25 May 2011

The community of blogging

Many people I encounter wonder the value of blogging, and whether it's beneficial. Why tell your story, and who will read it? Isn't blogging sharing too much about yourself? Will anyone care about your insignificant life? Yes they will. And sometimes blogging can make such a difference to others in the blogging community.

Two blog posts I have read recently reinforce my beliefs in the blogging community. The first is by Lori from Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum. The other is by Eden at Edenland. These two posts exemplify the friendship and support created by blogging, and the way we can reach out through blogs to bring help, hope and love into our worlds.

Lori's husband took his own life at the start of this year. She has two tiny children to take care of alone, with the nightmares from witnessing his suicide. She has used her blog as therapy - writing her pain and progress down for the world to read. While some readers have criticised her sharing of the tragedy on her blog, many more readers have come to her aid. She believes the support she's received from the blogging community has been the key to her survival - emotional and financial.

She writes:
"Tell me there is no community here, and I'll show this first post, and the 300 comments that come with it. I'll show this post, or this one, or this one. I'll show you $12000 donated, and a stack of parcels and packages, and cards and flowers and wishes, all for a family that these people had only read about, and never met.

I'll show emails that keep arriving, every day. Ones to say I'm thinking of you. Ones to offer practical help and support, from food to clothes to cash to babysitting."
While Lori continues to heal and make a new life for herself and her children, the online community has opened their arms and embraced Lori personally, which is helping bring Lori back. She has made so many friends, and cites the Australian Bloggers Conference as one of the best weekends of her life. She has also raised awareness about mental illness and the finality of suicide. She was also a winner in the lifestyle category of the Best Australian Blogs Competition (the same category I was a finalist in).

Eden's post was heartwarming. She came across an Australian blogger, Vee, whose husband, Alex passed away from cancer last year. She met her Vee in person for the first time a few weeks ago and together they redecorated the cancer ward where Alex was diagnosed and had chemotherapy. Alex was an artist and so Eden and Vee printed some of his art onto canvasses and hung them in the ward, including patients' rooms. Without permission.

Eden writes:
"We left a piece of the world goddamn less ugly than we had found it, and I am fiercely proud of us for that....
I looked at all of Alex's wonderful images, tried to see them through the eyes of a newly diagnosed cancer patient. I wanted them to be taken away, somewhere - anywhere other than where they were. "
What a beautiful act of kindness. And what a bond formed in the online blogging community.

The internet can be a dangerous place. It can also be isolating. And the purpose of online communities can be misunderstood. But there is so much love and support to be found online. Like-minded people can meet up to talk about things that matter to them. Online communities offer hope and can create confidence. And they can be places of love.

Blogging can give ordinary people a voice. It's no longer only celebrities raising the awareness of issues and going public with their private lives. It's people like us. We're helping each other. Turning online support into physical, real life support.

We are so privileged to share insight into bloggers' lives. I know peoples' secrets and triumphs - these are people I probably wouldn't just bump into on the street. And I let them into my life too.

I receive emails from people around the world asking me about ichthyosis. They ask me for advice. Other people tell me their stories of illness and disability. I guess they open up to me because I've opened up. Maybe readers contact Eden for advice. And I am sure as time passes, or maybe it's already happening, Lori will be asked to provide advice to other wives who've lost their husbands to suicide.

While I have lots of 'real life' friends, I have met so many through blogging and Twitter. I count these as friends too. When I have had a difficult day and go home to an empty house, I take comfort knowing that I receive support online. I know people appreciate what I have to say. That's the value of the blogging community.

How has the blogging community helped you? Even if you aren't a blogger?


  1. I wasn't sure what to expect when I started blogging. I really didn't think anyone would want to read what I wrote. But I've found it really welcoming.
    It's only been a few months but I've had the chance to meet some wonderful people, yourself included.
    Since moving to Melbourne 5 years ago, I've felt isolated, blogging has helped me feel not so alone.

  2. My blog has changed my life.
    I started blogging after I started running, I started running after I got depression.
    So really, indirectly, it was the depression that changed my life.
    I have met some amazing people who are now very dear friends, like cosmic soul mates, (that sounds wanky but true).
    I am open but mysterious on my blog.

  3. Not many people read my blog and im a bit hopeless with updating but its just wonderful to read other people's blogs, like yours Carly. I have my favourite's list (on the blog) and i check these guys out a couple of times a week. I look forward to any future blogging friends i hope to make :) PS i love being your twitter friend too!

  4. Great post Carly. I'm new to blogging but have already found the sense of camaraderie amazing. Everyone has been so helpful and supportive and so willing to share. It is a wonderful community to be a part of and I think it really illustrates the best of all of us.

  5. When I started blogging, I honestly thought only a couple of my friends and family would read it. And then I joined 20SB. While I haven't met any of my blogging friends in real life yet, I have no doubt that I'll get on with them just as well in the real world!

    It's nice to know that no matter what you have to say, there's someone, somewhere in the world, who can relate.

  6. I found the well wishes sent by readers when it was drama-central in my life were lovely. The words of others buoyed me and I felt great comfort in knowing that there was a bunch of people there all hoping for the best.
    The bit that I've loved the most though is when people have contacted me when their child is about to have the same surgery as mine did - that I was able to offer support to them was an honour and a privilege.

  7. What a lovely story about the blogging community!!!!!! And I've read some others, families whose kids were diagnosed with cancer, and wow, what response from the blogging community... amazing. People who offer prayers. I don't have any amazing story like that to tell but I really like the social part of blogging, connecting with people. I haven't done a good job with that but maybe later..when I actually have time to write something decent.

  8. I love the community that I am building with blogging. I love the people I have met, the new stories I have heard & the courage others have given me with just a simple comment.

  9. The blogging community has shown me that I am not alone! There are other people out there going through exactly what I am going through, and in exactly the same situations. Not everyone in the world is an asshole! I love my blogging friends!


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