Mother Blogger interview is Holly from Hollys Corner. I'm sure she hardly needs any introduction to some of you, because Holly is just about the most prolific reader and commentator on blogs you'll see. Many of the sites I go to, there she is, on the MyBlogLog sidebar as being there before me! I think she really is a great example of the kind of socially conscious, family orientated, smart mother bloggers there are out there.

(*Note: the last question on this list was added after I interviewed Scribbit last week. Don't think I didn't include her answer in case it was controversial or something!)

When did you first begin blogging? August 4, 2006

What interested you in beginning your Blog? Why a Blog over other methods of 'traditional' journaling (like a private diary)?

Actually, my husband had been telling me for months I should start blogging. The more he explained, the more I started to see how this tool could help me gather all my Internet personal sites/projects together under one roof, and best of all be a great backup of a lot of my files. Interestingly enough, what keeps me blogging is how easy it is to write and share it. The writing aspect quickly took the driver's seat and the majority of my time. I think what I like most about it is how current and alive I can keep content. That is big for me because it's so easy to let sites and information go stale for lack of time and attention. Incidentally, my husband began blogging in November of 2005 for the purpose of networking to find a publisher for his book. His experience is totally different from mine as he has both a techie background/ability as well as professional writing. But he immediately saw the ability for me to succeed in it and kept at my heels for several months about it before I agreed to give it a go.

What do you think of the term 'mommy blogger'?

I think it's a fantastic outlet and social strength for moms. Mom's need other moms and what better way than to easily share and read what others share on their daily journey? I do believe however that there is so much more to it than just moms blogging. Every mom has a life, views, personality and value beyond being a mom and blogging seems to bring that out. For many I think it helps us realize how valuable we are and our role is, especially in a world that portrays it as a second class profession. It helps us develop and recognize other talents that give us personal boost and replenishes our batteries. In short, I think it's a wonderful term and concept and I love that it's gaining more positive visibility.

Does writing a Blog give you a voice that you otherwise feel you don't have? If yes, what factors contribute to this lack of voice that you feel you have?

No, but it does give me an audience I didn't have and I'm finding that I really love that aspect. I've gotten to know so many great people out there and it's like a daily connection tool that is really powerful. People I've never met feel like lifelong friends.

What you are writing, if you let it, becomes public knowledge. Truthfully, does writing for a wider audience matter? Why/why not?

I've always been keenly aware of committing words to print. I try to be careful not to push a personal opinion as fact, deface or slander, follow copyrights etc., but I will say that I keep a lot of what I say more general because of the vastness of the audience at hand. Personal e-mails and responses from comments allow me to share more personal views and/or details but even then I always remember that what I'm saying is going down in print. There's no ignorance excuse or hearsay when that happens so you need to be careful that you're ready to back it up. Everyone has to learn through their own experience how to write to a larger and more open audience. I've been doing it for many years on bulletin boards, groups, forums and chat rooms so for me this was just a transition to a new tool, not a new concept. It does take some time to learn how and when to best channel and use your energies with regards to writing in a public forum, but experience is the best teacher. ;o) I love writing to a larger audience because it keeps me on my toes. It makes me question things that I write and think outside myself. I try to picture things from another's perspective before jumping off on a topic. For me, it's both motivating and inspiring.

What inspires you to keep blogging? This question may be especially pertinent for those of you who are blogging semi-professionally, or professionally.

At first it was the ability to share so much that was on my mind and in my file folders. Then it was the positive feedback and encouragement from others. The speed of success by blogging terms of reader and ranking have also been part of the motivation for me. I think we all like to be recognize and see positive results for our efforts. I haven't really used my blog to push my passions or business. But I do see a natural consequence of my adoption site getting numbers and boost from my blog which is really fun for me. Perhaps if I were driven by financial or business success goals my answer would be different. But I simply like sharing what I've learned and done in my life so far and that was always my purpose, so for me that's what keeps me going.

As mothers, how do you address the issue of internet security on your blog? What rules have you self-imposed about what you say about your family/children?

For me the blog is just another aspect of this that was already going. As a site owner and advocate of adoption we've shared our family face and story in many mediums from TV to newspaper and speakers at conferences. So there wasn't a "new" fear or experience based on exposure like this for me. Basically it's just about being smart. As we learned in adoption, you have to think about the information you share and if/how identifying it may be. Above all, I rely heavily on my genius programmer husband to keep us afloat of all security related issues and take comfort knowing that he manages our own server, etc. So this is a little different for me than for some bloggers who don't have that resource and control. I feel so lucky to have a little background on this topic through adoption experiences and my hubby.

If you could estimate a percentage, how much of your blog is unembellished, straight recount of what's been happening in your life? (Or, to rephrase the question, do you ever doctor your tales to seem more 'dramatic' or 'funny')? Why/why not?

ROFL - well, I guess my life is entertaining enough because I've never needed any embellishments. I do like to put a twist on things that make something easier to share and absorb by the masses like taking that bathroom "skidmark" to a "Life's Lessons" short. The short answer is that everything on my blog is 100% straight up.

Do you think that blogging – at all – insinuates a certain social standing on behalf of the blogger herself? For example, many poorer women, who themselves may want to express themselves, may not have computer or internet access. Do you feel that as a consequence many important stories are 'lost'?

I think everyone has a story to tell but few have the desire at least at the level that brings about action. I would actually say that having the ability to "publish" free and easier have actually removed a great deal of that social barrier simply because it reduced the barriers to entry. No longer do you have to secure a big name publisher to share your words with others in a reading format, no longer do you have to know all the right people in all the right places to have the opportunity to share story in print. I do however believe there is a social standing influence on blogging because the entire network was designed by computer techies. The interesting thing is to see how blogging has branched out from the technical social circle to personal and business venues.

How important has blogging become to you?

Important might not be the right word for me. I enjoy it so much and it has clearly taken a front seat with regards to the time I spend on my computer. I don't spend more time on the computer now, but what time I do spent is largely reading and writing blogs. I like that I'm accomplishing some journaling and personal history but if I couldn't blog tomorrow I'd simply continue the process in another way.

How important are the trappings (or decoration/design) of your blog? For example, if you have heavily modified an existing wordpress/blogger/typepad template – or done your own – how would you feel if suddenly you were reverted back to a basic one? Would it matter?

While I wouldn't say template is more important than content or functionality I wouldn't dismiss it as irrelevant either. So much of one's personality can come through simple things like layout. Because I've done a lot of my own designs and web designing in the past, I don't have the need to customize as much as I did years ago so it's not as important to me as it is to some of my fellow bloggers. When my blog found it's life and direction, creating a personal header was at the top of my list. I think it's an evolutionary process.

If your family is aware of your blogging and are regular readers, how do you censor any personal or 'delicate' topics they may have a problem with? Or do you? (To paraphrase – do you compromise your writer's voice?) If so, how does this make you feel?

My family know of my blog. My husband is a regular reader and so is my mother although I wouldn't say either are the most faithful, especially with daily reading and/or commenting. There are topics that just aren't appropriate to me for blogging, but they are the same topics that I don't feel appropriate to share in any forum. There are funny things, quirky things, etc. but then there's the "airing your dirty laundry" and highly personal things that should remain private to me. If there is something I really feel is of value to share as a result of something personal I will simply share it in a more general way. I think this is an evolutionary process as well. Everyone has to start somewhere and it takes a few "bumps" in the road before you figure it out. But if you keep at it long enough you find the balance that works for you.

How important is the social networking aspect of blogging to you?

I think the social networking is why blogging works. It's what keeps people both giving and coming back for more. It's nice to feel connected to other people no matter what geography or other circumstances may say. If no one connected with each other then blogging would be no different than writing daily excerpts in a personal word processor. It's the very ability to connect and network socially that feeds it.

Which other bloggers do you admire? For any particular reason(s)?

Oh there are so many! I really admire bloggers who have a higher goal and purpose than just daily shares. Bloggers who make you think about the good things, want to improve or generally make your day better for having dropped by. I admire those who share honest thoughts and friendship and those witty enough to write in a way that always makes me laugh. So many times I find myself inspired to write about something because I read a well written article or post of a fellow blogger. That's fun to me. I guess the answer to the question would largely be determined on the blogger's personal reasons for blogging. If I were all about building or marketing a business I'd likely list big name bloggers in that arena as mentors, etc. I think we all gravitate to those we're most like. ;o)

In your experience, do you find bloggers or certain blogging communties to be cliquey, as they sometimes are accused of?

I think it's impossible to please everybody and consequently there will always be someone who feels left out or unsatisfied. It's not unique to blogging. I think the reality is that even though we can do a great deal of social networking, we don't have unlimited hours to spend doing that. So we have to find a way to do it on a smaller scale. Most people find a few "connection" points and stick with that. I guess to an outsider that could be perceived as a clique. I've personally never felt snubbed but there are a few smaller circles of bloggers that I'm a regular participator in and I can see how those could be viewed as a cliquey thing. I subscribe to blogs that I feel a similarity with and that reciprocate the friendship and support I give. Relationships and friendships develop from that point on, but there are so many thousands of other blogs and interests I couldn't hope to have time to get into that I don't worry about it. I don't know if that answers the question at all! LOL

Comments on "Mother Blogger Interview #2 - Holly"


Blogger Holly said ... (9:04 am) : 

That's a mighty kind intro! Blogging is contagious isn't it? ;o) Thanks so much for sharing my interview!

Holly's Corner


Blogger Miscellaneous-Mum said ... (9:07 am) : 

You're welcome!


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