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Liveblogging: Storytelling and the Momosphere

July 28, 2007

Are you a storyteller? 

Dozens of women (and a handful of men) gathered for session two yesterday to talk about how to translate their love for literature and storytelling onto their blogs. With an emphasis being placed on the 140 character Twitter, the status bar on Facebook, daily blog updates and even text messaging, authors are finding it more and more difficult to meld their desire to write full-fledged stories with the short snapshots they think their readers want. 

I suppose it depends on who you are and what kind of writer you naturally are. Some bloggers I know write their posts as if they are writing a story. They don’t skip to the end and tell you what they discovered, but instead put it into the context of an event. Even if it’s slightly longer than the average blog post, it’s important to them.  

Figuring out what to write is sometimes not as simple as just writing about your day. Birdie Jaworski discussed how she will take notes about her day, people she met, places she went, things she observed or wondered. After writing them down, she examines her notes and creates her story from that. Because of that, she does not post on her blog as often as some people do, but her blog posts are always stories and they are always things she wanted to write about.

“Discovering what’s important in my life. You don’t have to have monumental events in your life to be interesting. You just have to talk about what’s important to you,” Birdie said.

Ree, of Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, is a storyteller and a mommyblogger. Though she writes everyday, she says, “Don’t blog about what you do that day, you just have to write stories. Consciously avoid reporting the news of the day unless it’s really bizarre news or something remarkable happens. If you decide to tell stories it’s going to take you a lot longer. You craft.”

Ree also said she likes to keep things varied. Some days she writes a story, other days she posts photos, or an audio clip. She says she keeps things “very varied.”

“One reason they come to my blog is because they don’t know what to expect. Be different,” she says.

Clare Fontaine summed up how to craft a story for your blog the best, I think. She said, “Is it true? Is it clear? Is it beautiful?”

At the end of the afternoon, I attended the State of the Momosphere, which was quite a gathering of mothers.

The similarities between the momosphere and the O.C., I thought, were pretty similar. For the first part of the conversation, the panelists (Catherine Connors, Lena Lotsen and Chris Jordan) discussed relationships between the newbies and the veteran mommybloggers and the mommybloggers with babies and the mommybloggers with elementary-age and older children. They discussed whether the momosphere was political, and Catherine argued that while it might seem political – or like high school which was the recurring analogy – that the momosphere (and I think the O.C. as well) is more like a party or a salonl.

“You make friends, you move, there are bigger groups, they shift and change. But that’s not political, that’s social,” Catherine explained.

One audience member (I don’t remember who, sorry) stood up and said that not being linked to feels like an act of exclusion, adding to the political vibe that blogosphere in general can have.

Chris Jordan posed the question, “How do you manage a blogroll? How do you do it withoutmaking anyone feel left out?” Now, I know someone of us have long blogrolls and some of us have medium blogrolls and some of us have like five O.C. blogs. I actually used Kerri’s blogroll to create my own link list, but I haven’t had time to update it since I created this blog. I know I sometimes will look at the other blogs to see if I’m on them, and I’m not, and sometimes I get a little hurt.

Do you look at other blogs to see if you’re listed and if you’re not, even if you get comments, do you feel left out? Is this really a blogosphere trend?

Catherine said at one point that people start blogging mostly because we’ve lost friends, have entered a new phase of our life and we’re looking for new friends. We’re “thirsting” for support and relationships. It’s amazing because that phrase could have been said about the diabetes online community and I don’t think anyone would have known the difference.

There was discussion about being identified as a mommyblogger, and while I don’t have as much understanding of how becoming a mother changes my identity, it was interesting that the term mommyblogger was reserved for only certain mothers (those of young children). I wonder if we do that with every group? What makes you a niche blogger? Do you have to write about it all the time or do you just have to have a quality of that group?

Finally they discussed advertising and earning money for a blog. There wasn’t anything particularly amazing about this conversation, I thought, because it seemed pretty split down the line that some people felt like they wanted to be compensated for their time, and that as mothers, your time is valuable. Others didn’t like profiting off of their children, so they don’t do advertising. It’s was an interesting mix of opinions.

Well, I better sign off now. Breakfast is going to start at Navy Pier soon and I’m starving! More later, of course.

4 Comments
  1. July 28, 2007 5:21 PM

    Hi Allison,

    Thank you so kindly for attending the Storytelling panel yesterday. Thank you, too for encapsulating the panelists’ thoughts so well. I hope you enjoyed the discussion – I sure wished we had another hour, or some personal time one-on-one with participants, in order to grow some meaningful dialogue. Feel free to drop me a note any time.

    Best wishes,
    Birdie

  2. July 28, 2007 7:35 PM

    Excellent synopsis, Allison. I would have loved to have heard this one. I really love Catherine’s blog – she’s an amazing writer and often makes me laugh and cry within the same post. I would have loved to have heard her speech.

  3. Allison permalink*
    July 28, 2007 7:44 PM

    Birdie,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and posting a comment! I really appreciate it.

    Julia,

    Thanks! I really enjoyed both sessions a lot, and I know you would do. I hope you can come to one sometime. BlogHer has livebloggers but it doesn’t look like all sessions are being covered. But you should visit the site to see if any of the sessions you’re interested in have more detailed play-by-plays.

  4. August 4, 2007 8:17 PM

    Great recap! Thanks! I was so nervous up there, I couldn’t remember what we even said.😉

    Lena Lotsey

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