I am still a novice blogger. Yes, I have done a few over the past couple of years, but word has now come down that America’s associate editors are to blog on a regular basis. Some already blog prolifically, and in my mind’s eye I see their fingers flying over their computer keyboards as myriad thoughts take wing into the blogosphere. Then there are people like Lori Erickson who in a recent issue of America wrote of starting a blog of her own. She acknowledges that “the daily routine was overwhelming as I tried to come up with something new each day.” Nothing of that kind is in the cards for me, happily, who can admit that the very concept of blogging has not come gently into this particular dark night but rather with a certain fear and trembling.
Consider, for instance, the word “blog” itself. As Wikipedia will tell you, it is a contraction of the term ‘web log’, meaning “a type of web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentaries”, such as the aforesaid Lori Erickson. My own commentaries tend to be on the more hum drum side like this very posting (another new term). Not for me heavy disquisitions on politics and religion. Early on, I did a posting on my commute to America on the R train--now I take the F. Another posting dealt with the less than tidy state of my office, in which I have tended to regard floor space as additional shelf space. Periodically, I have to push back the ever expanding tide of paper and books and other not easily classifiable items that have a way of spreading ever outward into the room. A more agreeable posting on my much admired friends, the Religious of the Sacred Heart, some of whom live and work in Spanish Harlem, actually garnered some favorable comments.
One fact that has moved me from a fear and trembling approach to blogging came on learning recently that a favorite resource of mine now has its own blog--the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C. The CBPP, a non-profit, is a kind of think tank that often focuses on the kinds of the poverty-related issues I follow for America that affect low-income people. Their excellent reports on issues matters like Medicaid and housing, and now their blog (www.offthechartsblog.org) may draw me further in to the blogosphere. As for podcasts and Twitter–the CBPP hasthese too--I may have to move in those directions also. The associate editors of America, we are told, are encouraged to contribute to the magazine's podcast. And I will do so when asked. But Twitter? Well--just don’t hold your breath.
George Anderson, SJ