November 30, 2009
By Guest Blogger
This Meatless Monday we’re happy to introduce vegan blogger, Laura Beck. She’s here to share her love of blogging and the enormous amount of vegan knowledge and community at your fingertips!
I don’t want to sound totally nuts but seriously, blogging has changed the world. Blogs are our newspapers, our travel guides, and sometimes our best friends. (I’m not speaking about myself with the best friend thing, of course, I totally have two best friends. Only one is a dog.) But blogging has changed our relationships and given us a better chance of interacting with like-minded people. This is a really good thing for vegans. Before, you might have been adrift in a sea of “Go Vegan” pamphlets without a friend to turn to (or a friend who wasn’t all, “OMG. Where are you going to get your protein? You’re going to die!” Thanks, friend.) and that’s where blogs come in. Any vegan with access to a computer can find a community. Having a safe, non-judgmental space in which to talk about being or becoming vegan, if only on the internet, is important.
When I first became vegan, there weren’t really any San Francisco vegan blogs. Lacking the upstart to create my own at the time, I started writing reviews on Yelp. On Yelp, I wrote about vegan restaurants, meat-mouth restaurants that catered to vegans, and sometimes, restaurants that were straight jerks to vegans. Pretty soon, I was getting emails from vegans all over the San Francisco Bay Area, thanking me for my reviews and asking my opinions on other places. After that, I was the most popular person ON THE INTERNET. I kid, but I was the most popular person on Yelp, in terms of page views and “fans” (people who follow your reviews). Yelp even contacted me because they couldn’t believe that the person with the most fans was a loud-mouthed vegan lady. I knew I had to take this show on the road and start my own San Francisco vegan blog.
Running a vegan blog is ridiculous amounts of fun. I highly recommend it. You can write about whatever strikes your fancy, and there are people out there who will relate to you. And another cool thing? You quickly find that there are vegans in all corners of the world! Traveling to Texas? Check out Walking the Vegan Line. Want to read about delicious food being consumed daily? Read Cafe VegNews. Want to get information about the latest vegan news? Look no further than Vegan.com. Combine these blogs with message boards on VegWeb and the PPK, and you’ll be learning about new places to eat, destinations to travel to, and foods to cook, all day long. Put all that together and you have the world’s best guide. Forget you, Lonely Planet. There’s a truly mind-boggling amount of information in the blogosphere. You begin to develop your own tastes. Who do you think is funny? Who’s got the best recipes? Who’s totally insane?
Now is one of the most exciting times to be(come) vegan, even if you live in the middle of nowhere. Because there are other vegans who live in the middle of nowhere and together you forge a tribe of amazing vegans who can take over the world OR START A VEGAN BRUNCH GROUP! This is a great way to meet (in person! scary! but awesome!) other vegans in your area and try each others’ recipes. The power of social networking via the internet makes this possible. Congratulations, you’ve just learned to survive (and thrive!) where you live. It’s inspirational and exciting to learn there are other fat vegans, gay vegans, vegans recovering from cancer, vegans who hella love fashion: whatever you are, there are more of you. And there is definite power in numbers: it strengthens your faith, it helps you fortify your beliefs, and it makes it easier to say no to your grandma’s award-winning lasagna.
One of the other exciting things about vegan blogging is that it draws in those who are vegan-curious. They might be too shy or nervous to approach a vegan and ask them what it’s all about, but they can read a blog and learn about how awesome vegans are. (Because it’s true, we are awesome.) It’s a great form of outreach, and it’s something you can do curled up on the couch with your dog or cat next to you. In fact, it’s practically mandatory for a vegan blogger to have a rescued cat or dog so I suggest you get to the shelter fairly soon. More advanced bloggers might consider investing in a vegan cupcake tattoo but we’ll get to that next class.
So right now this very minute, go to Blogger, or WordPress, or Tumblr, and start a blog. DO IT. Especially if you live in Toronto, because I’m dying to go there and need to know how to eat the whole city empty.
Laura Beck blogs at Vegansaurus.