When it comes to personal blogging, documentary is

the default genre. There are plenty of blogs that serve

other functions, but many blogs are primarily catalogues

of the life experiences of their author. Although there

are quite a few blogs that focus on collecting poetry and

other forms of creative writing, the vast majority of

personal blogs are in some sense documentaries.

For many years, the act of making a documentary was

meant to be an objective act of reporting the sights and

sounds that the filmmaker, writer, or photographer

encountered. However, in contemporary times there has

been a movement towards embracing the subjectivity

inherent in the documentary form. This means that

modern documentaries often reflect the distinctive

voice and sensibility of their creator, and the fact that

todays documentaries often revolve around personality

blurs the lines between documentary and memoir. Blogs

rest somewhere between these two genres, muddying

the distinctions even further. Personal blogging,

documentary, and memoir are now irrevocably

intertwined, for better or for worse.

Although few bloggers think of themselves as making

documentaries in any formal sense, every time

somebody sits down in front of a computer and types up

a record of their day, they are documenting their own

historical moment. The things that we take for granted

about our daily lives, like the way that we use specific

modes of transportation, or the kinds of products that

we buy, often seem quite fascinating to people who live

in circumstances different from ours, and it is this kind

of fascination that is at the heart of many documentary

projects. When people think about blogging,

documentary is not very likely to be the first adjective

that crosses their minds, but a few decades down the

road it is very likely that todays blogs will be seen

primarily as very subjective documentaries of our era.

The people of tomorrow will almost certainly look to

the blogs of today for insight into our historical


When it comes to blogging, documentary may not be

the aim of most people who spend their time posting

their thoughts and ideas on the internet. In some ways,

the documentary aspect of blogging is more of a side

effect than a primary goal. However, the fact that so

many people are interested in publishing these public

online diaries shows that personal blogs are about more

than just rumination. The fact that bloggers are so

stimulated by and interested in sharing their ideas with

each other reinforces the idea that personal blogs are, in

some ways, documentaries meant for public

consumption. Documentaries appeal to people who are

curious about other ways of life, and many people who

regularly read others personal blogs are looking for this

same kind of new perspective.

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