An Assignment

This blog – at its commencement – is part of an assignment.  For my graduate course Social Media in Business, I was instructed to create a blog and post my initial thoughts on “two blogs or websites that [I] read on a regular basis… and indicate the strengths and weaknesses of each. ”

While I’m sure my professor would appreciate students commenting on business blogs, that’s just not what I choose to do with my free time.  Any blog that I read on a regular basis is going to carry a much more social overtone.  Without further ado, therefore, I present:

The Bloggess

The Bloggess

Jenny Lawson created a personal blog to chronicle her life with taxidermy animals and crippling anxiety.  The posts are sometimes dark humor, sometimes heartbreaking, as Jenny provides readers with an honest glimpse into her everyday life.  This sincerity and commitment have led to a large community of followers, a number of small social movements (see The Traveling Red Dress), and two autobiographies.

The greatest strength of The Bloggess is that the blog moves as Jenny moves: when the author is excited or happy, the posts clearly demonstrate that energy; when the author is anxious and spiraling, the posts express every emotion.  And because the posts themselves carry such weight, the comment sections are beautifully human: people share their own stories, give words of encouragement to each other, talk directly to the author.  And Jenny herself posts her favorite comments from each post – how they inspire her, encourage her, make her laugh.  The Bloggess has created this fantastic sense of community where the awkward, silly, and painful parts of the human existence become those experiences that bring her readers closer together.  By being so open about herself, Jenny Lawson has effectively created a community for others to be open, as well.

Jenny Lawson uses her blog to integrate other aspects of her social media presence.  From her blog, readers are also encouraged to follow The Bloggess on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, as well as peruse her store, books, and fellow bloggers.

Rejected Princesses

Rejected Princesses is an art blog dedicated to “women too awesome, awful or offbeat for kids’ movies.”  Jason Porath, a former animator for DreamWorks Studios, creates weekly entries centering around women throughout history who have impacted their own corner of the world.  A Wikipedia historian, Porath is less focused on the historical accuracy of his posts and more focused on the spirit in which these women lived – daring, cruel, scared, powerful, manipulative, conniving.  Porath acts as a 21st century oral historian, in this sense, that he chooses to preserve the culture, if not perfectly the truth.

I chose to revise some of my language in light of a comment from Mr. Porath himself.  

Rejected Princesses is an art blog dedicated to “women too awesome, awful or offbeat for kids’ movies.”  Jason Porath, a former animator for DreamWorks Studios, creates weekly entries centering around women throughout history who have impacted their own corner of the world.  Porath creates posts that are easily consumed and understood, with a storytelling narrative that is less focused on empirical facts and more focused on the spirit in which these women lived – women who were daring, cruel, scared, powerful, manipulative, strong.  Porath acts as a 21st century oral historian, in this sense, choosing to preserve and pass on the cultural significance of these rejected princesses.

The blog quickly gained a large following and an upcoming book deal for Porath, who often encourages interactions from his readers: leaving hints about upcoming princesses and tallying up the guesses; publicly awarding certificates (or Nog prizes) to those who school him in princess history; and even holding a ‘create your own Amazon’ event.  Readers are welcome to submit suggestions for princesses or forward articles about modern day women who are changing the world.

The strength of Rejected Princesses is Porath’s rhetoric – it’s modern storytelling for ancient tales, with a bevy of words that would not make it past the Disney sensors.  And yet, I do not think Porath was anticipating such widespread success with his blog, as he seems to have been playing catch-up with reader demand.  To meet that demand, Porath has integrated Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram in his social media presence to create a wider community.

For a taste of Rejected Princesses (and a fantastic story of an amazing woman), I recommend reading the post on Noor Inayat Khan, The Spy Princess.

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4 thoughts on “An Assignment

  1. To be fair, I do try my damndest to be as accurate as I can be. I rely on way more than Wikipedia, usually reading at least one book per entry, and you can see my citations at the end of each entry. But it’s absolutely true that storytelling and entertainment is my primary goal. There’s no way I could live up to a historian’s standards, and I try to be upfront about that.

    Glad you enjoy the project regardless. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Wikipedia historian” does take on a negative connotation, doesn’t it? I’m sorry about that – I did not mean to belittle your research in any way. I meant to convey that your posts are easily consumed and understood, without the weight of a scholarly text; you cite, but you don’t quote – allowing your own interpretation to create a story. Your posts draw people in and encourage them to do their own research into the lives of these women. But that explanation didn’t make it into my analysis because I’m a fool and I chose not to clarify my point. I’m sorry.

      I would like to take this opportunity to tell you personally that your project is fantastic, Jason. Truly. To read about badass women – their circumstances, their choices, and their legacies – is very empowering. And to read about them in such a casual and familiar way makes these women accessible, relatable. Please keep up the excellent work.

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      1. It’s totally cool – I figured you didn’t intend to be mean! I know better than most how even slight mistakes of speech can be taken totally the wrong way. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words!

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