Perhaps blogging is not unlike those little pink books with the fake locks, and a variety of other lined spiral notebooks, that I’ve stored in plastic bins: most are half empty, started religiously right after Christmas or on January 1st, filled with lovingly detailed scenes of each lived day, or emotional outbursts that stem from the less visible but even more volatile inner world. The entries become less detailed by April, and much less frequent by early June, only to die off as soon as the weather enticed the vitamin-D deprived me outside, away from florescent-lit navel gazing toward more sun-baked kinetic pursuits.
The dying of an individual’s blog may not follow the seasons as much, though I suspect for academics, fall is such a dramatic change from summer that blogs become just another thing on the to do list rather than a source of release and pleasure.
But like keepers of those lock-less diaries, I suspect all bloggers will return to blogging, or something like it, again and again. And though I know nothing truly ever goes away once it’s on the Internet, I hope all bloggers archive their blogs in some format that will be accessible in 2040. I’m looking forward to those retrospective memoirs of bloggings-past.
The new Facebook feature I read about this morning seems particularly relevant since I suspect that the appeal of the instant response from hundreds of friends to our hastily posted status updates is more immediately rewarding than the infrequent comments to a thoughtfully developed blog posting: exporting our Facebook profiles. It looks like there have been outside “apps” of sorts that have allowed you to store your Facebook pages on your hard drive, but now FB itself seems to be making it easier for everyone to do. No longer must we allow that nagging worry that we’ll lose all those photos, those likes and dislikes, those status updates. [And there are at least 10 ways to archive one’s Tweets.]
I’m teaching the Introduction to the Memoir course this term and while the focus is on reading memoirs as a genre, we also do some autobiographical exercises, such as strategies for choosing a focus for a memoir, or strategies for presenting such a past experience. Many of my students have chosen to write a brief memoir as their final project (interestingly, only one has chosen to blog–the rest are writing traditional retrospective descriptions of a period in their past—almost all focused on the early teen years, not surprisingly) so the exercises are also designed to help them as they draft.
Next week, I’ll remind them about this export feature in Facebook: for the future memoirist, reading our own status updates 30 years from now will be quite the minefield of information. [And by then, the 10th edition of the MLA Handbook will have a chapter devoted to citing such artifacts.]