Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Someone I'd Like You to Meet: Kathryn, The Daring Young Mom

It isn't often I get to speak with a fellow blogger and discuss my favorite past time but last week Kathryn from Daring Young Mom (who is also the guest judge for the Write-Away Contest) kindly took time out of her vacation to speak with me and answer some questions.

I asked about her history with blogging. She started blogging after the birth of her son, as a bit of practice for future publication, and with feelings familiar to many of us began her blog by saying, "Maybe [people] will read it and maybe they won't. But it's fun." DYM has now been online about a year and has been nominated for and has won various awards--evidently people are reading it and feeling right at home.

I asked about her family's history with blogging (her sister blogs at One Woman's World and both her parents have blogs) but ended up talking more about how she feels her blog may change as her two children, code-named Laylee and Magoo, grow.

She said she will probably be less personal, less revealing about her children because she never wants them to be embarrassed about what is published. She never wants them to find out from their friends that the world is reading about their private times. "I don't to ever get to the point where I'd rather have a good post than hurt someone's feelings," she said.

We talked about other bloggers--were your ears burning Julie?--and agreed we both loved reading Mental Tesserae, that she puts us to shame but also talked about reciprocal blog rolls.

"I hate reciprocal blogrolls," she said. "If you have a million people on your blogroll it's useless. It's not saying who you like or who you read." We wondered about the unique etiquette surrounding blogrolls and how once you place someone on your blogroll there's an enormous feeling of guilt if you remove them. It's the blogosphere's unique snub. But if you are no longer reading a particular blog, is it really so wrong to remove it from your list?

She said she's toying with the idea of a rotating blogroll, an idea I may steal. I love the idea of highlighting other blogs you enjoy rather than collecting links on the sidebar.

But of all the things we discussed I enjoyed hearing her views on blogs in general.

"We need less ranting and less whining," she said. "Less negativity. You get to a point where instead of moving ahead you're dragging each other down." This made sense, as a blog, DYM has an overall sense of optimism, humor and love toward motherhood which may be why I enjoy reading it.

But blogs, by their very nature, are personal. They are open and candid and revealing. Often too revealing, Kathryn says. "Emotionally raw writing is often what draws readers in. But being emotionally raw means opening up to people you don't know, where people can also link to you and trash you."

Having observed to my husband that the best things in life are unbloggable, or in other words, are often too personal or too damaging to others to share, I agreed with her metaphor when she said that "writing nasty things about another person on your blog is the equivalent to writing things about them on the bathroom wall in junior high."

In many ways the blogging culture is not unlike junior high with its need for acceptance and popularity but unlike adolescence, Kathryn observed, "with blogging you [a blogger] have the power to control it. You can choose to be part of it, to join in, or you can choose not to."

I would add also that even though there are similarities between blogging and junior high, one difference that has stood out to me is how often I meet other bloggers who are capable, fascinating, talented writers. They're willing to offer help and suggestions, to be kind and to make room at the table for someone who's looking for a seat, and my interview with Kathryn just reinforces this. Good luck to Kathryn and her Daring Young blog.


10 days left--have you entered the Write Away Contest yet?
It's posted at Competizione

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Kristin said...

The personal posts are too hard for me... I can kind of go there, but just barely scratch the surface... that being said, I always love when someone really opens up and shares something personal and profound.

Mama of 2 said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post and was in tune with it. I am relatively new to the blogging world not even a year into it but not to the internet world of message boards and fan sights and I personally have run up against people who have used the anonymity of the internet as a way to weld nasty words and thoughts about people without having to be quote unquote accountable for their actions.
I have tried my best to steer clear of such areas. I will gladly offer my opinion as well as my arguements as to why I have such an opinion but I do my best not to belittle or force another person into my way of thinking or worse yet berate them to the point of being nasty.

As for the blogroll comment -- I know what you mean. I will admit to enjoying finding my little blog on someone else's roll especially if it's a person that I don't recall visiting first. That does boost my ego sad to say but in relative terms I think my blogroll is small and they are people that I check on every day.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I absolutely loved your interview with Kathryn! She sounds like an amazing and down-to-earth person and I am sure her children are blessed to have her in their life.

You did a remarkable job interviewing her. The questions you asked were perfect - it helped us to get to know her a lot better. I enjoyed reading about why she started blogging and then I found myself nodding my head several times throughout the rest of the interview. She and I share a lot of the same opinions, especially when it comes to being careful when blogging about your children and then blogging with optimism, humor and a love for motherhood at the core. The analogy of Junior High and blogging was also very fitting ... it couldn't be truer.

Thanks for the interview! I appreciate the thought process it stimulated in me and about why I blog.

P.S. Julie's Mental Tesserae blog is fabulous! I wish she would blog more.

K said...

I love the idea of a rotating blogroll.

A great post! Now I will have to go visit her blog!

Julie Q. said...

If the blogging world is like Junior High then I feel like I've just been mentioned by the most popular girls in the lunchroom. Thanks. You and Kathryn are two of my favorite writers - your blogs were among the handful I first encountered that inspired me to start my own. I appreciate your encouragement.

Oh and thanks for clearing up the Laylee/Magoo mystery. Kathryn is my idol but I couln't figure out how a woman with such great taste (we even drive identical minivans) got such goofy kid names. Whew.

Anonymous said...

Great interview, filled with so many of the hot topics I've been contemplating!

The blogroll - I've tried to list only the blogs I read and recommend, but I'm struggling with the thought of removing a few I've fallen out of love with. Ugh!

As for the personal posts - I don't post anything I wouldn't share in a face-to-face conversation. I okay my posts about our family with my husband before I publish. My blog isn't anonymous. My friends and family read, and I've even met groups of moms that have read my blog before meeting me face to face. (Yeah, having someone lean in and say, "You must have plucked. I can't see the chin hair," after posting about it caught me a little off-guard.) Still, I'm a new blogger, so it's very much a learning process for me.

I agree with the need for more hope and optimism rather than rants and negativity. I'd like to think my daughter will one day read my blog and see that motherhood, while a great challenge, was a wonderful and uplifting experience that I treasured.

Wonderful interview! Thanks for sharing it.