08 February 2005

Blog hopping as therapy

Hit the ‘next blog’ button for 15 minutes and you find the world is full of people ranting about: Knitting, Flower arranging, Church, Politics, College diaries and Shopping trips. Look closer and yes, there are comments littered across these postings from avid readers.

Just occasionally a real gem turns up. An author writes about coping with their daily trials and tribulations and omits the mundane. These frank accounts are fascinating, even inspirational.

A middle-aged housewife discloses she is terminally ill. A divorced mum sprinkles her site with proud photographs of her offspring amid well-penned tales of heroic struggles with single life. A bored office worker recounts a tale of erotic adventures.

The Blogger is compelled to share intimate emotions with a readership that will remain largely anonymous. Life changing events and decisions are described and analysed at length, giving the casual reader a candid account. But for every concerned soul who posts a supportive comment there must be a thousand who lurk, read and move on.

Maybe Bloggers write for personal consolation, yet unselfishly they provide therapy to their readers. “Look into my soul. This is how bad things are for me. I can't even tell my best friend this.” The comfort of telling your secrets to a host of strangers who you will never ever meet is matched by the reader’s relief that there are others out there who feel just like you.

Imagine posting a list of ‘100 Things About Me’ on your works notice board. The reactions are likely to be extreme. Yet you will read the same revealing list on any blog you hit at random. I guess you feel invincible writing for an audience who has never met you. How about these people who get twenty comments a day on their writing. They have been elevated to the dubious status of lifestyle gurus with their witty observations and endless lists of hilarious weblinks.

I have seen sidebars that include a ’’List of Bloggers I have met.” Reading a wry column for two minutes a day is one thing but would you actually want to meet that girl or guy with the artistic layout and the clever buttons? Surely the illusion would be shattered. The sophisticated, successful author only uses adjectives when the right noun doesn’t exist. But what if they were stuck for a well-turned phrase and revealed themselves to be just like you and me after all.

4 comments:

beth said...

Thank you so much for the comments - both the comforting dental one and the one about my "Rear Window" post. I appreciate the feedback. The "Next Blog" button delights me when I am actually able to snag a reader.

Did he murder his wife in the end? It's been ages.

Perfect Virgo said...

As I remember we don't see her murdered but one day she just isn't on view any more and James Stewart puts two and two together. It is a little dated by today's standards but good suspense. Hope the dentist was kind to you - I'm no good with them either, I squirm like an eel!

Jane said...

Ooh, now this is a juicy post. You have now joined the ranks of those people who have been elevated to the dubious status of lifestyle gurus with their witty observations and endless lists of hilarious weblinks (what would JJ say to this?). It's not uncommon for you to hit 20, even 35 or more comments on your posts!

"Would you actually want to meet that girl or guy with the artistic layout and the clever buttons? Surely the illusion would be shattered." Well, what can I say to this? At least I don't have the artistic layout with the clever buttons!!!

Perfect Virgo said...

... or 26 or 48 comments! Swap the adjectives around to "artistic buttons and a clever layout" to reveal why meeting is no longer merely optional.