My other recent attempts at encouraging sloth (physical if not mental anyway) among others have been met with the following responses:
"Thanks for your suggestion about the travel blog...I've thought about it before but it kinda feels like a lot of strangers are reading my boring-ass diary. I don't know, I like reading other people's, though... Hmm."
"the reason why I cringe at blogging is because it's just not personal...I'd rather spend more money and more time online talking to each of my wonderful friends individually. Sickening, isn't it?"
I love these responses because they illustrate the inherent contradictions of blogging: blogging is at once impersonal and deeply personal, mundane and fascinating. The most mundane, "boring-ass" stuff sometimes reveals the most truth and sure we're sharing stories with whoever happens to stumble across our site but the entries are often still deeply personal.
Reading other blogs and struggling to maintain one myself has driven home the universality of so many of the things we experience. Reading mommy blogs reassures me that other mothers struggle with feelings of guilt and inadequacy, struggle to lose that last ten (or twenty or fifty) pounds of baby weight not only so they feel better but so that they don't leave their children with the legacy of body issues, and struggle with letting go when they return to work (or struggle with their decisions to stay home). Reading mommy blogs also highlights the universal experiences of pure joy and wonder having children invokes, the feelings that make it all completely worthwhile. Reading travel blogs, there are universal threads there too. Same goes for blogs that are harder to define - these blogs expose the universal dialogues of marriage, friendship, work, spirituality, renovations.
Blogging has the capacity to teach us about ourselves and each other. The anonymity of it frees us to be honest about our experiences at the same time that sharing ourselves through this medium has the capacity to reacquaint us with our loved ones or share parts of ourselves we had not before. Blogging is freeing and empowering (even though it sometimes feels like a chore) because it reassures us that we are not alone and that our experiences are shared.
* Somehow this entry became an unintended partial response to the question - is blogging empowering to women? This question has been posed in various blogs across the interweb, most recently over at her bad mother.