6/02/2009

Time and Money

Today a coworker of mine gathered a bunch of us together to talk about a new blog she'd been asked to create for a special group of constituents. We batted around ideas, tried to figure out what the special group needed, and attempted to set some goals. It's not an easy project - blogs are wonderful, open-ended things which means she could do almost anything, but the terrible, difficult thing about blogs is that they are open-ended things which can quickly lose focus.

At one point, I took over the driving of the web-browser, showing what I had done on this blog and Babaylan Files blog, then a little bit on how I used the Center's Facebook group to promote the content on the blog. We wrapped the meeting with a few suggestions for her to try out and she thanked me, saying something to the effect of "If I had the time and money, I would so do what you're doing, Rebecca." To which I blinked bemusedly. Time? Money? I just sort of do what needs to be done, and I've learned a bunch in the last few months through trial and error. Time and money didn't seem to be part of the organic nature of my approach.

But as I got to thinking about it, I could see why a person would think it took time and money to blog. Sure the platforms are free and sometimes the content is just aggregations of other content freely available, but it does take time to use the applications and keep the codes from falling apart. If I were to pay myself a wage for what I did as a professional web management specialist, then I could be making a bunch more than I do at my bread job. "If's" are not "nows" though and I realized that she was quantifying the work I'm doing right now in terms I hadn't before. It was something that for her would take away from the things she already enjoys doing - it would take time and money away from her lifestyle to create what I just sort of do on my own.

Like I hinted at in an earlier post, I blog for very practical reasons - to connect with other people and bring together information I'm interested in. The folks I follow on Facebook are pretty much literary writers and art-activists, but there are also a few entrepreneurs. My Twitter feed (@wordbinder) is heavier on the entrepreneurial types, because they are all so incredibly energetic about staying positive, finding ways to connect, and keeping hope in the wildest dreams. They've actually taught me the most about social networking, how to set up hashtags, how to retweet good content, how to keep in contact with their larger audience who don't necessarily reply to every tweet or post they create.

Keeping in contact through content became the lesson of the entrepreneurs. I want to not only connect with writers and activists, I want to offer something relevant to the communities. About six weeks ago I started hashtagging tweets I sent out on a thematic basis. Each workday, I have a focus point and a promise to myself that I would tweet something on the daily topic:

#MondayMuse - A simple writing prompt, something that could jump start a blog entry, essay, or poem.

#TechniqueTues - A simple revision strategy, some new way of looking at old work that might revitalize a sagging project.

#WiseWeds - A quote from an author, preferably a woman, about the craft of writing. Why just women writer's quotes? Because I don't know as many women writers as I do male writers. This gave me an excuse to look up famous women's writers and touch their work.

#ThoughtfulThurs - A new piece of technology that impacts publishing. I thought about renaming this #TechThurs but thought that name would conflict with the Tuesday tweets.

#FridayFind - A blog entry, new book release, cool video, anything that reflects a sense of creativity, possibility, and hopefully community.

I caught the hashtagging fever soon after creating this list and expanded to joining the #writers twibe , then creating the #memoirists twibe and the #babaylan twibe.

Hashtagging has kept me focused on mindcasting vs simple lifecasting, and Twitter/Facebook has given me practice on staying relevant to my goals.

The tricky part has been figuring out those goals - they have to do with writing, storytelling, community, but they're also about growing up FilAm, Philippine Scouts, indigenous/land-based spirituality, motherhood, and being Catholic. There's a touch of living in the 70's-80's in there too. This is the stuff I want to write about, the worlds all bound up in my experience.

Making the time and money to do just that is the journey for me, to create the space to do what only I can do - tell the stories in my heart.

All links appearing were accessed this same date.

3 comments:

Anisa said...

Thanks Rebecca, great post! I'll be putting some of these ideas to use.

Michelle said...

Great post, Rebecca! You're inspiring me to try to make better use of my blog. Not sure I'm ready to try making better use of Twitter, though - after the first few initial days of enjoyment, Twitter began leaving me feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, and now I tend not to check in for days at a time.

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor said...

Thanks for dropping by, Anisa and Michelle.

Even though I've got some structures going on, they came about very organically based on what I wanted to get and give.

I think it totally makes sense to step back and even stop a network if it's not doing what you want it to do. :)