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Blogging Toronto

Toronto is probably better known around the world for its film festival. But as I've learned over the past few weeks since I arrived, the film festival is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cultural events in this city. It even has a hip Live With Culture campaign, and not just an oh-so-serious National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

The Word On The Street Toronto (WST) is an annual books and magazines festival. But unlike the Manila International Bookfair, WST is an outdoor event and it is specifically a festival for the reading public, not an industry affair.

Anyway, I didn't have time to go to all the booths, but I made it a point to go to "Blogging Toronto" because, in case you haven't noticed, I'm a blogger =) Also, one of the speakers was Filipino-Canadian Rannie Turingan, whom I've been wanting to meet.

Tim Shore, Sarah Hood, Rannie Turingan, Alexa Clark, Matt Blackett
The photo above shows, from left, panelists Tim Shore, Sarah Hood, Turingan, Alexa Clark, and moderator Matt Blackett. Below are some of the points I found interesting at the too-short session. I won't comment on them anymore because I still haven't finished what I need to do for tomorrow =(

In answer to the usual question about how blogging has changed their lives, Clark paid tribute to the community that has grown around her blog and even maintained it for her while she was gone for one and a half months; Turingan now gets recognized in the street, and says that about half of his friends now are those he met through his blog; Hood commented that the more she likes what she's writing about, the less money she gets for it, and expressed delight at the old ladies who rushed to tell her that Hairspray was filming in their neighborhood so she could blog about it; and Shore admitted that he spends so much time on the computer that he probably needs to go into a self-help program.

Then there was a question about how blogging changed their fields. Clark mentioned that people are now eating more cold food because bloggers are taking photos of their meals before eating, and sharing their finds; Turingan observed that blogging has made it easier for people to share their photos taken with their digital cameras, and Blackett added that he now looks for photos to publish through Flickr; Hood noted that people are now more self-conscious about what they do while they're doing it because they're thinking about blogging about it; and Shore talked about how he built up his network of blogs on arts and culture by hiring bloggers—whom he still hasn't met after many months—via Craigslist.

But the most interesting—not to mention scary—thing I learned is that Toronto winters are colder than those in Siberia. Olga Goubar, whom I chatted with while waiting for the panel to start, emigrated from Siberia five years ago. Quite a few people's stories have made me wonder about just how cold winter gets in this city, but Goubar's casual comparison of the weather in Toronto and Siberia was the most chilling.

Category: Blogging

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