Sisters in Blogging - By Relation and By Association5:30 PM
In the world of blogging where it is impossible not to interact with other people, we are bound to develop relationships and associations of varying degrees. In most blogger events I have managed to attend, female bloggers will be calling each other "Sis", with the male counterparts using "Bro", very much like how most bloggers would generally address each other online. For me, these terms came to signify camaraderie and oneness with an expectation of the unspoken rule of respect for each other's person and work.
A True Sister in Blogging
I am fortunate to have one true sister in blogging by virtue of relation. My sister-in-law Levy has been blogging for quite some time. Although I have been a writer longer than her, she entered the blogging world much earlier than I did. She has taught me much of the intricacies of blogging technicalities which I found practical and useful.
It is interesting to note that even when we now move in the same world, we rarely see each other in events. Aside from my very scarce availability in attending such events, it would appear that we don't have exactly the same audience. We do share one of course which is parenthood/motherhood but even in that commonality, there remains a difference. She belongs to the young mothers' group while I obviously belong to the older mother age bracket and so I would like to believe that we continually learn from each other's experiences.
Finding Sisters and Brothers Online
Working at home as a writer/researcher sort of alienated me from the outside world. While I had a group or "barkada" in school and at the office, I had none to speak of as a home-based writer. That was before I joined blogger groups. Although I technically don't have a particular group to speak of, I am happy to have found sisters and brothers online who have made working online a lot more pleasant and encouraging.
Hits and Misses
I have quite a number of hits in online friendship. Some actually go out of their way to know me personally. Some show support for my work. Some even offered me work and continue to give me work.
Sadly though, there have been a few misses along the way. The most recent one was when I called the attention of one blogger about one of her post containing phrases which appeared to me to have been lifted from at least three letters contained in my blog "A Letter Writer". Upon calling her attention, she immediately revised some of the exactly-worded phrases and replaced them with synonyms. This is without me pointing to specific phrases so she knew exactly what I was talking about. However, I felt that the revisions done were not enough and so I appealed to her to revise it and make it really her own. I put emphasis on the fact that it is impossible for us to have come up with the exact words while supposedly sharing our unique and personal experiences. She answered that she has done what she could to "pacify" me and she can do no more. End of story.
The Unwritten Law of Respect
There is no such thing as the written law of respect between bloggers but its unwritten form should always be there. It is not about pacifying me but more about doing what is right. When she admitted that the love letters contained in my blog "inspired" her and yet refuse to revise her post to make it her own, I think no actual inspiration happened.
I should have been flattered with her admission of "inspiration" but I felt violated somehow. This is probably the feeling of writers and bloggers who see their posts copy-pasted in other blogs. Even if my case is not exactly the same since several exact phrases have been selected from at least 3 letters and incorporated in a single post instead of the usual copying in whole, the resulting feeling might just be the same. This is the thing with personal posts, you just know.
When I started writing online under my own name, I promised myself I will do my best to maintain respect for myself and others. Then somewhere along the way, I thought I can inspire others to do the same by writing from the heart. This is without the illusion that I am better as a person or as a writer. I simply wanted to encourage, especially the bloggers who are just starting and instill in them the fact that there is honor in blogging.
That said, I'm sure I've had my own lapses in my writing career. What will separate us though from the rest is our willingness to acknowledge and correct them. The blogging world is too small for any kind of negativity emanating from bloggers themselves. In the very impersonal environment of the online world, there is still space for such things as word of honor, respect, and yes... sisterhood.