Why We Blog
Fine, it’s far from realistic: a boy posts a story on his brand-spanking-new blog and suddenly it goes viral and donations pour in from all corners of the Internet to help them pay for their dog’s surgical bills. He’s able to Google his name and see that 2,876 people have read it. But really, Jojo Moyes tenuous grasp on how the Internet works aside, she digs down into the soft heart of why people blog in her book, One Plus One.
Nicky explains why he wrote a blog post in a moment of anger (page 329):
For those awful few days, at least, writing it down and putting it out there had actually helped. It had felt like he was telling someone, even if that someone didn’t really know who he was and probably didn’t care. He just hoped that someone would hear what had happened, would see the injustice of it.
When I was little, I’d say, “I’m going to tell my mum,” even when I knew the transgression wasn’t big enough to get adults involved. It wasn’t that I wanted her to solve it; I didn’t even really want her to get involved and possibly get me into more trouble (the sort that comes after you rat someone out). I just wanted to tell her, to know that someone other than me knew this… thing… this big, furry monster of a thought that was weighing down my chest.
I just wanted someone else to carry that monster too.
And then I grew up. I still confide in my mother and consider her one of my best friends. (Wait… mums aren’t supposed to be friends with their kids… Screw that: I’m friends with my mother and I like hanging out with her.) But at some point, I started confiding in my peers.
I remember the first time I unloaded a big dark secret to a peer. We were sitting in the back seat of my car, eating a car-picnic lunch that we picked up at Sutton Place Gourmet. My heart was pounding, thinking about speaking the words aloud. And then once they were out, there was such a sense of relief. Why hadn’t I done this sooner? Telling a story. Confiding in someone. Making them hold the monster-y thought too.
And then there was blogging, and now there are many people out there, holding my monster-y thoughts while I hold their monster-y thoughts. That’s the reality of monster-y thoughts: when you have multiple hands holding them, they get seemingly lighter. Much so that you have the energy to hold other people’s thoughts as well as your own.
Later in the scene, she also sums up well that first moment when you fall in love with the Internet. That moment is what keep me coming back to the Internet, even when my cynical side only sees the dick pics and obnoxious Facebook status updates. It creates muscle memory, so your fingers keep typing. She writes (on page 331):
His heart was doing something strange … He wanted to laugh at the magnificence of total strangers. At their kindness and their goodness and the fact that there were actual people out there being good and nice.
Because buried underneath the clickbait and the infuriating stories and the disappointing stats is that truth: that the Internet allows us to be our best selves and to feel other people’s best selves.
I could not have gotten through years of infertility without you guys.