A friend and successful blogger told me this weekend that a blog is not a diary: it is not where you share your most personal experiences with everyone, his brother and his dog (if his dog happens to be online). In a blog you have something to offer, something to teach, the reader can walk away enriched in some way by your words.
I'm not so sure.
This morning I was confronted with an ad for [another!] reality show. Bret Michaels, Life As I Know It. You know, the guy from Poison? So I moused over the ad to see the preview and thought, Why?? Who cares about this guy and his life? Because he was famous, I assume. We see people in the news, on TV, on stage and we want to know more! But at some point we lose interest in their faces, bodies or voices, and they (hopefully for them) realize this and either get out or do something new. Maybe they recognize the demand from our voyeurism and start a reality show!
But what about Big Brother? Or The Biggest Loser? Or The Hills (etc.)? (I don't know if this last is considered a reality show but it looks like one and has had the same effect.) Some Nobody exposes their personal life on television and gets famous.
Now I'm not prepared to do an analysis of the sociopolitical effects of reality shows in the second decade of the new millennium. But I'd like to know: is this what we want? To root into people's personal lives, know their secrets and their failures? Why? To feel better about ourselves? Or is it just curiosity? The insatiable desire to know things just because they're on the internet or television?
I do not know. But with this I come back to my friend's statement. Are blogs the proper venue for discussion of our personal lives?
Why not? It seems to be where the audience's interest lies. Sure, they should be well written, since reading is so more work than watching (therefore we are more willing to watch crap than read it). And it can't hurt to have a moral or informative aspect so that readers can apply this intimate knowledge to their own lives.
But I think that in the end, we just want to know about other people's lives. Hopefully not just out of Schadenfreude, but so that we can learn more about our own.
And besides, we bloggers love to write - and our own lives are our best source of material.