pondering : how to read a blog

posted on: Thursday, March 7, 2013


"Blogs are a people-watcher’s dream because they give you a fun peek into people's everyday lives. But they are a thinking person’s nightmare, because it’s so easy to compare your real self with someone else’s fake self."

The anonymous author of the satirical mum blog, Seriously, so blessed!

One of the subjects I took as an undergraduate was Film Studies. For this I had a textbook: How to Read a Film. Turns out if you've been raised watching TV and going to the movies then on one level you already intuitively know how to read a film, even if you don't know you know.

But if you haven't grown up reading blogs, which, unless you're under the age of 20, you haven't, then you won't have a ready-built framework for knowing exactly what you're reading.


And of course blogs are ever-evolving. As soon as you pin one down it might literally change on you. This is disorienting because people like categories. In our traditional media we like things arranged by genre, we prepare to suspend our disbelief (fantasy, sci fi, going to the theatre) or to be infomed (non-fiction, documentaries, etc).

So when a blog presents as a personal account of a life with photos and feelings, home tours and birth announcements it might seem like the blogger is constructing a picture 'for your consideration' of what their life is like.

But it isn't.


The bloggers at the keyboards are carefully editing how they present their lives; even the seemingly candid ones.

Their insecurities, their hurts, their long held scars, their emotional daily battles -- they have them. I have them. We all have them.They are not always posting about them.


But at its best, a family or lifestyle blog catches the beauty and symmetry that can be found anywhere in life, even in domestic life. Especially in domestic life.

The evening meal that worked out, the trip to the park where the kids ran free, the day there was time to make cake, the breakfast bowls lined up neatly just before the contents was devoured by hungry little ones. That moment the baby smiled in the early morning light (before she spit up).

To me, blogs are similar to magazines or films, or some other piece of traditional media. But with the possibility to be more personal, more immediate and to truly connect people. And I love that.

*            *            *

Did you get all the way to the end? I'm impressed (and grateful). For better or worse I have decided to share some of my ponderings here on baby space, this is the first. Agree with my lifestyle blog breakdown? Disagree? Don't care to break down a blog? I'd love to hear what you think.

Screenshots of some of my fave blogs from top, ohdeardreache and fidelbleubird blog and oscarlucinda

22 comments:

  1. Great post.
    There are some blogs that balance the perfect with reality really well...and I don't mean talking about their insecurities but maybe just hinting that they exist.
    I actually find myself not reading blogs that present things are perfect all the time...that is because I find myself comparing my life to theirs..and even though I know that they are editing, I can't help but feel that I am missing something.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean -- and I think the anon quote speaks to that. maybe the art of creating the perfect balance is what makes the best blogs...the best. I am intrigued by the critiquing of blogs written by women for women that seems to be happening at the moment and the way it seems to be an extension of the phenomenon of women comparing themselves to others in general. something for another post ;) thank you for your thoughts caitlin!

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  2. I agree with your breakdown. I think that no matter what, people are looking to social media outlets to engage and entertain (which begs the question, does blogging fir into that category? or is in a whole other category of its own?). I love reading other people's blogs and getting a glimpse into their life, and I'm flattered when other people read mine.

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    1. thanks alison. do you mean does blogging fit into the social media category? for sure blogs are part of the social media part of new media. I think all this newness is part of the reason there are more questions than answers around blogging right now.

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  3. Really interesting post, Bron. It's kind of funny as I just posted some honest feelings about blogging vs genuine life experiences in my most recent post and I think they align a little bit with what you're touching on here.

    I guess I like to admit every now and then that, as a blogger, I do sometimes go out of my way to 'keep up appearances' and put my best foot forward. But it can be very exhausting. I do like to keep it real every now and then and let people know my struggles and reveal what really goes on inside the head and life of a blogger. xx

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    1. I think you strike a lovely balance claire, which is why your blog is so loved :)

      and how funny that you just posted about that -- there must be something in the air.

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  4. Oh yes!! I think you really need to remember when we read blogs that there are days when we don't get out of our PJs, the kids have decided to coat the carpet in sticky tape, the bathroom has been flooded and I have spent days just wishing I could escape to a bar somewhere.

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    1. he, he, he. save a spot for me at that bar ;)

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  5. I agree. Love this- wonderful post! Looking forward to more :)

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  6. I have more than enough mess of various kinds in my own life to care to much to read about others too often! That said, if a blogger is reflective, and funny or somehow makes me think, then i would read on happily regardless. Looking forward to reading more here x

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  7. This post is why I love you Bron. Too often I find myself doubting and comparing when viewing the "perfect" lives of others through their words and images. I ensure that I stop and remind myself that there's always another side to the presented beauty on my screen. Thank you for such honest, wise words xx

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  8. A great post and such wise words Bron. It is the sharing of simple daily pleasures of others on their blogs which inspires me the most these days... reading about an outing a family took, the way they passed their time indoors on a rainy day or simple, honest reflections of motherhood and family life which I find myself taking ideas from and wanting to integrate into my own little home/family life.

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  9. This is on my mind a lot. I do try to keep it honest and real but obviously there are always things I will hold back because no one wants to see everything laid bare.
    It's such a personal issue and blogs are such an oddly public show.

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  10. Great post. I always struggle with how much is too much. So I guess I hide behind the pretty photos and maybe I should consider being a bit more open. There's always the feeling of over sharing and do readers really want to hear my rants. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  11. power to you Bron, for all the above xx (luv shauns)

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  12. I love this. Very true and well written. As a blogger, I will say that each post is thought out. I do pick and choose what to share. Blogs are like film, they are comparable to magazines, but with a bit more depth. With a story attached.

    xo

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  13. I love your approach to this topic, Bron (I loved Film Studies too). I read all variety of blogs - from ones that have a just a hint of the battles to others that lay them all out (and of course, everything in between) - and enjoy them all. I don't tend to read only one type...and as for my little space, I suppose it tells a story of the positive things, the pleasures and the pretties. But in all honesty, this isn't necessarily intended to create an image that hides the unpleasant. I have so many blog posts that I compose in my mind but only a fraction make them onto the space - I just don't have the time to get them all out! So I think what ends up on the blog is often what comes easiest to write - or a few words to accompany some photos I love. I struggle a bit with expressing myself at times - so maybe that is a factor too?...Speaking of which, I think this is sounding more like a ramble! Hope it makes sense! x
    ps. I'm so honoured to be one of your favourites. It goes without saying that you are on my top sites homepage :) x

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  14. Oh Bron, you gorgeous girl. What a thoughtful and insightful post. Encore, Madame! Thanks - just what I need to read right now as I contemplate blogging again. Blogging in Australia has changed so much lately. I hope I can find my own place in Blogland again. J x

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  15. I did film to! Oh the films we had to watch!!! I don't know what it is about today but i think i exposed myself a little too much online today too. I think I like it though. I guess time will tell if there is a place for being 'that' blogger. This was a great article and it is interesting to see what someone else's is thinking by their images sometimes without them even having to tell you.

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  16. Firstly thank you for the recent follow,
    Secondly I'm of the opinion that it's your blog, your space. It's an extension of oneself and they're life. So if you want to ponder, I say ponder. Some will like it, otherwise won't, follow your heart.

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  17. It's interesting you write about this and I tend to agree. As a blogger myself I do edit certain things, it's not to hide or to create a fake self but I just have certain rules. One being if I wouldn't say it at a dinner party then I'm not going to on the blog. Also I edit out a lot of the daily grind because who wants to read about that. Also I try to keep it upbeat and positive because reading another person's blog for me is about escaping or inspiration so I want to give that to my readers. I do try to keep it real and give of my struggles too but I keep those to a minimum. I mean my life is pretty good so that's what I focus on. Blogs are a kind of a written "kodak" moment though and what's really wrong with that. What you focus on, is what is and those are the memories that will stay with you forever.

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  18. I totally agree with you. I love that you can connect with people through blogs. I have met some wonderful people thanks to blogging. It made my life overseas easier. This is a beautifully written piece. Thank you for sharing your observations!!

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