RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
You can find a link to the Los Alamos National Laboratory blog at npr.org, plus a link to that of commentator Catherine Seipp. She's one of the many Americans who have blogs according to Pew Internet & American Life Project. About 32 million Americans say they read blogs and about eight million say they write them. Here's commentator Catherine Seipp.
Arianna Huffington and her celebrity friends have finally begun blogging at the much hyped HuffingtonPost.com, and immediately it seemed the rest of the blogosphere turned, pointed and laughed, which may make you wonder why would anyone do this? I mean, there you are, a perfectly comfortable Hollywood zillionaire like Mrs. Larry David or Mr. Rob Reiner, and you take a few moments out of your important busy life to noodle something about environmental toilet paper or that Bush is very, very bad. Then you innocently send your musings out into cyberspace at which point some nasty little non-celebrity blogger catches the thing, pulls the pin and throws it back, whereupon it blows up in your face in a giant explosion of snark. Because bloggers, besides being rabble-rousers, are essentially rabble and, therefore, maybe not the best company for those used to politer society.
There are eight million blogs in the naked blogospheric city and there are days when it seems like they've all turned on you at once. My blog, cathyseipp.net, is about my right-wing views, media, conversations I've had with friends and family, editors who've ticked me off. I happen to treasure the time someone called me a Q-Tip head and was flattered that within days of guest blogging elsewhere, I was nominated for worst guest blogger ever, but not everyone has the stomach for this sort of thing.
Blogging connects me to all sorts of people from all over the world who lead lives entirely different from mine. I like seeing the regular visitors come from military domains, investment banks, aerospace companies, the Caribbean, and this is sort of my favorite, a Hollywood music store for aspiring rock stars. I imaged some slacker strumming away, thinking, `Hey, man, I wonder what's going on at Cathy's world?'
For me, blogs have turned the looming mountain of beginning any piece of writing into manageable molehills. Here's the first thing I always remember when someone asks why I blog. One day when I was about five years old, I was in my grandmother's pool holding on to the edge. I would periodically yell, `Mummy, you need to watch me. I can't swim and I could drown,' but I got distracted playing with my cousins and after a while forgot to remind her that I couldn't swim. Eventually my mother said, `Oh, Cathy, guess what? You're swimming.'
I looked down. I was amazed to see I'd been swimming in the middle of the pool without realizing it and that's how blogging works for me. It eliminates the fearful procrastination that used to hang over my head before writing because, after all, blogging isn't really writing, even though it is. It's just fooling around, jotting down thoughts in what I think of as an online notebook. So I no longer waste time worrying that I won't be able to do it and I no longer feel like I'm about to drown.
MONTAGNE: Blogger and commentator Catherine Seipp writes a weekly column for National Review Online.
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