I have to wonder is it voyeurism, inquisitive or some sort of comfort or solace, a relief from what some people may believe to be tedious or boring lives? What am I talking about? Blogging about your personal life; your ups and downs by written exhibitionism.
It’s not something that I’ve done recently but for those that have read my first real blog, you will know that I have put personal thoughts and experiences onto the internet for all and sundry to read. It’s something that I soon stopped when I realised what I was doing bearing in mind that at the time I had just been put onto morphine to help ease the pain I was in. It’s a lame excuse but I’m sticking to it.
So, with that in mind, I started a new blog, free from all personal or sentimental niff-naff and trivia. My aim was to use my previous analytical skills and apply them to current news stories, giving them a different (and dare I say, professional) insight. At times I added the odd bit of humour just to lighten things up or when I was bored of being serious, but I can’t be faulted for that mainly because it’s my website and I can do what I want. However, doing what I want doesn’t pull in the readers and make me a rich man.
I recently discovered that some women were making huge amounts of money by writing weekly blogs about themselves. I’m assuming that they must be interesting in some ways in order to gather the number of readers they have. As a result of being popular they get offered advertising contracts that, in some cases, pay out six figure sums! Once I had recovered from the shock, I started thinking about it and it did make a little sense.
Like 1.28 billion other people in the world, I have a Facebook account. I don’t really do much with it apart from message the odd friend and read some recent posts. In fact, I haven’t logged into Facebook for quite a while now. However, several months ago I posted something personal about myself. That one post received more comments and messages than all my previous posts combined. It could be that my other posts were so boring that nobody cared but my ego would never admit to that. I digress. With what I had heard about these personal blogs and my own experience in revealing something very personal I began to wonder about what I had been doing on my site.
Taking a step back and looking at it objectively, no matter how good my articles are, at the end of the day they are just another version of the news. If like me you make a habit of watching, listening or reading about current affairs in the world, you know that none of the news is particularly exciting or even relevant to the average person. The only people who are really interested in current affairs are those that have a vested interest in keeping up with current affairs. The average man or woman on our safe (ish) streets don’t giving a flying damn about what is happening several thousand miles away because they don’t see how it can affect them.
I’m not going to go on about cause and effect and how incidents in other countries can affect their lives because that isn’t the point of this post. The fact that it can and does is something I’ll just have to suppress for once.
The news is boring.
If I had a penny for every time I heard that I would have at least 15 pennies by now!
Joking aside, the news is rarely about something good just all the bad things that are happening in the world. In this day and age, people have their own problems to worry about without having to listen to more depressing news. So if the problems of those several thousand miles away don’t interest them, why does the news of a common person draw in the crowds?
Probably because the problems and issues of the ‘common person’ has more in common with everyone else and they can relate to that. In addition, reading about someone else’s life/problems may offer some respite from their own life/problems. It could offer insight, inspiration, empathy and a whole variety of other emotions. All because someone wrote about what a crap day they had. It’s amazing.
It’s life. Not clinical and objective as the news but subjective and personal as the person who is writing it. It encapsulates their feelings, their hopes and their emotions and those that read it can relate and empathise with these things. They can’t understand how the division of Iraq can lead to serious problems in years to come but they can understand how someone feels when they are having a bad week.
Although I have a couple hundred subscribers to my blog, from around the world, my sort of blogging isn’t personal enough for the majority of readers. Who wants to read about world affairs when there are millions of other sites that offer the same content and probably in a better format. I have concluded that people want to read about people. They want subjective and personal accounts rather than the dried old news that I wrote about. Are they wrong to want to read about real people with the same problems and lives that they have?
Is it voyeurism? Yes, in a way but a consented way. Is it being inquisitive? Yes, of course it is. They want to know and relate to the people who have the same lives as themselves. Is it relief from tedium? In a way, yes. It’s escapism of a sort because for a few moments a day the reader can escape from their own lives and read about the issues in somebody else’s life.
People may believe that the internet offers some kind of anonymity and that writing about what goes on in their lives not only offers a release valve but the thought that whoever is reading their article won’t know them from Adam. In a convoluted way that’s true but unfortunately not completely true. At a time where identity thieves roam freely, personal blogging can bring it’s own dangers. Too much personal information can be used against them, too little and people aren’t interested. It’s a fine line to be able to secure yourself from one and garner a following from the other. It’s a skill that is possibly the result of trial and error but I cannot help but feel that too much personal information, if it is current, is dangerous. It’s probably my paranoid mind at work and anyone else who has been in my profession would probably think the same.
It’s that same paranoia that stops me from writing a personal blog and getting millions of readers and millions in cash. Would I prefer to remain as anonymous as possible or would I prefer to be rich? Safety versus luxury and expensive cars? It’s tempting but can someone who is admittedly paranoid relinquish their hold over their own security in order to have more money? They say money can’t buy you happiness so perhaps security is the better option. Is it?
Nah, sod the security, I’d rather be loaded and have an over indulgent lifestyle. Who cares who knows!