Friday, December 16, 2011

2011: Year In (Blog) Review...

I know journalists are supposed to be cutthroat, all up in each others' grills, in direct competition, fast-speaking and even faster-thinking, trying to "scoop" each other. There is often no love lost between journalists. But as I explained a few days ago, I identify myself more as a blogger, someone who doesn't worry about competition because I'm not breaking news, I'm offering a take on certain things. My readers click on my links because they like my take, or at the very least they want to make fun of my crazy opinions and theories about which on the shows I write. I like to link to other bloggers' works, either as a way of offering further support for my own stories or to offer a counterpoint. As I've said before, blogging is a community, and communities help each other. There are a handful of other bloggers who greatly fit this bill (most of them can be found in the blogroll to the bottom right of this, and every, page), but then there are also just a handful of blogs that I truly get a kick out of reading on a daily or weekly basis. Some of them are new finds, some of them are ones I've been reading for years. Some are completely off-topic from my usual TV beat, but those, perhaps best of all, offer a nice break from daily routine. And so those are the few I chose to highlight here in "Blog Gems of 2011."

PostSecret. Confession: I have never purchased one of the books, but I eagerly click onto the website first thing every Sunday morning to read the new secrets. Quite a few times I've sat down with index cards and drafted a few of my own to send up. Confession #2: I never sent mine in, but every few weeks I find one on the site that reflected one of mine in some way anyway. This what a true blog community does: bring people together. Some of the secrets make me smile; some make me gasp; some make me want to cry-- but all make me think. This site starts the best discussions among friends and strangers alike. I'm constantly in awe by the bravery and creativity of those who contribute.

Crushable. Admittedly I was introduced to the wonder that is this pop culture mecca when my friend Louis started recapping The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for them. You may wonder why I would click on such a link, considering I was once requested to write about that show and turned it down because I couldn't bear to meet the weekly watching requirement. But remember how I said bloggers support each other? It turns out, my loyalty knows no bounds. But truly, he/they struck gold with the recaps that were really more re-enactments, utilizing Barbie dolls whose facial expressions were often more fitting than the actual Housewives' plastic-pumped immobile expressions. I love me some action figures; I don't know why I didn't think of this first! But kudos, really, because it always brightens up a long time spent transcribing or watching a screener I can't stand to flip through any one of the site's very many slideshows.

The Ansible Network. Full disclosure: this is a friend's blog, started presumably to kill time/keep himself sane during a day job. But he has a passion for movies, which is a different enough change of pace for me, and many of the movies he digs up trailers for and then writes about are ones I wouldn't normally see but still want to stay "in the know" enough about. Through him, I feel like I can/am. Plus, because he keeps the blog up willingly and independently, he still writes with the passion of a man whose thoughts are just pouring out of him and into his laptop. That's becoming increasingly rare when advertisers, partners, and contributor content is starting to dictate the direction of the average blog.

Dianna Agron's Tumblr. Maybe a Tumblr shouldn't count? I don't know; normally I'd say it shouldn't, but here is someone-- and a celebrity at that!-- who actually chooses to use her words (for the most part) on that platform, and that deserves to be commended all on its own. Rather than just pander to what she thinks her fans want to read, she writes about the issues and events that truly stand out to her. Like most of us bloggers, she was inspired to start her site after a spot of controversy-- in her case, headlines popping up questioning her sexuality after wearing an "I Like Girls" tee-shirt at one stop on the glee: Live in Concert Tour. I found that article so incredibly intelligent, inspiring, and moving, I've been an avid return reader. In just a few months, she has managed to rally support for a whole other site designed to start conversations and pay the inspiration forward. In a way, it's like the new "I Am That Girl": You, Me, & Charlie.

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