You may think you live in a town surrounded by neighbors who virutually always have something to say, and you may be right. Larchmont and Mamaroneck are home to more bloggers than you ever imagined.
So what is a blog, you may ask. Online diaries of thoughts, inspirations, observations, ideas and timely advice, blogs (short for Web logs) are usually written to engage, presented in reverse chronological order and linked to the world via a trusty RSS feed.
And why in our busy world does one take the time to publish such musings? Well, some blog to create, others to teach. Some want to stay in touch with friends, while others enjoy starting a conversation among strangers. Some do it for fun, others get paid millions to do it.
The one thing that all bloggers will agree upon is that, in order to succeed as a blogger, a passion to "post" must exist.
For Larchmont local Clay Gordon, that passion is blogging about chocolate. Long before any of us ever uttered the phrase "just Google it," Gordon was establishing his presence on the Web.
"When I launched my blog Chocophile.com in the Spring of 2001, I was the only professional chocolate blog around," Gordon said. "Blogging gave me a platform to express my opinions, hone my reputation as an expert in my field and provided a place for clients and fellow chocolate experts to find me."
Among those who found Gordon's blog were the producers of the Oprah Winfrey Show, who invited Gordon to be a guest on the show.
"The fact that they found me was key," said Gordon. "If it hadn't been for my blog, I don't believe I would have been asked to appear."
Publishing an anthology of stories first led local writers Caren Osten Gerszberg and Leah Epstein to start their blog Drinking Diaries in May 2009. Yet, what began as a way to build a platform for a book quickly turned into much more.
"We are both passionate about the subject matter, and the blog has been a labor of love in order to provide a forum for women who want to share stories about their relationship with alcohol." Gerszberg says. "The blog has put us in touch with so very many different women. From ballet dancers and rock stars to stay-at-home moms and best selling authors..."
Much like Gordon's blog, "The Drinking Diaries" has become a place for people everywhere to share their thoughts regarding a particular topic. Other blogs are written with a smaller community in mind.
When Lynda LaMonte began writing her blog LyndaLarch10538 back in 2006, she never expected her site about "everyday life in Larchmont" to have a readership far beyond her closes friends and family.
"After about a year into blogging I started getting comments from strangers," says LaMonte. And while most of LaMonte's experience as a local blogger has been positive, making many new friends and learning more about the town in which she grew up, she has seen a few challenging times as well.
"My blog is real time and unfiltered, fully interactive, the way blogs are meant to be. There have been some heated debates on my blog that have turned nasty and troublemakers who show up with an ax to grind," she said. "Balancing my strong belief in freedom of speech and the need for civility can be difficult."
LaMonte explained that personal attacks and expletives are not tolerated and those type of comments are removed from the blog. "During one particularly ugly time, I went dark for a week to send a strong message to my readers," she said. "Since that time, the tone has improved."
The diversity of topics written about on our area's blogs can keep you clicking away for days. Some examples are former magazine editor Colleen Mullaney's online portfolio of her favorite recipes, crafts ideas and stylish tips; local interior designer Leona Gaita's savvy design advice platform, which began as a way to promote her local business and has gained her a nationwide audience; and Louise Egan's blog The Language Lady, which does exactly as its tagline states: explores the "sheer pleasure of wondering about language and those who use it."
There's also Katherine Ann Samon, a book author living in a ranch home in Larchmont, who sees blogging as an easy outlet for her writing and photography. "For editors and clients, my blog is a useful additional look at who I am," she said.
And there's more! You'll also find blogs about being a cook, an artist, a mom, a composter, a councilman and a color lover (that last one is me, the author of this article).
While most agree that finding the time to blog is the biggest challenge, for Patch contributor Emily Grotta it was finding the right "voice" for Larchmont Musings, her blog on gardening, composting and all things Larchmont.
"I'd been working 50-60 hour weeks, with responsibilities that ran 24-7, for many years, so I never had the luxury of time to just sit and look out my window at the birds, watch the clouds roll across the sky, or note how the leaves are changing," she said. "Getting out of the rat race has been amazingly liberating -- and so I've used my blog as a means to let my friends, who worried how I'd fare being retired -- that I'm okay."