Are personal blogs just a written form of reality TV? That question crossed my mind when someone on The View said he never watches the genre because he is philosophically against it being passed off as entertainment. At first I totally agreed with him until I looked up a list of popular reality TV shows and much to my surprise I found out that on occasion I actually watch five shows that fall into that classification: American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Hoarders, Antiques Roadshow, and Storage Wars. Who knew? When I thought about reality TV shows I was thinking of those programs that make me want to stick my fingers down my throat and vomit: Here Comes Honey BooBoo, The Kardashians, Real Housewives, Duck Dynasty, Jersey Shore, and The Apprentice. These shows are very popular which just goes to show that taste in entertainment is far from one-size-fits all. Why am I philosophically against make-me-vomit television? I don’t think it’s good for society to lower the bar so much by depicting the daily drama that occurs in these so-called average or affluent families. I don’t want to go back to the days of Father Knows Best but if we’re going to elevate and encourage voyeurism then what we watch should have some redeeming or teachable factors to justify having cameras capture so much bad behavior. Garbage spoon-fed into society, garbage out.
Having said that, I also have to say that reading personal blogs is not much different than televised voyeurism. We not only get a window into the daily lives of the blog writers with all their flaws and foibles but we also get the main attraction; we get a window into the blog writer’s stream of consciousness. A stream of consciousness according to about.com is defined as: “A narrative technique that gives the impression of a mind at work, jumping from one observation, sensation, or reflection to the next….” And aren’t we all interested in knowing how our own stream of consciousness stacks up against the next guy’s? We want to know, for example, how often our neighbors think about their past and future, their families and society at large, even the lint in their belly buttons. We want to know if they worry about the same things we do. We want to know irrelevant stuff like how it feels when someone goes to the ‘days calculator’ online and finds out they are 26,227 days old. By the way, the answer to that last question is that being 26,227 days old makes me feel much older than the run-of-the-mill septuagenarian that I am---like I’ve crossed over into Buddha-land. Say something insightful and wise, old woman.
This long winter has been hard on us blog writers who live in the Snowbelt because many of us have to live inside our heads more than usual. To write, we need outside stimulation and we're not getting any. There are just so many ways I can describe the impassable roads, the birds at my feeders and the tin fold hat I’m thinking about making to keep the crazy, snowbound thoughts from coming in. There are just so many ways a widow can say how lonely she is or how much she misses being relevant in the world. Oh, here we go again! says the Mary Poppins-like voice in my head. It really is time to say something insightful and wise, old woman.
Okay, I’ll give it a shot. “This, too, shall pass. Spring will come, I’ll get back out into the world and once again the box of Reynolds Wrap will be safe from the would-be hat couturier who lives on Widowhood Lane."
Who reads blogs? According to Social Media Today, blogs get 46 million unique page views per month and 71% of internet users read blogs. They also report that the majority of blog writers are women. There are 6.7 million bloggers on blog sites and another 12 million on social networks. Clearly, a lot of people are interested what others have to say about things that touch their lives in some way, be it a personal musings blog like this one or a blog written by a hobbyist beer maker or the highest earning blog of all, the Huffington Post.