Friday, October 27, 2006

Interview with Makeshift Dialect (Continued)


In our interview session, Makeshift Dialect and I did not have time to finish our conversation. So! Makeshift Dialect was cool enough to continue the conversation with me via email. Below are the questions that I sent to Makeshift Dialect and her answers. Enjoy!

The Interview, Part 2

A Blog Without a Bicycle: How do you define a “blog”?
Makeshift Dialect: A blog is a website controlled by one individual or a group of individuals with a common goal or purpose. For the group or individual, a blog serves as a forum about a particular topic or range of participants for anyone to view (anyone who has access to internet and know-how about how to find blogs – also, not everyone will “speak the language” of every blog, thus presenting yet another barrier for certain individuals—those with low-literacy skills, etc.). Blogs can have just pictures or just text, or a mix of both and videos or song streams as well. A number of multimedia are available to integrate with or serve as the content of a blog.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: What qualifies as a “feminist blog”?
Makeshift Dialect: A feminist blog is a weblog committed to the tenets of feminism. This does not necessarily mean that the blog will deal with “feminist” issues directly. Feminist methods may be employed and evident within the presentation of the blog.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Have you ever participated in a blog carnival? If so, tell me about that experience.
Makeshift Dialect: NO! Sounds exciting!

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Do you belong to or consider yourself a member of any online community? How do you define these communities?
Makeshift Dialect: No, I would not say I’m part of any online community. I say this because I am not online enough to bring myself to the online table. My internet ventures tend to be one-way, whereas an online community is two-way: interactive, engaging for many parties, where sharing is required.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Do you think that activism can be carried out online? What are the possibilities of such activism?
Makeshift Dialect: Certainly! Well, I think a fuddy-dud might say “no” just because blogs, like journal articles and other texts, are passive ways of “engaging” an audience about a specific issue. However, I feel there is much potential for blogs to be engaging and very interactive. For example, on many blogs, there is a clearly identified opportunity for inquiring minds to further discuss an issue: the comments section. A dutiful blogger will respond to her readers’ concerns within the comments section itself or in an entirely new post. In my blog, I hope to whet the casual reader’s appetite with my take on issues, as with the post I wrote about a sexist driver’s license policy. While I am not mandating that each reader of makeshiftdialect run out to the DMV and protest, I do hope it brings an awareness to each reader that they may not have prodded before. I hope for prodding, really. I think that’s activism, even if it’s small-scale. Remember we must change people’s hearts before we change their minds!
What’s nice about websites in general is that people randomly stumble across them. If a blog is eye-catching and boasting strong content, the next cache tumbleweed might bring in a new viewer who’s never thought about the interaction between gender and DMV policies, for instance. I also believe that the internet is anonymous enough to allow people to explore issues or “images” that they may not seek when other people are looking, when they have to check out books from the libraries, or admit that they’re feminists. So, unlike in-your-face activism or flaccid flyers, the internet offers people the ability to check out issues they’d ordinarily be judged for. (I’m not rewriting that sentence to circumvent the end-of-sentence-preposition, missy.)

A Blog Without a Bicylce: Do you think that feminist activism is being conducted online? If so, can you think of any examples?
Makeshift Dialect: I’m sure it is! Elizabeth, I think your website is a glaring example. You’re directly addressing “feminist” issues, and processing this for everyone to read. I think your transparency about this project is definitely using feminist methodology.
Other than bikeless blog … Well, I can’t really think of anything, but what I think is neat about your website also is that you have links to other feminist webpages. This feels very feminist also—this sharing of resources and knowledge. Maybe I’m a little too mushy for the feminist business, but I do think the linking from page to page creates a web of feminist discourse in a very simple and natural way. Every link on a page makes every other page more accessible to an inquiring mind.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Do you have any questions for me based on our conversation?
Makeshift Dialect: NO! Let me know if you have any followup questions.

And if you have any questions for Makeshift Dialect, you can visit her blog and ask her!

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