Boston Veggie


Final blog assignment
December 2, 2009, 9:54 pm
Filed under: Personal

As you may know, I started this blog for my Online Journalism Class. It is hard to believe that it’s already over, but as the semester is coming to an end, so is my blog. As my final assignment, I am going to write about my experience blogging. This one is for you, Professor!

I liked blogging for the most part, but disliked it at times. I am fortunate enough to have a great topic to write about, aka veganism. I’m really passionate about this topic so it was fun for me to try out recipes and do research on it. Also, I liked having an outlet for my personal issues with veganism. The first long posts were almost therapeutic for me being able to write about my personal experience “Coming Out” as a vegan and explaining why I became vegan in the first place. There are only a few people who I was able to tell the whole long story to, so I’m sure my first post probably helped some people understand my decision better than if I had told them verbally myself. I didn’t realize that a few of my family members started reading my blog and talked to me at Thanksgiving, explaining that they never meant to make me feel bad about being vegan (Thanks Meg). Unfortunately my mother was not one of them, but I haven’t decided whether I’d like her to read my blog or not anyway. It’d be a very passive aggressive way to show her how her passive aggressive comments make me feel, but it almost isn’t worth it to start a conflict.

But I didn’t like the “pressure” to blog. We had to try to blog 4-5 times a week, which lessened the quality of my posts significantly. My first few posts were really long, taking hours to write, and full of quality writing (if I do say so myself). But as the pressure to reach a certain number of posts loomed, the quality of my writing deterioriated, and I found myself regurgitating news articles left and right to try to meet my quota. If I wrote a blog for fun, I’d put more thought and personality into them. Maybe I wouldn’t have 5 posts a week, but they would be much more self-fulfilling than what many of my posts were forced to be. But hey, this isn’t a self-fulling blog, it is for a grade, so you do what you have to do!

The recipe posts always worked well, and I wish I had had more time to cook this semester or else there’d be more recipe posts. I didn’t think “soy latte from Starbucks while hunched over papers and exams” would be a valid recipe post. I had so many recipes in my mind to post, but I just never got around to doing it. That was unfortunate. What didn’t really work was my podcast. It is strange to have to record yourself speaking and post it on the internet for all to hear. And in my podcast, I covered four or five topics I could have blogged about (aka 4-5 more posts for the ever present 4-5 post minimum), and I know that almost no one listened to it. People read blogs at work, or in class, but usually not at home in their free time. So I feel like for my blog in particular, the podcast fell on deaf ears. I know most of my “readers” (aka my only reader, Hi Allison!) didn’t listen to the podcast because you can’t listen to a podcast while you’re pretending to do work on co-op. But it was a good learning experience if I ever do want to do a podcast in my future journalistic endeavors.

I will not continue my blog after this course, but mostly because I am going to Prague next semester and will not be able to maintain a vegan lifestyle. Perhaps I’ll throw up a post or two about what it’s like to be vegan abroad, and how accessible or inaccessible it proves to be, but we’ll see. While I’m galavanting around Europe, I’m not sure this blog will be my top priority.

I definitely feel comfortable writing in my own voice, probably most comfortable writing in my own voice. That is one thing I’ve always hated about journalistic writing, how dry and “objective” most of it is, so I have enjoyed the ability to write what and how I want. For example, just being able to use the word I is SO refreshing. I feel like the more journalism progresses the more “I” will be allowed in articles. Even now, I find more articles writing the way I like to, more personable, more friendly, more casual. Not every article needs to sound like the Wall Street Journal, sometimes you just gotta say I or spell out the word gotta or say “ain’t”. Obviously I know proper English grammar, but writing words like “gotta” or “aint” are deliberate writing choices, whether it be to convey sarcasm or for comedy or whatever else.

That’s why I feel like blogging definitely has a valid place in journalism. Even now, you go to Boston.com or NYT online and many of their columnists have blogs! I read the Mommy blog on boston.com and I’m not even close to reproducing, but I just think it’s candid and fun to read. And obviously more people than just me feel that way. The more journalism switches from print to online, the more social media explodes, the more acceptable blogging and casual writing will be. For example, of course there are very journalismy articles about the inauguration of Barack Obama. But I’d rather read a first hand account from a journalist who was there, how they felt, what the mood was like in Washington D.C. Or if a journalist is captured in Iran or Afghanistan and they are released, I look forward to their first hand accounts. How can you delete the word “I” from an article like that? If anything “I” should be the main subject.

Overall, I loved to blog. I loved the ability to write how I felt and how I love to write. I liked writing about veganism so pe0ple who know me and bothered to read my blog would better understand my decision and the food I eat. I loved researching my topic, and I feel more connected to veganism than ever through all the articles I’ve read. In fact, it will be very difficult to eat meat, even while abroad, after knowing all the things I already knew before and all the new things I learned while writing this blog. The only downer was the constant pressure to blog, which even now I don’t know if I’ve met my quota. But let me tell you, I really really tried.

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