Each week we invite a different blogger to select their 10 favourite blog posts for our Friday Ten at Ten round-up. We also ask our guest blogger to submit a guest post, and tell us what’s on their mind.
This week our guest is Merry, from over at Patch of Puddles. Want to know the important stuff about Merry? Well, for that you’ll have to mosey on over to her blog. But I can tell you that she only has one toenail (I KNOW! I couldn’t imagine it either…). Want another totally-interesting fact? She’s a proper gen-yoo-wine cockney (love). Uh huh. Now don’t say we don’t know how to winkle a story out of someone.
Anyhoo. Merry’s a bit of an old hand at these interwebs – Patch of Puddles turns NINE this month. Yes, that’s nine YEARS blogging. In that time she’s learned a thing or two – and as she celebrates her Blog Birthday she’s been mulling on this whole blogging malarky…
This month my blog turns 9 years old. During that 9 years it has charted the story of home educating my children, the growth of my business, the births of several children and the death of one. I’ve written about everything from days out to depression, tried new crafts, sunk into the oblivion of being overworked and overwhelmed, sent a child to school, knitted, linked to silliness and muttered madly. Recently, with my children reaching an age where they want their life described in less minutiae on the web, it has been more about me and my thoughts and less their life. But whatever else it is, it is a very real account of this family through my eyes. I started it, having been a diarist as a teenager, so I could look back on bringing up my family and being a mother.
The internet was small when I began; PoP was read only by my friends. No one had heard of blogs and the idea was alien. Even owning an internet business, it seemed inconceivable that it would grow as it has and that ‘what’s your blog called?’ would become almost as natural as ‘what’s your mobile number? I used my children’s real names because it barely occurred to me not to. I designed it to please me, not because I wanted it to please gadgets or readers. I used it to connect with people and talk with people (before Twitter… imagine!) and it became my home on the Internet. If you come to my blog, you come to my house and you are welcome. I make my friends there and I branch out from there to find the places those people call home.
Recently there is much talk of blogging as a business, to make money, worrying about stats and advertising rates and the scourge of follow/nofollow links. Blogging has become about fitting a niche. I think it’s a sure fire way to kill the joy myself. I think blogland would be better if everyone sought to carve their own niche. I truly believe that when brands have moved on to the next PR buzz and the internet has shaken itself to its next incarnation, it will be the people who wrote blogs for personal reasons who’ll remain. And they’ll keep blogging regardless of free products, advertising opportunities or becoming celebrities in the ‘blogosphere’. The people who have a purpose that matters to them, who speak with their own voice and who tell a story – it will be those blogs which will be the internet content worth having – a recorded hive mind of experience. They’ll pull people into them, into the conversation and community with the voice that comes from longevity and truth and character.
There is one phrase, stemming from the early days of Big Brother, that comes back to me quite often when I see people worrying about Google doing this, or brands offering or asking that and it’s this one: “It’s only a game show”. It’s exactly that. Blogging is for fun, by and large – a hobby, a game, an entertainment, a release of the need to communicate and be heard. To take it more seriously than that is to risk losing sight of the very reason we should do it. A few months ago a friend pointed me to a quirky poster on Despair.com
“Blogging: never has so much been said, by so many, to so few.”
I have it as my desk top screen. It’s an excellent way to keep perspective