Friday, January 23, 2015

My blogging history and purpose of my blogs

Part of the time I might have spent blogging this week was spent considering my past history as a blogger and the purpose of my two blogs, Cynthia Parkhill: Library Assistant, Volunteer and Advocate and Librarian on a Bicycle.

I was posting original writing online since the early 2000s. At first, I used a website provided by my Internet service provider. I also posted book reviews to an online retailer.

I composed letters to the editor and opinion pieces that were published by various newspapers, most notably by my then-employer, the Lake County Record-Bee.

In the mid-2000s, I was given guest-author privileges at a couple of Wordpress- and Blogger-hosted sites and in 2012, I launched my “alpha” blog under the name Cynthia Parkhill: Information Professional.

When I launched my first blog in 2012, it was in response to an emphasis upon “digital first” publication of the news by my then-employer. Newspaper journalists were being encouraged to maintain blogs and I wanted to be “ahead of the curve.”

I embraced blogging as a way to assemble past writings across one consistent platform, which is why the blogroll documents activity back to the early 2000s.

The topics I wrote about are reflected by what my priorities were at the time. When I learned in 2007 that I was on the autism spectrum, I wanted to be up-front and raise the profile of autism especially as it manifests in adults. I was disturbed by the politicization of autism, of what frequently seemed a “hijacking” of autism to pursue personal or corporate gain. I felt then, and continue to feel that authentic autistic voices need to contribute and even lead the discussion.

At the time the blog went live, I was exploring digital media as an extension of my then-job. So you’d see posts about blogging, about social media and journalism ethics, as well as day-to-day operations in the newsroom.

But by this time, I was increasingly committed to transitioning to a library career. (The original subtitle for my blog emphasized my role as an “Information Professional,” which I felt bridged my work at that time with my transitioning career ambitions.)

I devoted several posts to the volunteering I did and to my studies in library science, as well as my stake in diversification of the library profession. (I argued that the field of library work needed greater representation among people with disabilities.)

Today I often highlight projects I’m doing as part of my work in a library.

A second blog, focusing upon alternatives to personal auto use, launched in mid-2014. In the future, I may split other interests into their own subject-specific blogs.

The self-reflection of this post was inspired by Ekatarina Boytsova at Gothenburg University in Sweden who is researching the practices of bloggers who are on the autism spectrum.

From a description by Boytsova, which I found on another blogger’s site: “It is not much written about narrative practices of people with autism especially in the dimension of Internet. That is why I find it important to convey a message to the scientific community about the necessity and advantages of computer-mediated interaction via blogs and social networks. I believe those who already benefit from it will stand for wider implementation of information and communication technology tools in an educational context as well.”

I am always interested in promoting improved understanding and knowledge about the condition of autism, and like I said above, I believe autistic voices need to be part of these discussions.

Boytsova can be reached at if other bloggers on the autism spectrum would like to fill out her survey. Your answers will be confidential, but your blog can be referred to and linked if you wish.

1 comment:

  1. Posted today: "The Autistic Gourmand," an exploration of food preferences and the sensory challenges I navigate when eating unfamiliar foods. Several writings originally posted here have been migrated or reprinted on this new subject-specific blog.


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