Thoughts on Blogging

by Kathe Todd-Hooker

http://www.kathetoddhooker.blogspot.com/
Click here for a printable .pdf of this article.

"Between Again" Kathe Todd-Hooker

"Between Again" Kathe Todd-Hooker

Before I write anything else, I want to say that I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. If Canticle for Leibowitz i were not a work of fiction, it would be hard for me to decide whether to join the political simplified Luddites, the Simpletons, or the learned seekers and protectors of knowledge and artefacts, the Albertine Monks. Are computers just plain evil, or really uesful? I believe that many of our activities on the Internet are not necessarily true communication, but involve a kind of vanity. And, they take away from weaving time. Much of what I do on the computer will not add to my development as a tapestry weaver, writer or instructor. I am also not comfortable with the kind of personal sharing that often occurs on the Internet. That said, the rest follows.

“Fiat Lux” (Let There Be Light) ii

I use Blogger for my blog. I find Blogger simple and easy to use. Its gadgets, bells and whistles are amazing and easy to download from Google. However, the reason I chose Blogger was because my business partner, Pat Spark, and I took a class on creating an online presence and Blogger was the program used in the class. Pat acquired a good working knowledge of the program and was able to help me get started, not without, however, me loudly lamenting the fact that I had to learn more useless computer technology. Even with the simplified bells and whistles, I still have technological challenges. For example, I am still trying to learn how to create a slide show of my work on my blog.

"So Sought After" Kathe Todd-Hooker

"So Sought After" Kathe Todd-Hooker

“Fiat Homo” (Let There Be Man) [or Woman] iii

I am a very shy person. Through owning and maintaining the Tapestry List iv, I have learned, the hard and often painful way, the following things. I never post anything that I don’t want the whole world to know or comment about. I respect copyright issues. I never give out personal information. I am careful of using tags on the blogs (especially with a last name like mine). I expect to have information used by others without permission. I never write emotional posts. There may not be an Emily Post etiquette for blogs (perhaps there should be), but I feel that people have a tendency to share too much personal information on their sites.

My original idea for a blog was to develop a journal that focused on weaving technique, design and Ah Ha! moments. In addition, I wanted more contact with other tapestry weavers. I liked being able to place pictures next to my written words. And I could access my blog from anywhere in the world! With Blogger it is possible to keep the blog private, make it accessible through a password, or make it public.

Kathe Todd-Hooker's weblog April 29, 2009

Kathe Todd-Hooker's weblog April 29, 2009

In Ira Progoff’s Intensive Journal workshops, part of the process involves memorializing, or internalizing, things by reading journal entries aloud to a group. When I teach creative journaling workshops, I ask students to set goals and to enter the steps needed to attain those goals into a calendar. By vocally acknowledging the goals, they seem to happen by magic. Knowing these methods, I hoped that using my blog to chart weekly progress on my tapestries and other projects would create a similar memorializing/internalizing process that would spur me on to weave more, and achieve larger goals.

"So Between Too" Kathe Todd-Hooker

"So Between Too" Kathe Todd-Hooker

I do tend to keep the focus of my blog on tapestry issues, my students and my professional life. I find that I am a little more talkative about imagery, the stories behind my work and why I use them in certain ways. I also use the blog for announcing exhibits of my work and my class schedules. It is easier to update than my web page.
I am not that interested in the technical aspect of blog layout. I try to focus on reading ease. The only tracking I use is a counter that tells me how many people have accessed the site since its inception in August 2008. At this point, that number is 180 nameless/faceless people. I don’t know if that is a lot and I don’t think I care. It is the discipline of creating the blog that is most important to me. I rarely get comments on my blog. I let Google and its programs promote my Blogger site. Usually, I post on the Tapestry List saying I have updated the site. I have also added my blog URL to my email signature.

Does it help me professionally at this point? I am not sure. It does add another layer of discipline and I have gained a few private students because of the blog. Does the blog itself enhance my artwork? It burns up time quickly and can be terribly frustrating, but the weaving journal I have created does enhance my art. It’s much easier to maintain then the paper journal I have kept for years and I can access it on my laptop anywhere in the world. And it is so easy to add images. I also enjoy reading others tapestry blogs instead of playing computer games while I am waiting for the printer to finish, or on hold on the telephone.

"Afterglow" Kathe Todd-Hooker

"Afterglow" Kathe Todd-Hooker

“Fiat Voluntas Tua”(Let Thy will be done) v

In the end, it all comes back to my love/hate relationship with the computer and technology. I am still asking myself, ‘Is this something I need to do? What are the end results? Is it needful or just vanity publishing? How many “needful things” vi do we need?’

Endnotes:

i Miller, Walter, Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz. 1959-1960; J.P. Lippincott & CO, NY.

ii Ibid. Titled sections of book.

iii Ibid. Author’s notation. Maybe Miller would be in favour of doing away with the sexism of his time.

iv tapestry2005@yahoogroups.com or contact kathetoddhooker@comcast.net

v Miller, Walter, Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz. New York: J.P. Lippincott & Co.,1959-1960. If you find all this confusing try the Wikipedia article on the book. It has a great précis.

vi King, Stephen. Needful Things. Viking Press, 1991. It became a movie in 1993.