Lovely Memoir or Ultimate Exhibitionism?

A few days ago I was taking a look at a friend’s blog on Blogger.com, when I noticed an intriguing button that said “Next Blog”. As I committedly pursue all time-waster and procrastinating stratagems, I clicked.

The “Next Blog” had a sweet blue template with white flowers and was titled by a family name such as “The Smiths”. I took a closer look.

…a day-to-day journal of this Smiths’ family…

The blog was a day-to-day journal of this Smiths’ family, with a great number of photos and videos included. On the right column, each family member was briefly described, starting from the mother and author of the blog, the father and lastly two male children of about 4 and 7 years.

Posts were written every two or three days, in an enthusiastic and childish tone and often figuring the children as the narrating voice. All family’s adventures were accurately reported: the very same day the Smiths had had a great time in the fun park, a few days before organised a family dinner, earlier on found hard to wake up in the morning, and so on.

…could just read through their lives and even download their pictures.

I, unknown person on the other shore of the ocean (the Smiths lived somewhere in Alabama), could just read through their lives and even download their pictures. I did not download them, but I could have.

Curious to see what else I could find, I went back to my “Next Blog” button and kept clicking it for a while. In this way, I discovered that the Smiths are not an isolated group of exhibitionists, but just one case of a much wider phenomenon. Blog after blog, I could peep into the stories of plenty of families, mostly Americans but British too, that were more than happy to offer them to the World Wide Web.

…constantly receiving comments from unknown users…

And the World Wide Web seems to have taken the offer right away, as most of the blogs were constantly receiving comments from unknown users telling them how lovely the children were or how interesting and funny the stories.

I wonder who takes the time to go write these comments.

…creepy.

In general, I found these blogs really creepy.

I do understand that they work as a nice record of the family life and children’s growth; what I do not understand is the reason why these nice and absolutely personal records are made public.

…I would not like my pictures at 6 years of age to navigate the net…

Personally, I would not like my pictures at 6 years of age to navigate the net and to receive comments about my pretty face. On the one hand, I cannot refrain from thinking that many of the people that go through these blogs and are interested in these families’ stories are sick. On the other, I have this belief that when something is really personal, it even gives it a higher value to keep it for family and friends only; after all, if it is so valuable not everybody deserves to know it.

Evidently, this belief is not shared by many.

They use blogs to create a constant audience…

People seem to feel an impellent desire to air their laundry in public, whether it is dirty or clean, and hear what the public has to say about it. They use blogs to create a constant audience for their lives.

And this is not true only for family blogs, although from my point of view they constitute the creepiest example. All blogs that constitute someone’s personal diary, from that of the troubled adolescent to the bored housewife’s one, are a means to get an array of spectators. These spectators are then entitled to console, approve or disapprove, give an opinion, but above all to tell the blogger what he wants to be told.

Receiving comments must be reassuring for the blogger.

This is what I figured, after skimming through a variety of these diaries. Most comments are not meant to really say something but only to confirm what is said in the post. “Your children are lovely” is the most common comment on family blogs; on the opposite, a woman that blogs about a complicated relationship would mostly receive “He doesn’t deserve you”, a boy fighting with his parents “They don’t understand you” and so on. Receiving comments must be reassuring for the blogger. They validate what he already thinks of his life and in some cases even give him the impression to be understood by the others.

Overall, I still cannot fully explain what these blogs are for. Are they just an exhibitionist mania? Or do they really aim at sharing experiences and getting the readers’ sympathy? Do they seek someone to tell them how lovely their family is?

Well, to me, they seem just a Big Brother homemade version applied to one’s own children for the sake of finding oneself at the centre of the screen. Really creepy.

Images courtesy of Blogger

 

About The Author

Comparative Literature student at King's College London. Interested in languages and modern art. Compulsive traveller. Among her future projects, a Master Degree in Translation and a journey to Moscow.

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