Dear Diary. When I was a child I kept a diary, one of those kind that had the little locking tab on the front with the teeny tiny key. In it I recorded my pre-adolescent fantasies about Richard Duvall and Mike Nichols, the atrocities committed upon me by my two sisters, and anger at my parents. It was kept hidden in a secret cubbyhole in the bedroom I shared with my sisters.
When I was older I kept journals which didn’t lock. Instead they were slim volumes of blank paper with beautiful drawings or photographs on the front. I recorded hopes, dreams, fears, my pregnancies and subsequent observations of birth and motherhood. All these things I considered private and unique to my life. My, how things have changed. Today we have computerized diaries by the thousandfold, and all it takes to know about one persons life is just a mouse click away. This is the phenomenon of digital dear diary, the weblog, or blog for short.
Do you blog? I do. How could I not blog, after keeping journals all my life. My blog was a gift from my husband for my 49th birthday this year. He’s the html wizard, although one doesn’t have to be in order to set up a blog. There are places such as Blogger.com where one can go to set up a digital dear diary with little or no experience. This is the information age and it’s important we tell the entire world what we’re thinking, feeling, doing. Isn’t it?
I find other people’s blogs fascinating. In fact, once I started blogging I realized how many of the websites I frequent daily are really just expanded blogs, giving personal observations and links to other websites of interest. There is humor, pathos, activism, even sometimes TMI (too much information) about other people’s lives. (Hey honey, this guy wears ladies underpants to church! Ho ho ho, if anyone in his congregation ever finds out…hey! maybe someone will. He has it posted here for the world to see!)
When I first started using the internet in 1998, I thought email was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Over time I made friends around the world, and kept up a running correspondence on many different subjects. I learned how to send ‘group emails’, thus informing everyone at once of the pearls of wisdom which flowed from my brain, through my fingertips, and into the digital ether. Now my email has become a repository for business opportunities, sexual opportunities, investment opportunities, free telephones, free airline tickets, and like effluvium which used to come in my snail mail. Well, at least my post office box has less junk these days. But oh how I miss the days when that chime of temple bells signified correspondence from a friend. I no longer rush to the computer in anticipation when I hear that sound.
From email I moved to live chat and message board postings. With those, any number of people, even strangers, could read my opinion on whatever was being discussed. My words were locked in a digital time warp where even now, postings from years past remain. Then it happened that I started writing Babes in Boyland for this website, and more words, more thoughts, more internet brain deposits. From this I began to think of myself as a ‘real’ writer, as someone who had the attention of a portion of people. And while this is partially true, the playing field has become somewhat levelled with the advent of the blog.
The blog has the potential to unlock the creative talents of anyone who owns or has access to a computer with an internet connection. A blog can be your digital dear diary to the world. In fact, it can serve any type of purpose the creator wants it to have. It can be as simple as a running commentary of daily life to as complex as a website with links, pictures, and html code. If you get an email from a long lost friend who says “What’s been going on with you?”, you can respond by saying “Read my blog!” and offer the link. And even though email and instant messaging and message boards still remain wonderful creations, the blog is a wonderful evolution of these digital tools.
Do you blog? I do. Isn’t the ‘net cool?