First Glance: Blogs and Tweets

I don’t blog or tweet, am not LinkedIn and don’t have any space on Myspace. My cellphone is not smart. I did join Facebook, but in signing up I failed to complete the process, and as a result about the only information on my profile page is that I am a male born in 1936. No wonder I have hardly any Facebook friends.

When I clicked on my Facebook page recently, it showed me a picture of my old friend Bill Bell and invited me to add his name to my friends list, and I certainly would if Bill hadn’t already died. Bill will remain on Facebook for eternity, I suppose, and I hope he knows I would accept him as a Facebook friend if only he had some way to respond.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t disdain Facebook and other social media. In fact I can see their advantages, but I just haven’t found the time or interest to get involved.  I am slow to adopt new technology these days, and old-fashioned enough to prefer words that are printed rather than flashed on a screen.

But while I don’t post blog entries or send out tweets, I do appreciate those who do. I recently saw a documentary film, Page One: Inside the New York Times, which focuses on the struggles of the Times and other old-line publications to survive in a digital world. After the screening, a young Times reporter, Brian Stelter, who got his start in journalism as a blogger, came on stage to explain how Twitter helps him in his reporting. As he gathers information, he puts out tweets and gets feedback that may add to his story.

It just shows how much things have changed since I was in the newspaper business 18 years ago. The big advances as I was exiting the reporting field were cellphones that finally saved us from scrambling to find a pay phone, and laptop computers that allowed us to write and file a story away from the office. The Internet was just beginning to emerge and our version of e-mail was strictly inter-office. Now we have Facebook, Twitter and all sorts of other resources to help—and also no doubt distract—a reporter.

As I say, I don’t blog, but fortunately at RV Life we have others who do. The purpose of this column is not to expose my deficiencies, but to point out that if you go to rvlife.com, you’ll find interesting material that is not in our print edition. We actually have people who love to blog.

The latest addition to our roster of bloggers is Rick Stedman, who writes our “RV Golfer” column.

A member of the Golf Writers Association of America, Rick is well connected in the golf world. More golf information comes his way than he can share in a monthly column so he is now posting a new blog each week at rvlife.com.

Writing the blog “is a lot of fun,” Rick says. “It a great way to do stuff I can’t do in my column.”

The nice thing about blogs is their informality. No one expects polished prose. The writer is free to express random thoughts and wander off in various directions like I have done in this column.

One of Rick’s recent posts ties together golf in Branson, Missouri, his mother’s potpie, and how he created fashionable Thursdays in high school by dressing like singer Andy Williams. You’ll have to go to his blog to find out how this fits together.

Rick’s advantage as a blogger is that he is out in the world doing interesting things. He served in the Army, spent time in Africa as a member of the Peace Corps, and worked for a year in Saudi Arabia as a tech writer and editor. He edited RV Golfer magazine before it folded in 2005, and has been writing his column for RV Life ever since.

Rick travels on golf excursions from eight to 10 times a year and has a trip lined up to play a series of courses in New Zealand in November.  He has no shortage of interesting experiences to write about for both his column and his blog.
Rick’s blog, “The Nineteenth Hole,” is just one of nine blogs at rvlife.com. Here are some others:

• “Great Escapes” by Denise Seith. Here you will find wonderful photos and useful descriptions of places to explore in an RV. Recent posts have covered Bodie State Historic Park in California, the Dee Wright Observatory near Sisters, Oregon, and San Juan Island in Washington.

• “RV Travel Tales” by Arline Chandler.  Arline’s experiences traveling the country in an RV provide great material for her blog. In her warm and friendly style, Arline writes about her trips, the interesting people she has met, and how to combine work with RVing.

• “Adventures in RVing” by Dave Helgeson. When he is not organizing and promoting RV shows, Dave is often RVing in out-of-the-way places. If you are into boondocking, you’ll want to see what Dave has posted recently on remote California locations such as Dale Dry Lake, Trona Pinnacles and the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine.

These are just some of the blogs you can enjoy at rvlife.com. You’ll also find helpful ideas on interior remodeling of RVs, answers to questions about RV chassis, and “The Silver Gypsy,” columnist Sharlene Minshall’s always entertaining ruminations on RVing and the fascinating places she has been. If you want to know more, you’ll just have to go to rvlife.com and check out the blogs.

Write to Mike Ward, editor at RV Life magazine, 18717 76th Avenue West, Suite B, Lynnwood, WA 98037 or e-mail editor@rvlife.com.  Find First Glance online at rvlife.com.

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