Blogging Your Personal History
Even blogs that aren't personal are personal. What do I mean by that?
Everyone who starts a blog does so because they have some personal passion that they want to talk to the world about. It may not be their everyday experience or past remembrances, but it's still their personal passion. A blog like Women & Hollywood: from a feminist perspective looks at news about movies and directors and actors and awards. It reports on the latest goings on in Hollywood, but does it in a particular way that reflects the personal interest of the blogger. So—it's personal even though it isn't a "personal blog."
What about the bloggers who start out with the sole intention to share their personal story, document their history? In the vast ocean of blogs, there are a multitude of blogs doing expressly that.
Personal bloggers are preserving memories, telling stories about themselves and their families, sharing traditions, recipes, events. Writing history day by day. Not world history, not the history we see in the news: personal history. Real life written by ordinary people who share their past and present, struggles and joys—the story of life told by a multitude. That's what bloggers who write personal stories give us, and it's truly a gift.
Women rushed to the internet to tell their personal stories and they are doing it with gusto. BlogHer's Social Media Matters Study from April 2010 (PDF report at http://www.blogher.com/files/Social_Media_Matters_2010.pdf) showed that 68% of the women in the BlogHer community blog to "create a personal record." When you look at the number of women who are actively blogging about "parenting or pregnancy" the number changes to 76%.
There are so many examples, it seems a shame to just point you to a few, but that's exactly what I'm about to do.
The Grub Report is a record of Stephanie Lucianovic's journey through culinary school. The Elder Storytelling Place features a variety of elders who share stories about their lives and memories. Sylvia Morice's Blog regularly features recipes from her mother's kitchen that deal with family tradition and memory. Girls Gone Child, like many blogs, is recording the experience of motherhood and child rearing. Pamela Ribon calls Pamie.com her online diary, and she isn't afraid of the words "online diary." She means them. Shannon Des Rochas Rosa documents the journey she and her son have shared since his diagnosis with autism in 2003 on Squidalicious. Bill Howdle shares his thoughts and experiences about dealing with a doctor's diagnosis that he is dying in Dying Mans Daily Journal. At Mostly Anecdotal we get a series of brief anecdotes from a life.
Sometimes it isn't an entire blog, but a single post that speaks about what it means to tell your personal story to the world.
What Social Media Means When you Lose a Loved One is a thoughtful exploration of the loss of a parent and how social media can affect the experience.
Everyone's writing their story.
You may well be meeting someone at a time when they are waking up to what they need to edit.
Your compassion, listening, respect and human kindness with him/her may be the very thing that nudges them to make the edits they've yearned to.
In Blogging as memoir Julie Lemoe said,
I view blogging as a form of communal memoir grounded in the here and now.
Yvonne wrote in I Guess What I'm Trying to Say Is That I'm Tired of Feeling Intimidated to Write On My Own Blog that she has been blogging since 2002 and is intimidated by the advent of "mommy blogging" and "brand building" and "advertising revenue." She said,
And I just can't keep up. Because this blog isn't a business. My blog is personal.
I just want to keep writing about my life. About my kids. About my struggles with health and weight and body image. I just want to write.
There's a lot to write. There's a lot to be said. A lot was lost before the Internet—before blogs: a lot of history, a lot of knowledge, a lot of the struggle to live life everyday. But now you and I and thousands of others are doing our best to tell the stories and record the lives we live. For ourselves. And for others.
Are you blogging your personal history?