How do we help “new bloggers” find their voice?
Are we really a community that does?
I believe we are, or at least can be.
Main Street Plaza is an Internet home for people who care about their thoughts and ideas, eventhough weoften disagree. Wedon’t have the same world view,but it helpsus tobe able toarticulateour point of view, and listen to others asthey express theirs.Disagreements on doctrineor different life choices,does nothave to lead to animosity.I hope that we are making a space for people questioning their faith, lives and community, and to help them feel that they have a “voice” as they work throught those struggles.
An Example of doing it right!
I think that Post Mormon Girl does a great job giving voice to her experiences with the church, and how those experiences shaped her life. Her entire blog is great and some time. when you have the flu or something else, where you have an excuselay inbed,I highly recommendreading through her past posts. She is an awesome person, writer, friend and she has a great way of gently encouraging new readers and commenters to talk, even if they are VERY shy.
Part of what is remarkable about Post Mormon Girl, as a blogger and human being, is that she makes sure to thank each person who comments, or to engage them in some way. When she doesn’t know an answer, she will post that she doesn’t know, and ask her readers whether they know them. She also asks questions that she genuinely doesn’t know the answers to, and at the end of the OP asks her readers to share their experiences.
This is one of her recent posts, that especially hit home with me: (You really should take the time to read the OP and ALL ofthe comments)
The post is touching and masterfully written.Thecomments, thoughts, ideas and personal experiences added to the OPmake it much morepowerful!. PMG is a great writer, who writes honestly and straight from the heart. There is no doubt that her writing stands on its own. While being a great writer is important, her original reasonfor starting A Post-Mormon Life, was to help others who had, were or were going to have some of the same experiences, when they decide that leaving the LDS church, She wanted other people toknow that it is possible to leave the LDS church, andthey can be happy. Mostly, she wants people to ask questions, or leave part of their own stories, so they can be part of the larger narrative of current Mormons, Ex-Mormons, and thosestraddling the fence.
What we are doing now, and howwe can bebetter!
Hopefully, Main Street Plazais creating a space for thestoriesof people who have had the LDS church touch their lives. As a place forexperiencesto beshared, a place of encouragement, and not a place of condescension or condemnation.This is a place that you can hear the words and voices of those whose lives have been different,while you still share some common threads.
Hopefully, you willfind acceptance, no matter where you fall on the living-believing-caring-hoping scale of personal growth.As you discuss, debate, and find common ground, hopefully you will see Main Street Plaza as a place to embraceideas and people who don’t agree with you (or do agree with you) that you respect because of the lives they live and their tollerance and support, no matter how different you may seem at first.
Oftentimes, connecting through blogs has less to do with marketing and more to do with making personal connections, but it is hard to make those first few connections, If someone has posted on a group blog, and they have a personal blog that is in their profile, check out their blog. If theirblog is interesting, and youare comfortable with the content, leave a comment about something you liked, and then ask them to check out your blog.It can be a great was tostart conversations that mightnot happen inlarger forums, with 20-50 comments. There are new and more experienced authors,who offer their advice, when you ask for it.
There are times whenyouneed help now, and you aren’t sure who to ask. So, please, if you are new or have been lurking for a while,
please leave a comment with your question(s) and hopefully between the community members, we will be ableto answer all of them.
**Disagreeing is just as honorable as agreeing, as long as comes from a supportable idea or an experience based insight. Name calling is always an easily throw, like the balls from a Nerf gun. I am asking you to at least try meeting me half way, and stick to only calling me an idiot, AFTER you have shared your “supportable idea.”