Blogging is hard. I am not ramping. It is difficult, despite how fun and rewarding it is. I have always loved it, and it was one of things that I just loved straight off the bat when I started in ’06, which by net standards, still makes me a blogging virgin.
Many parts of traditional media are suffering greatly at the moment like magazines during this recession. It has made me think twice on how I plan to position myself as I have started to look for a media job in London. One thing that many people bang on and on about is that no one reads paper anymore, and that blogs have replaced magazines, news etc.
I think it is really important to see a distinct difference in how blogs present media. Most smaller blogs are run by one person and subject to how that person wants to dissect whatever issue they are talking about. Most people are not paid to run their blog, so how the content comes across (whether it features original reporting or not) is subject to the actual energy and passion of the blogger.
I think that is so important to remember when commenting about the demise of magazines like VIBE (which I honestly think is on its’ way to being part of Magazine Death Pool‘s unfortunate dead magazines. And this is not me hating). Mags like VIBE have not adapted to the net the way they should have and thus are struggling to keep up. However, this is in the face of big gossip blogs like Concrete Loop that are scoringe exclusive interviews with big stars like Kanye West.
It sounds trite but it is true: a blog that adds value in an original way stands higher in the hierarchy than another blog, and this is more apparent in black media I think. A blog simply cannot just be a catalogue of thoughts anymore if it wants to grow and be successful – it has to add value in an intrinsic way.
Because it is so easy for anyone in the whole world to be an online publisher with WordPress, this has upped the ante in a different way now and created hierarchies of blogging. The blogs I am going to list below are ones which I think have changed the game for black blogging in my eyes just because how they have changed how I see things. And these are one person blogs, not group ones, even though I would have added Afro Spear as it is game changing, I think.
- Black Girl With Long Hair: L at BGLH is game changing for one simple reason: this blogger does her research. She just does not find something else, she actually goes and interviews people on her own jack and puts up her findings on the blog. She does not come across as a blogger per se, but more of a hybrid blogger-journalist. I just love journalism in any form, and she has put natural hair journalism on the map with black girl with long hair. I cannot stress enough how original this blog is, and I would go as far as to say it is one of the best and most unique blogs I have ever read since I started blogging in 2006.
- Invisible Woman has posted a long hiatus note, but wow, her blogging about black film was always juicy, hilarious and done with a passion. Even though there is a hiatus, I would recommend any black film enthusiasts to check out the archive because she wrote about black film in an excellent manner. Invisible Woman also did a fabulous 7 Question series with black directors which was fantastic.
- Trinidad.Adventist.Gay?! is one of the most philosophical blogs in my feed, but again, it is how the blogger deconstructs homosexuality into his own narrative of being an Afro-Caribbean religious man. It is a thought-provoking read; he also used to interview other gay Afro-Caribbean people on the blog.
- and finally, I will finish with Monie On The Outside. Again, it is one of things about making people who stumble across your blog come into your world. You know the show Cold Case? It’s one of my ultimate favourite TV series; what is great about it is that Det. Lily Rush always ‘sees’ the victim of the case at the end of the show as if, the case really is coming circle and closing. I would compare this sensation of ‘seeing’ what Monie writes about as being similar to Cold Case, because I have learnt a lot about the struggles that black lesbians in America are going through. But what is great about this blog is that it knows how to make light entertainment in a short digestible form with images to.
I read more blogs than just the ones above, but they are just ones that have really captured me. They make me see that blogging is not something that you can just batter out when you feel like it, but something that requires an amount of discipline such as trying to post every day.
The landscape of black media is changing. But I think the only blogs that are going to survive and be popular are the ones that offer something new to the reader. I don’t know if I will do Charcoal Ink forever, but I do know that I enjoy blogging and traditional media like magazines because I enjoy information.