Over the last ten years it's become an almost indispensable thing for most of us -- I know that I, personally, have used it to:
- "Date" my husband (before he decided it would be easier to move than drive 20 hours to & from Indiana every weekend)
- Plan my wedding
- Find long-lost family and arrange a reunion to finally meet them
- Track my pregnancy
- Find my job
- Look for a house
- Look for houses for other people
- Decide not to buy a house
- Look for contractors
- Renovate my house
- Learn to sew
- Reconnect with old friends
And then there are the daily things -- tracking the sales at the supermarket, finding recipes, reading the news, getting directions, checking the weather, looking for hotels, reading blogs...
Ah, reading blogs.
Blogs are probably the most interesting thing out there. Most (like mine, I fully admit) are not really worth the time spent reading them, at least to people other than family & friends. Some are blatant marketing tools. Others never really get off the ground. But now and then a blog really hits on something: an audience, an idea, a movement, whatever. These bloggers have a voice that people like to hear. Some set out hearing that voice from the beginning, while others evolve, like the classic "mommy blogger" who eventually manages to filter her thoughts down to one main idea -- say, going organic with your family.
I've often wondered if I need to find a voice too. But that assumes that I'm trying to cultivate a following (I'm not) and that I have the talent to sustain it (I don't). This blog is for me and for my daughter. I'm flattered when people stumble across here and find something I've said interesting or funny or useful, but that's just gravy.
Over my decade or so traveling the internet and reading blogs I've had the pleasure of watching a few bloggers transcend that gap between personal story-telling and public speaking. Sometimes I think it's just happenstance; sometimes it seems to be very deliberate. Either way, I continue to follow them because I, too, happen to like what they have to say.
Except when they write posts explaining to their readers how they just don't have the time to write for them right now. These same readers, whose loyalty and encouragement has granted them a public forum, opportunities for income, sometimes even entire careers -- no time. Too busy. Too conflicted. Too in demand.
Too full of themselves.
Don't get me wrong, I don't think bloggers owe their readers anything. Unless, of course, their readership has earned them sponsors, ad revenue, freebies, and book deals. Then I think they do owe us something: the voice they so earnestly wanted us to hear in the first place. Because without regularly sharing that voice, their audience -- along with all those benefits -- eventually disappears.
And without a doubt a new blogger will be happy to fill their shoes. Because the Next Big Thing? Is already out there.