Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Entering a brave (not so) new world

I’m learning that I am, after all, something of a traditionalist.

I know that now because of the trepidation in my heart as I look at the blank posting screen on the civiletti blog on Truthfully, I had a hint of it when I created the civiletti blog on a month ago. I created it, but left it empty.

I’m not sure what to do with this forum. It’s a strange concept: a sort of public diary. I’ve been an off-and-on avid journaler all my life. I don’t think I ever shared my journal writings with anyone, much less the anonymous public-at-large.

So this is scary.

It’s also intimidating because it’s unchartered territory and I’m used to doing what I do the way I’ve always done it. I’ve been churning out a 700-word essay every week, more or less, for six years. My column has a structure, a format, a time and a place. Top of page nine of The News-Review, every Thursday. This blog thing is uncomfortably amorphous. You write when you feel like you have something to say. Long, short, doesn’t matter. Topics vary. You can even post pictures.

Yep. I’m a traditionalist all right.

Now that I’ve wandered outside of my comfort zone, I have so many questions. But there are no real answers, because, in blog world, there are no real rules. At least that’s what my 13-year-old daughter tells me.

When I asked her if she knew what a blog was, she responded with a huge guffaw. Eyes rolled. Head shook. Well, duh, of course. I then learned that she has three blogs of her own. And that everybody knows what a blog is.

Except this particular 13-year-old’s embarrassingly antiquated parental unit. (That’s what she calls me, parental unit.)

I got to wondering about blogs (sure, I’d heard of them but they hadn’t become more than a fleeting blip on my radar screen) after a recent conversation with a young woman who’s just finishing college. She’s a regular writer of letters to the editor. She’s articulate, organizes her thoughts well, and she knows how to construct a sentence. I asked her if she’d be interested in a job at the newspaper. No, she replied. But she was thinking of starting her own blog about local issues and politics, she casually informed me.

There was that word again.

I started to look into this blog thing a little more. And the more I read, the more I realized the potential we traditionalists have for sitting back while the world passes you by — and you don’t even realize it’s happening.

This realization hit me like a bucket of ice water in my face. And not just because I never thought I’d be such a dinosaur about communication technology at this young age. (I can see my daughter rolling her eyes right now.) This is the direction the publishing industry is going in. This may be the future of the newsroom. And it was happening without me. I was hunkered down in my comfy little corner of the maze with Hem and Haw, and one day I’d emerge from my comfort zone and find that the cheese had moved. Vanished. Just like that.

If you’ve never read Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese?” you really should. It’ll make you think about how you deal with change in your life, whether it’s change at the office or at home. And there’s certainly enough change in this world to keep us all on our toes. Or left behind wondering what happened, like Hem and Haw, the mice in the “Cheese” parable who didn’t anticipate change and one day emerged from their comfort zone to find that everything was different.

And so began my thinking about my personal blog experiment, a thought process that led me to this blank screen on the civiletti blog at

It’s got some words on it, now. Close to 700 words in fact. The traditionalist dies hard, you see.

Meanwhile, I’ll write. Maybe not every day. But then again maybe so. I’ll blog about life in Riverhead. I’ll blog about the upcoming local elections. I may even blog about you. I’ll blog about whatever the spirit moves me to blog about, since that’s what a blog is all about.

And if I can figure it out, I’ll set it up so that you can comment on my blog, too. If I can’t, I’ll get my daughter to help me. So check it out, read all about it, and chime in. Go to

No comments: