Blogging Culture


Who says what.

by André Natta

There are several stories about Birmingham to tell as 2013 begins to unfold. Many of them will be told by our local media outlets as they capture stories of celebration and determination. Others will be uncovered by national and international outlets as they attempt to get a better grasp of what’s happening now and where Birmingham is heading as it starts the unofficial countdown to its 150th birthday in 2021.

One of the best ways to discover the diaspora of voices sharing their experiences in Jones Valley is by delving into the region’s blogging culture. It’s changed greatly in recent years as its citizens become more comfortable sharing their dreams and daily experiences via Facebook and Twitter, making it a little easier to expand on those updates for a chronological site built on a platform like WordPress or Blogger. You’ll find people writing passionately about what interests them or the future of the region.

See Jane Write (seejanewritebham.com) is one of the organizations expanding its influence and presence on the local blogging scene. Founded by Javacia Harris Bowser, the voice behind The Writeous Babe (writeousbabe.com/) in March 2011, this network of women writers has become a tour de force locally. They hold regular gatherings in addition to providing words of support and encouragement, in part through a mailing list of more than 200 people. They also provide a place to get timely tips on topic and site development, including prompts. This month they’ll host a tweet-up that just happens to coincide with her birthday while serving as a fundraiser for the organization. They’ve also been known to get together for laps around Railroad Park, part of the group’s See Jane Run initiative.

Alabama Bloggers (alabamabloggers.com) was launched in 2009 by Rachel Callahan. She maintains a couple of other sites, including Grasping for Objectivity in my Subjective Life (graspingforobjectivity.com/), and decided it was time for a blog directory for Alabama after she looked and found none. The result is arguably the most comprehensive directory available for Alabama—and significantly larger than what had previously existed in the state. There were 342 blogs included as I submitted this piece, with more being added all the time. The group has also held several lunchtime meetups throughout central Alabama, enabling more people to connect face-to-face and discover just who the people are behind the posts.

There are other resources in the state, including AL.com’s list of sites (www.al.com/blogs/alabama-bloggers/) and conferences like Food Blog South (celebrating its third edition at the end of last month) and WordCamp Birmingham (a previous focus of this column). Regardless of where you decide to turn, there’s an opportunity awaiting you as you wait for the weather to get a little warmer and the opportunity to explore the city during the events planned for the spring and summer.•

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