I finally have a copy of the March issue of American Libraries in my mitts and I can see the “Mattering in the Blogosphere” article for myself. Boy, do I share the space with some smart, articulate people! Strangely, the article doesn’t provide URLs for the blogs, so here they are:
- Blake Carver, LISNews
- Nicole Engard, What I Learned Today
- Rochelle Hartman, Tinfoil+Raccoon
- Sarah Houghton-Jan, Librarian in Black
- Jenny Levine, The Shifted Librarian
- Kathleen De La Pena McCook, Librarian at the Kitchen Table
- Mary Minow, Library Law
- Joshua M. Neff, Goblin in the Library
- Jack Stephens, Conservator
- Jessamyn West, Librarian.net
Just as Kathleen, Jessamyn, Nicole and Rochelle have done, I’ll post all of my answers here, including the ones that got edited out. Here’s a thing, though: when I got the email with the questions, I had no idea how long the article would be or how long my answers should be. I was concerned that if I went on at length, my answers would get chopped, possibly making me sound like an idiot. So I kept my answers short, very short. Which is slightly misleading, because anyone who has spent time with me in person knows that I rarely answers questions like these without going on and on and on.
What does it take for a blog to have an impact on the biblioblogosphere?
I’m not sure how much of an impact my blog has, but the blogs that have an impact on me are all written with passion, honesty, a distinctive voice and a sense of humor.
What do the readers of your blog value about your posts (i.e., “voice” as an online columnist, value-added news coverage)?
I make people laugh, and I ask questions and tell stories that people find interesting.
How do you decide when to post inspiration, obligation to keep the blog fresh and readers engaged, or what?
I do feel somewhat driven to provide regular fresh content, but I try not to post unless I really have something to say. It just happens that I have a lot on my mind, so I end up posting pretty regularly.
How do you determine what the right length is for a given post?
I don’t have a formula. I end a post when it feels right to stop, which is usually when I’ve run out of things to say.
What has surprised you most about the process of blogging?
I’m constantly surprised at how easy and satisfying it is to write short rants, anecdotes and ponderings. It’s also surprising and satisfying when people respond to what I’ve written and encourage me to keep going.
What lessons can libraries learn from your experiences as an individual blogger?
Write as if you’re a person, not a business. Write about things you find exciting and funny and strange. Write with a distinctive voice. Don’t be afraid to raise difficult questions. Treat your readers as if they’re in on the joke and invite them to engage in conversations with you.
What’s missing from the LIS blogosphere that you’d like to see someone take on?
My student loan payments.
How will the blogs of today be regarded a decade from now? Should digital libraries collect them?
I’m wary of making predictions about the future, but as blogs are already being cited in academia, I think collecting them in digital libraries isn’t such a bad idea.