To enter, I have to write a kickass essay on the rewards and benefits of being a blogger. So, in my standard good/bad/bongga format, here's what I think about the blogging community:
* Bloggers listen. As I said in one of my earlier reflections on blogging, blogging has given me an emotional outlet. The blogging community is like having your own interactive diary -- you can pour your heart out and other bloggers are always ready with a kind word. If you ask for an opinion, bloggers will give it (thanks for telling me what you think of my hair, blogosphere).
* Bloggers pat you on the back. Realizing that people thought your post worthy enough to leave a comment. Or a Digg, or a Stumble. Realizing that companies respect your opinion and recognize your influence. It all does wonders for my sense of self worth. There's nothing as satisfying as receiving an email from someone saying he bought a particular toy for his kid because of your review -- and his kid loved it.
* Bloggers share. Good news. Bad news. Freebies. Giveaways. Feeling lucky? Bloggers give out prizes galore. Bored? Bloggers are happy to point you to articles or videos or anything you want. Want to know how to clean your ears? Bloggers can help with that too. Do you have a good cause to promote? Bloggers will join. Take my recent Girl Scout Cookie giveaway as an example -- people are entering in droves. It's just a lousy box of DoSiDo's, for God's sake -- so I'm assuming that everyone's doing it because they want to do their part to help Quaker Oats donate boxes of oatmeal to hungry kids.
* Bloggers influence. Forget speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Bloggers speak loudly, and traded the stick in for a lightning-fast whip. We're a force to be reckoned with. As the Motrin Moms incident proved, online word of mouth can make or break a product. And I like being a part of that.
* Bloggers share. Yes, they do -- but it's not always nice. You get all kinds of opinions, many criticisms, from people who don't even know you. In one of my early posts, some nasty troll accused me of treating my kids like fashion accessories. Even though the idea is actually ludicrous (I don't drape 3Po around my neck like a faux fur), but it still hurt.
* Bloggers suck you in. You can get so wrapped up in sharing your life with the blogging community that you miss out on actual life. Like twittering your way through your daughter's dance recital. Of course, that isn't really the blogging community's fault, it's yours. But then again, if those twitters weren't so interesting, you wouldn't be so glued to them, so maybe you can blame the blogging community after all. Not!
* Bloggers connect. Being a stay-at-home parent can be so isolating, and the thing I love most about the blogging community is how I've connected to other people who can relate to my experiences -- other moms, old friends, Filipinas, Filipinas married to Englishmen, ex-dancers, the whole lot. You name it, there's a part of me that has found a kindred spirit around the blogosphere.
* Bloggers can cure cancer. Okay, that last part wasn't true. But if ever someone does cure cancer, you can bet the blogging community will be the first to know -- will make darn sure that everyone on earth benefits from it.
So what's my final verdict on the blogging community? Cue the violin music and get out the 5 shiny paper stars -- we rock.
Thanks again to Mabel's Labels for sponsoring this contest and giving bloggers like me the chance to attend BlogHer '09. Click here for the complete rules and regulations. The contest ends on Feb. 9; good luck to everyone -- but truthfully, I hope I win!