Extra Extra: Alisa Wilhelm Loves The Internet, So She Blogs Blogs Blogs

4 Nov

One of the last pages in Issue No.2 is something called “Our Job is Awesome.” The words on that page are a mini-play, a transcription of a real-life seven line conversation between John and Andrew in which they discuss the merits of a shared workplace. This dialog was captured by Alisa Wilhelm and originally published on her eponymous blog. We were hoping to find a couple of short pieces for the second issue when we stumbled across Alisa’s blog and saw that little gem nestled in her blog (and tagged “crumbs”). We asked permission to publish it, and she agreed.

Alisa’s blog is more than crumbs. It’s student art projects, art projects detached from school, thoughts on travel to distant lands, thoughts on studying at the University of Arizona, and more more more. We interviewed Alisa to find out why she puts pieces of her life on the Internet for all to see. Because she’s an artist and photographer, we also asked her to choose some images from her blog to repost here. She obliged us with answers and images. Enjoy.

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Dove&Snake: When did you start blogging?

Alisa Wilhelm: I started blogging in 2003. I was 12, and I used Yahoo Geo Cities instead of a blogging platform. I had to manually archive all of my entries. We had dial-up internet at my house.

D&S: Why did you decide to start a blog?

AW: I’ve always been obsessed with documentation, preserving, trying to keep remembering. Even before I read about Anne Frank, I wanted to be used like she is used today: a historical record for future generations. When I started blogging, it was just another expression of me documenting my life. I didn’t care to attract an active audience, but I secretly hoped that I would.

D&S: Why do you continue blogging?

AW: For a while, I really wanted to be a part of this cool blogging community called 9rules. It is very exclusive. You have to submit your blog to be reviewed and approved, or more likely denied, and they only accept submissions during certain times. I wanted to be a well known blogger, that’s why I wanted to be in this cool blogger’s club, and that’s what drove my blogging.

9rules accepts blogs that have a very narrow niche. The niche could be in any field, but it has to be specific. I knew that, so you can see points in my blog of me being like, “Concert reviews! THAT is my niche!” or “Life of a university student! MY NICHE!” However, I really didn’t care enough about those things to base every single post around them (also, they aren’t narrow enough). I stopped caring about how many people read my blog and I turned my visitor trackers off. I like pretty blogs, so now I just try to make my blog posts pretty. I continue blogging in order to create a pretty blog.

Colorblind

D&S: Do you know your readers?

AW: I know some of them. I stopped using visitor trackers a couple years ago, so I have no idea how many people read my blog.

D&S: How are the readers you know of connected to you in real life? Do they read your blog because they know you, or do they know you because they read your blog?

AW: I would guess that the majority of readers that I know of read my blog because they know me. None of my family members live nearby, and I have friends who are far away as well. I think they’re curious to find out about what I’m doing. When I read blogs from my friends and family, I find out things about their life that I might never think of to ask about. It’s probably a similar situation.

D&S: Do you get much feedback from your readers? What do they say?

AW: I used to get a lot more feedback than I do now. I don’t invite feedback. Some bloggers ask a question at the end of their post to get a discussion started, but I don’t. Lately I’ve been getting more non-traditional blog feedback than I have actual blog comments. Strangers email me encouraging notes saying that they like what I make, and people that I come into casual contact with often start conversations with, “I hope you don’t think I’m creepy, but I was reading your blog the other day…”

D&S: Have they (the strangers who hope you won’t think they are creepy because they read your blog) ever been creepy? If so, how did you respond?

AW: One time I was in a park, and a man came up to me and asked if I was Alisa and if I had a blog. I thought that I must have met him somewhere before, but I hadn’t. That was kind of creepy—an adult man approaching a teenage girl to ask her about her blog that he found. I was guarded, but I answered his questions. It turns out that he is a librarian who found my blog by searching for “Casa Grande Public Library,” a library that I have a love-hate relationship with. I used to volunteer there, and I love books, but I’ve had some bad experiences involving a very stereotypical, stern, shushing librarian.

D&S: What blogs do you read?

AW: Right now I’m subscribed to 283 blogs. I’ll give you a sample of my favorites: Ample Sanity, a deluge of New York Times blogs (Idea of the Day, The Moment, Schott’s Vocab, and others), artist’s blogs (Camilla Engman, Fine Little Day), and Things Magazine.

D&S: How do you encounter other blogs? What makes you want to subscribe to certain blogs?

AW: I find other blogs by reading other blogs. My favorite posts to read are ones that show photos, have a paragraph or two of text that might not even relate to the photos, and share a couple links. It’s those links that I find most valuable. They usually lead me to other blogs that I’ll like. When a blog is pretty consistent with my idea of a good post, I’ll subscribe. I don’t mind a lot of text if it’s interesting to me and well written.

D&S: Do they influence what you post on your blog?

AW: The most influential blogs that I read come from European women artists. Their photos are so calm and nice. I try to do that, but it’s difficult.

D&S: How do you decide what events from your life become blog posts?

AW: If I’m proud of it, then I post it.

D&S: This summer, you were out of the country and unable to access the Internet. Did you miss updating your blog?

AW: Not really. I wasn’t editing any photos, and I didn’t make much art, so I really had nothing that made me think, “I want to blog this.” I was more worried about my archive list looking less complete. I didn’t blog for two months, so the list goes: April 2009, July 2009.

*Alisa went to China. Here are 1723 photos compiled into a timelapse journey to East Asia:

China 2009 from Alisa Wilhelm on Vimeo.

D&S: Your blog is quite the miscellany. You post school projects, personal projects, observations about your university, notes and images from your travels, and more. What do you hope to communicate by posting these kinds of things?

AW: I want to give interested people a sample of what I’ve been thinking about, working on, and looking at. I used to think that my blog could give people an example of what my life is like, but there’s no way it could ever do that.

D&S: Who are the “interested people” who you are communicating with in your blog? Do you know who they are and what they’re interested in?

AW: Some Blythe doll owners read my blog. They are interested in Blythe dolls, haha. The community that forms around Blythe dolls is very close knit—adult women, strangers, gather for tea parties for their dolls, and they send people they don’t even know little gifts that are Blythe-related. I have a Blythe doll, her name is Marcie, and I read blogs about the lives of other Blythe dolls. Those people (and their dolls) read back. Other people have varied interests: family and friends care about me as a person, instructors are interested in seeing what I do out of the classroom, other artists like to see art.

D&S: Do you ever read your old posts? If so, what do you think of the you from the beginning of your blog?

AW: I try to avoid reading old posts, as anything older than a couple months I find to be extremely embarrassing. I guess it’s good that I’m not stagnant.

D&S: You started a joint blog project with Adam called Adam+Alisa. Who is Adam?

AW: Adam is my boyfriend! He’s an artist and photojournalist, among other things, and he lives in Boulder, Colorado.

D&S: Why did you start that blog with him?

AW: We have very long lists of things that we want to do together, and a blog was one of those things (Adam started the idea). We also have a very long list of future posts to make for the blog. Adam sometimes thinks of it as PDA, but I don’t. I think of it as an ongoing collaboration project with someone that produces work that I know I’ll like.

D&S: What will readers of Adam+Alisa find there? How is it different than your individual blog?

AW: Everything that has been posted on Adam+Alisa so far has been a collaboration project. We make each other a poster every month and mail a hard copy of that, but a jpeg diptych is posted on the blog. Along with that, we send each other preview swatches of the poster, and those are posted as well. Photo diptychs and audio are also there. It’s different from my blog because we both have access to it, and we come up with little assignments for blog posts (example: take a picture of a tree today). I don’t give myself assignments for my blog.

D&S: How long do you think you’ll keep blogging?

AW: As long as I keep loving the internet, I bet I’ll keep blogging.

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4 Responses to “Extra Extra: Alisa Wilhelm Loves The Internet, So She Blogs Blogs Blogs”

  1. Kier Darby 04.11.09 at 9:32 pm #

    Hi
    Thank you for your wonderful pictures and waiting for new works

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. alisawilhelm.com/blog » Interview with Dove&Snake - 04.11.09

    […] Read the interview here. […]

  2. Extra Extra: Alisa Wilhelm Loves The Internet, So She Blogs Blogs … School’s Rate - 04.11.09

    […] the original post: Extra Extra: Alisa Wilhelm Loves The Internet, So She Blogs Blogs … By admin | category: school projects | tags: alisa, are-great, arizona, council, […]

  3. Tweets that mention Extra Extra: Alisa Wilhelm Loves The Internet, So She Blogs Blogs Blogs « Dove&Snake -- Topsy.com - 05.11.09

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Courtney C. Johnson and Alisa, Nickolas Seibel. Nickolas Seibel said: I have pretty much the coolest friends/former bosses ever! How cool? Check out @alisa in Dove&Snake! http://bit.ly/lSu55 (especially photos) […]

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