Monday, February 09, 2009


I got into a discussion with mum, dad and Thomas about blogging yesterday. Dad, Thomas and I of course are bloggers, mum is not. Mum asked why we bother. Dad's reply was that it was a bit like a diary, mum of course replied to that that you wouldn't publish your diary on the Internet so she didn't get it. At that point they left, so the discussion went no further.
Dad's comment that it was a diary however got me to thinking. For the most part, for me, it is the antithesis of a diary. There are whole areas people mull over in their private diaries (I suspect, given I have never been interested in keeping one!) that in my head are strictly off blogging limits:
  • One's employer. Someone might write in a personal diary about things troubling them at work, colleagues who've upset them, colleagues they fancied, or had affairs with.
  • Intimate family matters. They might write their worries about loved ones, or frustrations about them, the things they did that made them sad, happy or whatever.
  • Ex-husbands and marital break-ups are not blog material. I may skim the surface of that. I might moan about the financial aspects of divorce but I have thousands of emails from my ex that will never be discussed in public. When my marriage was in trouble, you'd have found it in a private diary, had I had one, but not on my blog...
  • Sex. I guess people might write about their sex lives in private diaries. You don't see me going through the x, y and z of my sex life on here either.
  • etc
So why do people blog?

  • It's nice to have a good rant once in a while to de-stress, especially if you spend 12 hours alone or with children most days.
  • Thinking through your views on a given subject is easier if you set them out and re-read them. Again if you are stuck home alone all day, it helps to keep your mind working and rather than ignoring my other half by blogging, we end up reading each other's posts and using that as the lively starting point for a political, linguistic etc discussion that go on into the wee small hours. Ok so we're nerds, big deal!
  • It's fun to point out something happening economically or politically a couple of days before real journalists, and smugly feel - I told you so...
  • It helps language-wise. I read others' blogs on a daily basis as I read newspapers. I read them in Danish (and other languages). This keeps my brain working, it helps my Danish, etc. So you learn a language without taking a class.
  • I write anecdotes about my kids. Looking back on them makes me laugh. If they amuse others too, all the better, if they don't, no one is forcing them to read them.
  • I can check important (to me) facts - say how long Léon's chicken pox lasted, when my kids learned to walk or whatever just by searching my blog - it's a handy resource, kept all in the one place.
  • I stay in touch with old friends and foreign family. I have a house with 8 main rooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen, hall etc to keep functional, I have 6 people to wash, iron and cook for, 3 sets of school runs, shopping, a freelance career, 2 sets of homework a night and 2 toddlers to teach French, reading etc to. Funnily enough that doesn't leave me time to ring all my old friends and let them know what I am up to on a weekly (monthly) basis. By noting down little snippets of my thoughts and deeds, they can choose to stay in touch with my life and when we do chat, we feel we've been in touch more often.
  • Some people are frustrated writers, journalists, photographers - we can't all be lucky enough to get the job we want, so we can pretend to ourselves we matter this way.
  • If you drop dead, run over by a truck, a blog might let your kids know who you were, what you thought etc
  • You get to know new people. I read and talk to other photographers I admire, other bloggers who mention topics that interest me. When you are overwhelmed by too many tasks in too few hours, having someone you can talk to through your blog for a few minutes can keep you sane.
  • By ranting about things that are wrong with society, you reach more people than by writing to an MP who can sends you a standard 'don't bother me' letter.
  • You can draw your friends' attention to things that may interest them.
  • You can ask friends' advice - eg my search for a memorable, low-budget wedding.
  • And why not blog? Is it any worse to blog 30 minutes a day than do a crossword, knit a jumper, watch Eastenders, walk the dog or any of the other things that give you pleasure?
And after all, if I average 8000 hits a year, someone must be interested...


The Scudder said...

That was a long one ! ( No, I'm not discussing my sex life on my Blog either !! )
You'll rermember I said it's a BIT LIKE a Diary ,,, not that I considered it My actual Diary ! But neither would I say that it's the exact opposite ,,, It's just that not ALL my life is in my Blog
You were right of course ,,, there are some things that simply don't get discussed in an Open Blog ,,, ( however I don't have the employer hang up problem ,,
I've already told the wee CEO shite that he can rot in hell !
( and not only in my Blog ! )
However that aside ,..,,.
Why indeed do we Bloggers Blog ??
It's a strange cult really isn't it ?
Like you ( or should that perhaps be you, like me ? ) enjoy a good RANT ,,, frequently ! So blogging lets off steam & helps keep us sane ?
I have always been a frustrated writer ,,,
I wanted to be a Newspaper reporter when I was younger but somehow fell into an Engineering life ,,, To this day I don't know how that happened ??
Then I found Cassandra and later Tom Shields ,,, This is what I want to do I told myself. ,.,.
So I started writing ,, with pen & paper for a while ,,, but oh what a boon my computer was to become.
It's fun writing ,, anecdotes about the kids ,, & about everyone else in my life too ,,gives me lots of pleasure, and hopefully them too later.
And like you I keep in touch with friends & family here & abroad ,,,and meet new folks too ,,
My one sadness about both my Blog and my Flickr life is that somehow I never get a reaction .,., no one seems to look at my pics or reads my blog ,, But no matter ,, I will go on ,,regardless ,,,
8000 hits ? I must check how many I get !!

Phyl said...

Not commenting doesn't mean not reading or looking. Eg Carol has never commented on my photos or blog but yesterday she walks in and the first things she says is - that is so true about contractual bonuses, that needs sorting...

Julie Kennedy said...