So, on yesterday I wrote that there were two occurrences over the winter break which caused me to sit down and seriously assess and reassess the motivations and reasons behind some of my actions and activities. I presented you with one then. I shall present you with another now.
The weekend before Christmas I attended a birthday party for a member of my wife’s family. During a discussion with some of the attendees, the conversation turned to my blog. I was pretty much surprised that this particular group even had knowledge of it. However, it seemed that they had actually read a post here and there, and they were supportive of my efforts.
But then came the question. It didn’t surprise me because I could see the conversation heading in that direction. How much money do you make from blogging?
Of course I had to answer nothing, not one red cent, which seemed to surprise them because for some reason they seemed to have believed me to be raking in money hand over foot. And then came the inevitable question: “Then why do you do it? You seem to invest a considerable amount of time and energy in blogging, but it makes no sense to put that much time in something that pays you nothing.”
As I set at home during the winter break, this question returned to my mind again and again.
However, during the winter break I began a special project. Wayne Hicks of The Electronic Village and the AfroSpear blog think tank and network had been keeping the Black Blog Rankings (BBR) which ranked blogs owned and operated by African Americans. However, because of changes in the rating system at Technorati, he decided to discontinue the BBR. I asked could I pick up where he left off, and he graciously gave me permission.
During the break, I speak quite a few hours combing through about 1,700 blogs as I verified their URLs, and transferred them to a new rating system. From time to time, I came across the original AfroSpear blogs, some of which dated back to as early as 2006 [see The History of the AfroSpear].
What I found was a group of intrepid of men and women from various backgrounds representing various schools of thought and political affiliations who had nothing in common but the melanin in their skins and a unique voice and perspective that would not be denied, that could and would not be silenced or marginalized.
And from their earliest beginnings, the group sometimes spoke softly and individually; at other times they combined their voices until the pitch reached a cacophonic roar. Through their blogs, they argued and debated the various issues affecting the people of the African Diaspora, always with an eye toward definite and pronounced progress.
These voices gradually built to a crescendo which peaked around the election of President Barack Obama. Then gradually many of these original voices began to exit the stage as they pursued other endeavors and followed other avenues.
Now, as I check the black blogosphere, the number of black owned and operated blogs has grown by leaps and bounds. The number of African American owned and operated blogs grows each day. Additionally, many black owned and operated sites are moving upward into the rarified air of the upper reaches of the blogosphere with unprecedented reach and influence.
Also, at this time I find the gossip, hip-hop, and pop culture sites dominating the rankings. But that doesn’t mean that I do not believe there is a place in the black blogosphere for these sites; all voices are important and have a place.
However, I do look forward to a resurgence of those booming voices, new and old, that are willing to reach across the imaginary lines of color, class, gender, political affiliation, and whatever else divides as, in constructive and productive conversation and debate as we work toward uplifting brown and black peoples.
So, maybe I have managed to answer my own question. Maybe I have sat here and written and revised long enough until I have answered my own query. I blog because I feel I have something to say. I feel that I have a voice that is like none other. And with that voice I can sometimes speak in dulcet tones of compassion, forgiveness, and empathy, and at other times, I can speak in loud, bellowing tones of rage and disbelief.
And some days many others drop by to hear which voice I use while other days those that pass through are few. And some days many compliment me on my voice for that day and even stop to engage me in conversation while other days I get no feedback at all.
But nonetheless, this is my voice. This is my platform. This is why I do it. But the question then becomes, why do you do it?