Friday, May 8, 2009

Why do people blog?

Blogs are huge these days, and not just in India. It’s actually a rarity today to find a person, who is net savvy, regularly online, well versed with the information superhighway, but does not blog. The question is what s the charm? Why this huge epidemic of blogging?

What is a blog anyway? Well, the word itself is a shortening of “web log”. This is a concept kind of like the personal blog, or the journal, a diary of sorts that one keeps to record their most intimate secrets and their deepest darkest thoughts. Of course, that just begs the question of why anyone would want to publish their deepest darkest thoughts and secrets on the World Wide Web for all to see. After all, the very basic principle of the personal journal or diary is that it is …Personal.

That’s the reason why diaries come with locks, and journals are hidden, even written in code sometimes! What you cannot share with anyone else, but don’t want to keep bottled up inside, is what goes into the log. This is the mundane, the horrific, the nightmarish, the blah, realties of your day to day life. From the head cold you had last week, to the major tragedy you are dealing with, your personal diary is where you store things that are either too boring or too horrible to pour into anyone else’s ears.

So what has changed with the advent of the internet? What makes anyone think that the world is interested in how many times a day they sneeze, or how much of what they ate today? And what on earth would make you put your deepest secrets, darkest desires, and worst tragedies, “out there” for anyone and everyone to see? There seem to be two distinct sides to the whole thing. First of all, there’s the basic human impulse that looks for validation. Everyone likes to think that the most mundane, uninteresting, boring details of their life are as interesting, gripping, and fascinating to others as a John Grisham novel.

So you write blogs about every teensie weensie little thing, and the miracle of the internet is such that there are actually people out there who will read it! And when these readers, who probably also blog about the boring details of Their lives, leave comments on your blog, it doesn’t only massage your ego and make you feel interesting, but also set up a kind of “mutual admiration society” of bloggers, which perpetuates the whole cycle, making everyone feel good in the process.

The other impulse is the impulse to unburden. Telling someone you know about something horrible isn’t always easy. That’s why counselors and shrinks were invented, because it’s easier to talk to a stranger about some things. If what you need to talk about is horrible, traumatic, or personal enough, even a shrink or a counselor might be too much. After all, you have to face them, see them, look at them before, while or after you talk. And that’s where the internet Really scores. After all, everyone is just a name…or a nick. Total anonymity. You nevr have to reveal who you are or know who your readers are, to unburden. You get the full benefit of the catharsis of telling someone, without any of the associated “knowing and facing” issues. That’s probably why blogs are so popular with so many millions of people worldwide!

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