Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Daryl Sznyter

Daryl Sznyter is a poet from Northeastern Pennsylvania who recently released her debut collection of poems, Synonyms for (OTHER) Bodies. She also works as a content writer and SEO analyst. Her blog is part of her larger website, Daryl Sznyter: Poet (https://www.darylsznyter.com/.) 

Daryl Sznyter

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Lake Region Something

Here's a blog that we originally featured back in 2013. The intervening years have brought some changes...but as of July 2018, the Lake Region Something is back!



Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Joe Leonardi's Short Story Scribe

Dr. Joe Leonardi is, among other things, a writer of short stories. Short Story Scribe is his blog featuring both his short stories and his thoughts on writing.

Dear Reader,

I’m a storyteller, one who uses the written word to tell tales. I am not a professional essayist nor English professor. My grammar is not always perfect and my sentence structure not always correct. To me, what is most important, all that is important, is the story.

Short Story Scribe

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Reintroducing NEPA Blogs

When I created NEPA Blogs in January 2006, the world of blogging and social media was a very different place. MySpace was still a thing. Facebook was in its infancy. Twitter wouldn't emerge on the scene for another nine weeks. Instagram and Pinterest did not yet exist.

Blogging was the way people would express themselves on social media. It wasn't always easy. Blog design could be a pain. Uploading photos was clunky. But sites like Blogger and WordPress were working to make it easier for people to blog and have good-looking blogs without having to know how to write HTML code.

I created NEPA Blogs with a simple goal: to increase "linkability" to my own blog and other local blogs by creating a network of blogs linking to each other. I had seen this sort of thing done before. A friend in North Carolina who had been blogging for many years linked to other North Carolina bloggers. I came across a message about a "Snowball of Blogs" that encouraged bloggers to link to other participating bloggers in the "snowball", who would in return (in theory) link to them. The whole thing felt like a pyramid scheme, and I realized that participants could find themselves linking to blogs with nefarious subject matter.

NEPA Blogs would be different. It would be a central hub, a "clearinghouse" that would link to blogs with an organic connection: Northeastern Pennsylvania. All the linked blogs would be by people from Northeastern Pennsylvania - NEPA - whether they were current or former residents. It would also include blogs about NEPA, even if they were written by people outside the area - this was the era of "The Office," when Scranton emerged onto the national scene as the setting for the U.S. version of the popular British series. (Scranton was treated a bit more lovingly than Slough, the setting of the original.) And every linked blog would be invited to link back to NEPA Blogs. This would, in theory, create a network of many blogs from or about NEPA linking to NEPA Blogs, which in turn would link to these blogs and others that met the NEPA Blogs definition.

That was thirteen years ago.

Things have changed since then. MySpace faded into oblivion, and lingers as a specter of what it once was. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have emerged as dominant "microblogging" platforms. People can express many of the same things on these sites that they would on a blog, but with much less effort. Oh, these sites have their drawbacks, of course. Censorship, lack of control over content or design, predatory behaviors by the sites as personal information is harvested, repackaged, and sold. But the ease of use and wild popularity of these sites have meant that many bloggers have abandoned or neglected their blogs in favor of posting to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Many of the blogs we had started out featuring had gone dark, or had been cybersquatted, forcing us to de-link them. (There's still a lot of work to be done here.) Some bloggers soldiered on. Some new blogs emerged.

In 2011, NEPA Blogs began appearing in a weekly spot on WBRE's new "lifestyle" program, PA Live! Our first appearance almost didn't happen; the September 2011 flood threatened to overtop the dikes and once again inundate downtown Wilkes-Barre. (That didn't happen, though there was extensive damage throughout the area.) From then through August 2011, the NEPA Blogs Blog of the Week appeared as a regular segment every Tuesday at 4:30, with occasional misses due to the Bloomsburg Fair, the Olympics, or other major events. We lasted though numerous personnel changes over the years. But in August of 2018, the departure of the co-host was followed by a protracted search process for a replacement. Once a replacement had been found, more scheduling conflicts kept me from being able to arrange time in the studio to record our segments. (For a while the Blog of the Week had run live, but my work schedule has kept me from doing this for many years.) Once everything had settled down and I was ready to head back in, another bombshell: the host and producer of PA Live! would be leaving the station, handing over the reins to his new co-host. Scheduling would now have to go through her.

Which brings us to here. NEPA Blogs has been on hiatus since August 2018 for various reasons. The start of the new year seemed like as good a time as any to bring it back. If this is the first time you're hearing of NEPA Blogs, welcome. If you're a blogger in Northeastern Pennsylvania, originally from NEPA, or who blogs about NEPA, and you'd like to have your blog linked on NEPA Blogs and maybe featured as a Blog of the Week sometime, let us know.

And keep on blogging!