Cindy Mosqueda pens Loteria Chicana, a blog shy of its tenth anniversary I thought it was a great opportunity to spotlight this veteran blogger and hopefully capture some wisdom that others new to blogging can put to good use. Cindy documents her thoughts on identity, school, politics and family, often including posts with thoughtful entries and colorful photos of friends and family.
Another reason we wanted to feature her on our site is because Cindy also recently interviewed her father and grandfather for Story Corps and has given us permission to re-post her interviews–check them out after our Q&A–we hope they inspire you to schedule a date to do an interview with a friend or relative while the StoryCorps mobile booth is in Chicago.
Blogging as: Cindylu @ Loteria Chicana
Occupation: graduate student, researcher, program coordinator
Home town: Hacienda Heights, suburbs of LA
Your blog is a year shy of its 10th anniversary, any special plans to commemorate?
I hadn’t thought of it, but I’ll definitely have to do something. I’ll be 31 by November 2011 too, so that’ll give me even more reason to celebrate.
You are a very public blogger, you share extensively through writing and in photos about family, love and work– any rules or guidelines you follow or have learned to keep?
I started out with a very small audience – if any at all – and didn’t think too much about what to share or not to share aside from the simple understanding that it could be read by anyone. Since then, my audience has grown and I relented to my initial rule of never including my first and last name anywhere on the blog. My general guideline is not to publish something I would not like my boss or parents to read. I don’t mind censoring myself as I still find an outlet to share some of the more personal writings. I’d rather censor myself than upset people with things I’ve written or find myself embarrassed by what a future employer could find. Blogs are a very public forum and some topics might be better discussed one-on-one.
As for relationships, I’ve asked past boyfriends if I can write about them and even let them choose their pseudonyms.
What are some lessons that you know now that you wish you knew when you started blogging, that you think new bloggers out there should keep in mind?
This is tough since blogging itself has changed so much from when I first started. Overall, I’ve had a positive experience blogging, probably why I’ve kept at it so long. Still, for new bloggers I’d encourage you to engage with other bloggers in conversation (email, comments). I would also make sure to always give credit to others for ideas or even if you quote them. I’ve received negative feedback and mean-spirited comments. It was tough not to take those personally and let it go, but you have to realize that the trolls and mean folks come out in droves on the internet.
For a blogging Latina, how has the blogging landscape changed for you since you first started your blog?
When I first started blogging, I found very few Latino bloggers. I gravitated toward the ones I did find as I related most to them and their experiences. Since 2004, I’ve seen many Latino blogs pop up in LA and around the country. Some of these bloggers became close friends, some stopped blogging and some only blog infrequently. I think that just mirrors blogging in general. Lots of people start something only to lose interest or be distracted by life later.
Blogging has also become a lot more user friendly. It’s easy and free to run a blog, host pictures and other media like podcasts and video.
Have you observed any change with the online Latin@ community of bloggers evolved?
Definitely. There’s a growth in numbers, there are organized groups trying to get Latino bloggers together in other forms of social media. Latinos are blogging about various topics from politics to gossip. When I first started feeling a sense of community with other bloggers, it was much smaller and tight knit. Another blogger called it Blogotitlán, a term I really liked. We all read each others’ blogs and even talked about getting together for a meeting (I let the ball drop on that one). Even though we aren’t all Latinos, we still had a lot in common.
It’d be impossible to follow all Latino blogs now. In fact, some of my favorite bloggers stopped blogging (the Daily Texican, El Más Chingón) or slowed down significantly to the rare post every month or so. I think the growth of other social networks probably impacted this, but I think folks just get tired and distracted with life in general. That’s okay with me, since some of these bloggers still keep in touch.
I know there’s a lot of bloggers out there scoring book deals, do you know of any Latin@ bloggers getting in on the action. In your opinion, why or why not?
I know of one or two. Daniel Hernandez, a reporter with the LA Times, is the first who comes to mind. I’m not sure if he had the book deal before he left Los Angeles for Mexico City or if his blog reports and dispatches from el DF led to his book deal. It seems like the gimmicky blogs (e.g., Stuff White People Like or This is Why You’re Fat) are the ones that get book deals while more personal ones are just seen as navel gazing. The gimmicky ones attract lots of attention, have high reader/views and are mentioned in mainstream newsmedia stories. I don’t know of Latin@ bloggers getting that kind of attention for a publisher to be interested in selling our stories.
With that said, is there a book deal in your future?
Um, if there is, no one has told me about it.
What are the top three blogs you follow?
I recall a reader from Australia introducing herself in your comments, please, this is the place to brag about your readership. Indulge me…
I love my regular readers and even those who email occasionally just to say they like my blog or appreciate my stories. I just got an email from someone who simply said, “Just stumbled across your blog… it’s my new favorite.” I’ve been recognized on the street, quoted in a book and magazine, asked to contribute to a NY Times blog, asked to contribute to various other group blogs and even been called the Madrina of blogs by blogueros in LA.
Overall, my readers, especially those who make time for me when I drop in to their cities, are awesome. I’m lucky school/work means I get to travel and meet some great people.
Any final thoughts?
Can Proyecto Latina readers offer up topics or questions to address in future posts? Even I run out of things to talk about…