Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Fifth Annual Brooklyn Blogfest

I attended the Blogfest last night, a remarkable event altogether, and a grand success. I tend to be quiet at such events, but the people sitting next to me were right in it with Lemon Anderson's "Ode to Brooklyn" and were cheering Spike Lee. I really enjoyed the "Blogs Aloud" quotations from the blogs (as if I were not self-interested) and I loved the Photo Bloggers video.

I was impressed by how many people gathered after the main program for the "Blogs of a Feather" workshops. I was spent, and wanted some food and drink. But all these other people stayed involved, and were serious about their blogging enterprise, and kept working for another good half hour or more.

As for the Panel Discussion, I was intrigued by Andrea Bernstein's continuing question which was something like this: "Is there something special about Brooklyn which generates all this blogging, and if there is, what is it?"

I think there is, and I think it's more than "creativity versus money". Three things come to mind:

First, Brooklyn is a multi-cultural international city but not a "capital". Manhattan is a world "capital", and its creativity is big time, and its creators are stars. The blogging medium is too egalitarian for a capital like Manhattan. But it's an extremely convenient medium for Brooklyn's people-centered, less famous, non-starring creators. (Which is maybe why Spike Lee and Woody Allen don't feel at home here anymore; we're not their chosen orbit.)

Second, Brooklyn has a sense of itself. That's the "attitude" thing that Heather Johnston mentioned. Queens is even more multi-cultural and international than Brooklyn is, but Queens has almost no sense of itself. (I can think of lots of examples.) Queens does not have a great internal conversation going on, while Brooklyn has a constant internal conversation, at a high pitch, with lots of humor, anger, and emotion. We are in each other's faces, for better or worse. People in Brooklyn shout at each other across the street, strangers calling out comments to each other about the idiot who just made that stupid left turn, etc. Well, that all goes with blogging.

Third, our stoops and sidewalks. It's never just the stoops, it's also the sidewalks, and the relationship of stoops and sidewalks. We sit with each other on our stoops, but we meet each other on the sidewalk. More than with any other borough, and certainly more than Manhattan, our sidewalks are social places, they are social media, they're not just for travelling over, they are where we meet each other. The traffic pressure of Manhattan does not allow this nearly to the same extent. I suggest that blogging is an electronic version of stoops and sidewalks.

Well, that's the post-mortem. Geez Louise, a great event, and thanks. You're on to something, Louise Crawford.

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