I often wonder “why blog?” and over the years I have been asked that question by others. The answer is often that I have no idea why I do it. There have been many blogs; I was blogging long before I ever heard the term! I had a website where I kept an online diary in hand-written (Notepad) HTML a very long time ago. I think the domain might have been this one, actually. Though it might have been on my old Demon account ((Oh, how I miss my old flyboat!)). Maybe both. I’m not entirely certain and I cannot be bothered to look it up. Then I was introduced to LJ and a number of LJ personas emerged. I was a University Administrator then and prone to organising things – I had an LJ account for each separate purpose. All neatly filed 🙂
Then came WordPress. Oh, I loved WordPress! I installed it on my domain and in a couple of sub domains too – and later when wordpress.com came along, the blogs truly proliferated. Most of them were blown away when I had a little paddy about the more miserable gits in this world. I was not well at the time and perhaps lacked some perspective but I did become very upset about trolls and stalkers and voyeurs and ex partners and all those people who just read the daily details of my life but never ever stop to make themselves known and say hello. I really flipped my lid at that point. (I still do from time to time. The Comments are there for a reason. Let’s have a dialogue! New friends are always welcome.)
I still have quite a few blogs – and most of them are for very narrowly focused purposes. One, for example, is simply to act as an index to files that I want to back up remotely. Some are for keeping notes on particular projects. A few are truly alter egos – writing exercises left over from when I was studying creative writing and my tutor suggested that keeping a blog in character was good preparation for writing that novel that we were going to write “one day”.
There was never a point at which I expected other people to read my entries. It was always just a diary for myself, which I kept online ((I would never keep a paper one up – and if I did I would be prone to throwing old volumes away when de-stuffing to move house)). You are as ever welcome to read most of it, though some entries are privvy to my eyes only. It’s just stuff. Ephemeral. Probably of little interest to me and none to others. That’s the way that I normally think – but today I cast my eye back over my very first LJ account (the HTML diary being very long gone now).
The LJ thing was nowhere near as long ago as I believed it to be. I began the first account in December 2002. Remote enough, though. Today I read it as though I was a stranger who just stumbled across it.
You know what? I found it truly interesting! And it was a real reminder of events that have passed and of my feelings and reactions at that time. It would appear that major events were afoot – I was about to get married again, and I was undergoing a battery of tests to determine my suitability for bone marrow donation.
So now I feel sad about all those hours of writing that I threw away – my early Notepad diaries and especially Windswept and Interesting ((which I truly loved, and tried to craft, and was proud of – and which brought me new friends from all over the world)). What might I have found in all those archives to jog my memory, to make me smile – to remind me of my simple humanity?
Yes, I could try the wayback machine. But what if I was just reminded that it was all actually a load of old toss – no gems included? Please, leave me my illusions 🙂
Is there a point to this post? If there is one I think it is to urge the reader to get out their pen or their keyboard and write it all down. One day, when the fog of time has clouded the brain and a little memory jog is needed, it will all be there waiting. It doesn’t have to be online, though online is neat and tidy and convenient. It doesn’t have to be public, even if it is online.Â Whatever we write down has potential value, even if we do not become another Pepys. I like to think of the generations of genealogists to come who will feel so much more in touch with their ancestors when they unearth the relevant Blogger account and the real person behind the birth certificate, complete with photographic archive. Diary-keeping is brilliant. Blogging is a wonderful extension to that, with so much potential. It’s only scary for the first few times – and that is quickly got over.
Just one thing – if you are moved to give it a go – please help those archivists of the 22nd Century and remember to tag and categorise your posts appropriately. I shall try to do as I counsel, and clean up my own tagging and categorising act. No, I will, I will!Â Todays’s rubbish is tomorrow’s treasure – might as well make it easy to find.
Did your baby take their first steps today? Write it down! One day you will want to recall this date.