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Text by Roxanne Fagri. Photographs by Cameron McDonald / Oneleague and Justin Dingwall
Source: This article was taken from the June 2011 issue of Cleo Magazine
These four CLEO girls talk about life, love and everything in between through their ‘personal networking havens’ – their digital diaries.
By day I run the social media department in a large digital agency in Jo’burg. I blog about my new life in Jo’burg (I was a Durban girl), the awesome relationship I have with my boyfriend Jon, my crazy family, funny friends and the insane things that happen to me, usually by accident.
I make money off my blogs through advertising banners on the side, and I do product exposure for a few PR companies that pay me per blog post. My favourite hangout in Jozi is Kitchen Bar at the Design Quarter. It’s very funky and relaxed. And their food is divine!
What makes my blog unique is that it’s a running documentary of how my life has changed over the past seven years. I’ve gone from an unemployed teenage single mother, living in a small town on the South Coast of KZN, to a twentysomething work-addicted Jo’burg local, living in the rat race. Blogging helped me through traumatic times.
I’ve gone through so much since starting my blog, and writing about my feelings seems to be the only way I can heal. In the early days my blog was filled with raw emotion. When I occasionally read those posts, I’m impressed at how far I’ve come emotionally. I started blogging because in 2004 my daughter Kiera passed away at eight months old, due to a lung disease she’d been born with.
“the biggest mistake any blogger can make is airing their dirty laundry online, it’s not dignified.”
I started blogging as a way to deal with the anger and sadness I lived with every day. Blogging helped me more than therapy ever did. Random things I’ve blogged about range from my period, bad dates, to accidentally hijacking my own car. You name it; I’ve blogged it – with the exception of sex, because that’s private. Mostly. The hardest part about blogging is finding the time to write as openly as I have in the past. I tried for a long time to be unaffected by the negative comments and wannabe stalkers, but eventually I got sick of defending myself, so I’ve learnt what to write about and what not to. To promote my blog I send a link out to my twitter followers, but that’s about it.
I’m lucky to have loyal readers who visit my blog from time to time. The biggest mistake any blogger can make is airing their dirty laundry online. It’s not cool, it’s not dignified, and no one actually cares. The ultimate goal for bloggers is to gain a large readership who indulge in your every word. My advice for new bloggers is: Practise makes perfect!
“i blog about the places i go, the people i meet, and the things i do.”
By day I’m a digital journalist. Part of my job is to be on Facebook and twitter all day – it’s a tough life, but someone’s got to do it. My blog is about my recent move to Cape Town and finding my feet in my new city. I also blog about the places I go, the people I meet and the things I do. I love finding humour or beauty in everyday things.
I moved down to Cape Town because I was awarded a scholarship to do my honours in journalism. Part of the agreement was that I’d work for the company and I’m so grateful for the opportunity. The most interesting part of Cape Town is being a part of the thousands of people dancing on Long Street during the Cape Town Carnival.
The hardest part about blogging is wondering if anyone is interested in the trivialities of my life. But my fears are usually put aside by kind comments and feedback from readers. I don’t make money off my blogs. Heck, now that I think about it -no one’s even given me any lipstick!
I blog when I have something interesting to say. I don’t want to be one of those “today I ate a tuna sandwich and it was awesome” bloggers. I promote my blog by linking posts on Facebook and twitter. The biggest blogging mistake is thinking that you have to churn out a blog post daily. If you have nothing to say, don’t say it. My favourite blog of all time is blog.cjanerun.com. Courtney Jane Kendrick is a Mormon blogger in Utah. We’re nothing alike, but I find such joy in her writing. My advice for new bloggers is to go for it! It’s your blog, so post away! Just don’t post anything you don’t want your dad seeing.
“not everyone is going to care about the issues you’re most passionate about.”
By day I’m the research and advocacy coordinator at the Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust. My blog focuses on women’s rights, feminism and issues pertaining to women’s bodies and freedom. I also have a website called My First Time, where women can submit stories about their significant first-time experiences – like the first time they went for a bikini wax, to their first encounter with cancer. The aim is to get women talking about issues that are taboo or scary. My blog is unique because it brings issues of feminism back into discussion.
In SA there’s very little blogging about women’s political freedoms, largely because society seems to think that feminism is out-dated. I hope to make more people realise that these issues aren’t finished. I started after I couldn’t find a career that allowed me to use my brain as much as I wanted to. I started writing, and after a while I sent in a few pieces to the Mail and Guardian Thoughtleader. They invited me to have a permanent blog space on their page. I don’t make money off my blogs; they’re all done in my free time.
Being a feminist means looking at the world and asking – is this the best place it could be for women, and if not, what needs to change, and what can I do to make that change a reality? It’s a political decision that influences the actions I take, the way I write and the conversations I have. It means speaking up when you’re expected to be silent, and allowing other women the space to speak and define themselves as well. I believe that my blogs have the potential to help women.
My Thoughtleader blog is a space that’s aimed at interrogating the world around me, and unless men become part of the solution for women, they’ll remain part of the problem. The hardest part about blogging was learning that not everyone’s going to care about the issues that you’re most passionate about. Some of my favourite blogs are Ms Magazine, an American feminist blogging platform that’s also part of a magazine. I also like Indieberries.blogspot.com, which is a multimedia-style blog started by Che Kershaw, a South African living in Korea.
“Roots Restaurant has created such memorable meals for me because they’re all allergy free!”
By day I’m a payroll manager and head office manager. My blog is dedicated to my journey of self-discovery and the rebirth of my passion for food. In October 2009 I was diagnosed with type-three food allergies to garlic, yeast, dairy, gluten and eggs, so most of my recipes avoid these ingredients. The main focus is on flavour – just because I have to eliminate certain ingredients from my diet doesn’t mean I have to eliminate the taste! I love to review cookbooks and edit recipes to make them allergy free.
I also enjoy blogging about new places and restaurants I’ve visited, and unusual ingredients that make eating with food allergies a whole lot yummier. I discovered I have food allergies when I experienced extreme dizzy spells in late 2009; I went to a doctor, but he couldn’t cure my problem. I decided to try a homeopath, who introduced me to the food-allergy blood test. Type three is a delayed allergic reaction to food and can occur two to 72 hours after eating. Most of my recipes come out of my head, but I follow other bloggers for some inspiration.
I also read magazines and browse the Internet. Nature inspires me, too – I try to use only natural ingredients. I’ve also learnt to listen to my body; having limitations makes me want to try harder. I don’t make money from my blogs, but I’d love a career that involved writing and food. When planning my blogs I try focus on the recipe and describe how I feel while eating it, or what reactions I get from others. Other times I focus on one ingredient and research it thoroughly. My favourite place to eat out is Roots Restaurant. They’ve created such memorable meals for me because they’re all allergy free! A good blogger must take risks and have broad shoulders.
Short, punchy sentences are key to get your readers hooked! The goal for food bloggers is to share our enthusiasm with people who love food and to inspire them to get into the kitchen.
I have many favourite blogs:
- Gluten-Free Goddess
- Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef
- Cook sister
- My Easy Cooking
- The Creative Pot
- Janice Tripepi
- Bits of Carey
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