Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Blogger diversity

Over the past few months we have seen a few instances where bloggers of color have been able to use the new medium to highlight issues or actions outside the radar of mainstream media or, in the case of queer bloggers of color, outside gay media as well. Some recent examples:
These unrelated events, among others, have galvanized some in the queer POC blogospehere long before they have reached coverage in other media. It goes to show how essential blogs might just be in providing information that might not be available anywhere else.

I have had some lingering questions about these occurrences. In some of these cases, and particularly the LIFEbeat protest, there was some limited strategic planning before the protest went 'on-line' but most of the bloggers who joined the effort found out about it after it was launched, possibly from some of those involved from the outset who knew which other bloggers to contact (and later from people who read different posts by these bloggers and decided to join).

It's fascinating to watch a certain issue catch fire and spread from a disorganized entity into a focused action, sometimes without participants even knowing each other. But there was also a small number of those involved in the LIFEbeat protest that had direct access to mainstream media and were able to channel some of the responses once they picked up on it. Of course, other things also come into play, including whether it was a slow news day, if the story had a 'sexy' angle, if it had legs, etc.

Now, most bloggers who responded to the LIFEbeat protest were African-American though off-line there were some gay Jamaican leaders and organizations that were involved. If I remember correctly, Emanuel Xavier and yours truly were the Latino representation blog-wise. And I have often wondered since then if a similar 'blogger activation campaign' on an issue related to LGBT Latinos could take place (my gut feeling is that it might take a couple of years for LGBT Latinos to catch up to blogger-fever, particularly those who are interested in politics and advocacy).

'tis why this particular story caught my eye last week and why it seems to be still reverberating among blogger circles. Which brings to mind this Newsweek article from back in March.

Which then brings us to Bloggasm and an informal poll conducted by media critic Simon Owens. He asked 1,000 bloggers the following questions:

1. What niche does your blog fall into (Examples: Political, gadget, movie, etc…If more than one, please list)?
2. What are the genders of all the bloggers who write for your site?
3. What are the races for all the bloggers who write for your site (if there are any that you’re not sure about, just indicate that you don’t know)?
4. What do you think of the diversity of the blogosphere, both in your niche and as a whole?

The results? At least when it comes to Latino bloggers, mostly dismal (even if it's not a scientific survey). But it does reflect some of my own perceptions since I started blogging more than a year ago.

In a couple of days, if not sooner, I'll be announcing a nifty international effort to support gay rights in a Caribbean island - but it was done in old-skool fashion (through the internet) rather than the blogospehere.

Let's hope that this focus on diversity in the blogosphere can change some of these dynamics.

(Thanks to Streetforce1 at GreasyGuide for guiding us to the Bloggasm entry)

[Additional Reading: The Republic of T. - Blogs, Diversity & Moving Forward: A Proposal]

1 comment:

Emanuel Xavier said...

Hey papi . . .

Thanks so much for all the props and the incredible work you do as a queer Latino leader. In one of my poems, "The Death of Art", I write "I do not like being called an 'activist' because it takes away from those who are out on the streets protesting and fighting for our rights."

I suppose this sentiment applies to the blogosphere. I simply post things that are important to me along with poems and announcements on my flimsy MySpace blog. I suppose because I have sort of made a name for myself as a minor downtown celebrity, people often turn to my musings and sometimes actually quote my rants.

However, it was when you helped me set the record straight about my attack almost a year ago now that I discovered the power of the blog.

I'm just an artist with a few fans and some political ideas. You, my friend, and others like Keith Boykin are the real heroes.

Peace always,
emanuel xavier