“Whether it’s world hunger, marketing problems, or marital issues, blogging is the solution”, a faithful blogger expresses. But what exactly is blogging, how many of us have decided to try it out, how successful is it and why are so many companies investing their money on providing this service?
Before we begin, we must understand what the word “blog” means, so that we are one step closer to understanding why Internet companies have termed it “blog” and not a simple term like “online journal” or “online diary” that more people will understand and immediately identify with.
Our faithful dictionary, Webster, describes a blog as:
An online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog, Web log.
Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.
Shortened form of Weblog.
Blog, blogged, blogging v, blogger n
So from this explanation we learn that it was originally called a Weblog and now fashionably termed in its acronym form, “blog.”
So what do people exactly do on a blog?
Those familiar with Freud and his theories will acknowledge the fact that he discovered the “talking cure.” Through the talking cure, patients would embark on a journey of self-discovery while a trained therapist patiently listened and analysed the session. The talking cure, according to Freud, allowed patients to release and identify their subconcious thoughts and desires, and therefore “dig” and discover repressed material. Not only do psychoanalytical therapists use this technique till today, those who cannot afford the expenses or time of such treatments can simply use the listening ear of a good friend, since society uses the well-known phrase, which reflects their belief in it, “a problem shared is a problem halved.”
But what if you don’t have a “good” friend to confide in? What if you cannot find a listening ear in a world that is increasingly self-obsessed? What if you cannot trust people with your thoughts and feelings and therefore repress them deeper into your subconcious? Surely this will do you more harm than good in the long run. We are complex beings and will suffer the consequences of suppressing everything into the abyss of our souls.
So what could a person in this situation do? It seems obvious that blogging is the perfect solution for the computer and Internet 21st century generation. Blogging is almost like owning a diary, but in this ever increasing technological-Internet world, an online one seems more attractive and convinent, and the user won’t have to worry about misplacing or losing it.
Blogging comes in many different shapes and sizes, depending on what company you decide to sign up with. It offers you free membership, choice of your own template, layout and other interesting features depending on which company you sign up with. Once you are done, you have your very own personal website/online diary/blog. It is all fairly easy to use and there are many help features if in difficulty. From there, the posting is left to you, leaving you to think of the words to write.
Browsing through the blogging community and the statistics (apparently, according to padawn.info, there are 7 million bloggers out there on the Internet), I realised that there is indeed a “blog craze.” Just recently the Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair, decided to have a blog to “connect” with his people, presumably attempting to portray to the public that he is just an ordinary man and tactfully gain votes from these sympatheisers. Other various politians have also decided to follow suit and signed up to have a personal blog for themselves.
Not only politians are using this medium to express their opinions to the general Internet audience; a numerous amount of U.S. soldiers in Iraq have their own blogs and discuss their daily activities in the Middle East. Then there are the non-political civilians, people with marital problems, school problems, parent problems, weight problems: through scanning these blogs there increasingly seems to be a huge noise coming from the Internet (and not just the noise that dial-up users hear when connecting to the Internet) from the ever increasing blogging community who express their worries, joys, problems, solutions, etc.
It is true that there are companies who use these blogs to advertise their products, but it is obvious that the majority of people are using a blog the way it is meant to be used, as the dictionary so kindly put it.
One thing that must be agreed on, in each blog the word “I” is used more than any other word; reflecting the nature of these blogs: ordinary human beings, be it politicians or at the other end of the spectrum sharing their souls and indeed searching for their souls.
It is interesting that out of the hundreds of blogs I scanned over the past few months, two out of three bloggers (person who has a blog) wrote their first entry describing why they decided to use a blog. One may assume the notion that these individuals subconciously believe that there needs to be a self-justification to resorting to the “talking cure.” Perhaps only those who resorted to the talking cure back in the 1960s were classified as “crazy” and taken to seek pyschiatric help in a mental instution as many documents, books and films have illustrated. Perhaps society has conditioned people from a young age to believe that sharing our deepest thoughts, no matter how disturbing or intriguing to others, is something negative and should be ignored or marginalised.
Whatever the case, there is a definite break through in the way people communicate with each other, with more people needing to express themselves, to purge their thoughts and experiences on to the white screen, and to have access to a distant facecless online community that can do them no harm. People do feel safer behind a screen, talking about their problems without revealing their entire identity, as opposed to sharing their problems to a mass of people who know who they are are and will ultimately judge them.
Some may argue that if strangers on the internet judged, at least they won’t be judging “you” so much since they do not know you in reality, but they can claim to judge your words, words which can be misunderstood according to the reader’s mentality. I believe it is this comfortable distance between users on the Internet that also has made the blogging experience successful thus far.
It is apparent that the blogging community has grown (last year there was only 4.7 million according to padawan.info, currently there are 7 million) since the world heads more into chaos and uncertainty. Clearly people just want to make sense of everything around them and put things into perspective in the best way they can through Freud’s talking (in this case writing) cure. Bloggers can also find other bloggers who share the same views and experiences.
But what if I don’t want to share my life story with strangers on the Internet?
What is convinent is that if a user does not wish to share their blog with strangers, some blogging companies have given users privacy preferences in order to decide who can view their blog. Furthermore, a person can share their life story annoymously without revealing their personal information, that way no one would be able to identify them.
To summarise, advantages to having a blog is that you can express yourself, you can hide your real identity so that it makes your blogging an even more enjoyable experience if you don’t want people to know who you are and therefore makes you express yourself more freely without worrying about people judging you. You can get readers in, commenting on what you have written, thereby getting objective thoughts, constructive criticisms and perhaps advice, support and encouragement.
You can gain online friends through this experience and meet people with the same thoughts and lifestyle. Friends and relatives who live far away can keep in touch with each other’s latest news, and so on. Since some bloggers are busy, you have the freedom to post whenever you can; it can be every six days or every six months, your blog will always faithfully wait for you (some companies may require you to log in every 30 days, read terms and conditions before signing up). The list goes on, which is why blogging has become successful and is apparently spreading like wild fire. It isn’t suprising to see that more Internet companies are investing their money in providing this service, since they obviously see a potential market.
So for those readers who have not yet got themselves a blog, what are you waiting for? The blogging world awaits you, so just blog it!