Since I have started blogging my initial thoughts about it have changed so much. When I started I really had no clue about blogging and was really just tracking down Catherine Newman (Ben & Birdy) after she left Baby Centre. I ended up clicking on her commenter's and once I found Bub & Pie she lead me to a whole wonderful world of (mostly) Mommy-blogs here in my neighbourhood and around the world. One single blog, Catherine's led me to another single blog, and then my world exploded. I could not get through her list of blogs fast enough. I compared it to a buffet then, saying I know I'm full but I just can't help myself and kept going back for more. This community is just so full of wonderful people that I could not help being a part of it. I wanted to play - bad.
This drove me to really start my own blog, more than the "hi" posts. So far much of my blog, like much of my life is about my girls. I don't get to comment on current events nearly enough (in either) life real or otherwise. My days are a kind of Groundhog Day (the movie, not the actual day) blur of events associated with small children and managing a family. Central to this was me getting my laptop. The only computer at home during the day (Hubby takes his laptop back and forth) was in the basement and it is not a marvel of latest technology. It worked though and it is what I launched my blog from so I still have a soft spot for it. Once I got a recycled laptop and I could blog, and more importantly read from the kitchen table, my addiction was sealed.
I really believe this is a community in every sense that matters to me. I give and get something from this space each time I visit and while I don't want to get into a debate on the validity of the term community, I encourage people to think of in terms of "community without propinquity" that is how I view it. In university, as part of my Urban Studies program I studied the Sociologist Melvin Webber who argued that individuals were connected in an overlapping range of groups, and that increasingly these social networks were not limited by physical or geographical location. The built form, the brick and mortar becomes less important in defining our sense of community. The quality of cultural life is not defined by where you live, but by the exchange of information you participate in. Previous theories were rooted in the view of social and spatial interaction based on population distribution and density.
While I had to brush up a bit on the theory right now, I do remember it vividly from university. Hubby was the first one to say out loud that the blogging community is the very essence of Webber's theories. I blog with people very close to me geographically, but is not at all dependent on whether they become a part of my blogging community. One of my dearest blogging friends is halfway across the country in the West, and many others are less than a twenty minute drive away should we choose to see each other.
I feel no need to debate the definition of community (not that some of the debates haven't been very interesting), in my mind it is quite clear. My needs are met and my opinions welcome based on who I am not where I live. This community reaches out to those of us geographically surrounded by people yet feel so alone and to the people who actually are geographically alone as well. In that sense there is no difference for these two people in joining or participating in this community, they can take as little or as much as they want. What surprises me most about this journey is the passion I feel for this community, I am quick to challenge people who are less knowledgeable tossing out arguments about blogging that are unfounded. I know I am truly a part of this - no matter how small or provincial my blog might be, when I feel so protective of it.
I think I have covered the who, what, why, when, where and how of it all. I so remember this little formula from my earliest book report days. I just might make Monday Musings a regular feature as I do have a little (lot...) of blog envy for the wonderful Flashback Friday's and other weekly features I look forward to reading. I can't promise they will all be "thinky" or even fun to read, but still a weekly feature that sounds lofty and grand doesn't it? Blogging for me is more than a source of entertainment or a resource for figuring out how to get my child to poop as I originally thought it would be to me. It is something I really enjoy doing that gives back to me so much more than I ever thought possible. I have a real life, family, friends, and yet this fills a hole none of that can. A space I don't think I even realized I had until I started. Blogging has become a community of friendly faces and words, a place where I feel at home. I feel smarter, more aware, and more compassionate since blogging. What started as a way to preserve and record my family history has really become an outlet for me to grow. Funny how that worked out. If you had tried to tell me this even a few months ago I would have scoffed at the idea.
Thanks to all my blogging friends, this community has really given me something special.
Let me know what you think. Does anyone else see it this way? I'm curious I guess.
*Edited to fix a small error...noticed in Beck's comment. Oops.