So what is the purpose of a blog? After all no one is really interested in reading the daily doings of anyone like me who is unknown. We are interested in the diaries of the famous because usually they are achievers and we want to know how and why they acted as they did.
Very often blogs are single-issue forms of writing. Many American blogs are about families, with photographs of their children and their progress. Others are dealing with dilemmas which people are going through. Sometimes it may seem that the writers, like twitterers, are only identifying with the on-line community which they put before their real friends, family and colleagues. In some cases when people twitter a hundred times a day this may be true.
However, in many cases people with illnesses or particular problems feel a certain sense of isolation even in loving home situations. There is a limit to how often you can air a particular issue. In cases of illness, often family members are acutely aware of how you are suffering and you do not want to add to their worries. At other times you feel only those people with the same illness really know what you are going through and it is comforting to receive specific encouragement and practical advice for example about dealing with the side effects of certain prescription drugs.
Some problems just can’t be aired in everyday conversation because they are too personal or to do so may seem self-obsessed. But the problem is still there and won’t go away. Do you just bottle up your worries and let the stress overwhelm you? Of course, being busy with interests, work etc. can take you mind off your own problems but they are apt to surface in the middle of the night.
Again it does seem strange to air very personal problems in the form of a blog – such a very public piece of writing. I started because I knew no one in my situation. Perhaps it is because the on-line community, however interested, is not a real entity like one’s friends and family. In many ways, ironically, it is a safe way of unburdening feelings and concerns. Writing for some of us is a form of solace but you do have to be prepared for the comments. Some are very supportive, others cringingly emotional and you do have to accept that many will just tell you to “get over it”. And that is the purpose of a blog – to get over it – but perhaps also just to build up a little more understanding out there along the way.