Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Random thoughts on blogging

Hello? Anybody out there? In honor of my completely gutted readership, I thought I’d share some of my latest thoughts on blogging for the scant few of you who still bother to come to this site (and yet never comment on ANYthing. Lazy slobs.)

1) I took a long sabbatical from blogging, I know. To tell you the truth, after 5 years in Malawi, I was beginning to feel like I just had nothing good to say anymore. Malawi is still a lovely country, don’t get me wrong. I’d live there over, say, Chad or the Central African Republic any day. But things have been on a gradual decline for the past year, and it was sad to see. I’ve already written about the fuel shortages, of course, and the protests. But I didn’t write about the concerns over governance, the way the government seemed to be increasingly intolerant of criticism, sometimes taking out full page ads in the newspaper, explaining point by point why a) they have never made any mistakes at all, ever, and b) the opposition are idiots.

However, this blog has never been about politics (although every day I am finding it increasingly difficult to restrain from mocking the Republican Party), and as a humanitarian aid worker, I can jeopardize my own ability to work in a country by saying the wrong thing, so mum was the word. I feel conflicted about my silence however; isn’t it my duty to speak out when I see something unjust?

2) I never wrote about this one: I got Twittered. Tweeted?

It was the day of the protests in Lilongwe, and someone (cough cough government cough) had managed to shut down all the radio stations. Nyasa Times had reportedly been hacked. At any rate, there were no readily available news source. So for the first time, I turned to Twitter. For the rest of the day, I refreshed, read, and repeated.

Then I read something curious. Someone tweeted about a blogger named Gwyneth who worked in Public Health in Malawi. “Wow!” I thought “There’s another Gwyneth working in public health in Malawi? And she has a blog too! What are the odds?” And then it occurred to me – the odds were actually something like 6.7 million to one. They were talking about me.

I clicked through the link, and found my own blog post, written just a couple hours earlier, posted on the African news website All Africa. At first I was quite proud. But then I thought of how the government had announced it would be monitoring Facebook, and Twitter, and blogs, with the implication that those found writing negative things would face consequences. I briefly considered removing my post, but then I read my post again, and I was proud of what I had done. I decided to stand by my words.

3) Call me naïve, but I only recently realized that prospective employers Google their job candidates. Since my contract in Malawi was coming to an end, I have been steadily job-hunting over the past few months. Not long after a job interview a few months ago, I discovered that someone had found my blog by Googling me. Unfortunately, they were able to find me because a certain friend made the indiscretion of referring to our last names on this blog. I will punch him the next time I see him, but seeing as the guy is like 250 pounds, I don’t think I’ll do much harm.

But here’s something you should know, Mr. or Ms. Prospective employer. I see you. I know you’re out there, looking for me. I can now what you’re up to too.

And my next blog post is likely to be titled “Why I am the most awesome employee EVAH.”


Mary said...

Gwyn: You are intelligent, an excellent writer, and cute to boot...any employer should be happy to have you. Yes, was are a bit lazy to write, but I do like checking out your blog. You have some VERY funny stories that have made my night on more than one occasion. Hugs to the family from me:)

Shannon said...

I'm still reading, although I am one of those lazy slobs that hardly ever comments. I'm glad I go time meet you (briefly) at softball before you left Malawi. Good luck on the job hunt.

Jesse said...

The employment dangers of blogging...eeks. Still, I'm glad you're writing more again. Helps me miss you less. Glad to hear the house is settled, and waiting to hear about the wonderful turn of events that finds you a wonderful job with an employer who appreciates the delicate line you walk gracefully blogging about your life and work.

Miriam said...

I'm also glad you're blogging again, although I have to admit I haven't been as good about checking your blog regularly. I guess it just means that you need to write more regularly in order to give me something to look for. Love the photos on the next blog too. Dean is getting so big!

ghkcole said...

I read every post you write.
Ain't lazy, just too overwhelmed to comment.
Miss you, and playing Apples to Apples last night made me miss you more.
Please visit.
And stay well.
PS I have a blog too. Ahem.