Do you ever have one of those evenings when you just get in from work, begin cooking dinner, and decide ‘what the hell, I’ll pour myself a little glass of wine’ – and find that by 8PM you’ve downed three-quarters of a bottle of an Australian white?
Well, that just happened. It’s almost 9PM and I’m nursing a large mug of black coffee as I’ve got work in the morning. However my brain is still operating at 1000 miles an hour, and the caffeine is more than likely making my mind race even more speedily. Usually I would type about 500-600 words an hour, but on wine I don’t find that I have to think about what to write – the words simply flow out of my mind. This is likely not a good thing. I’ve heard that a lot of creative people become alcoholics to keep their creative juices running. Please assure me I possess a creative streak. Thankfully I still prefer a visit to the gym and a protein-shake over drinking wine all evening, and I can’t be dealing with a hangover in the morning, so I don’t feel that becoming a wino is really a major risk; although, perhaps more disconcertingly, I may discover that my grammar is somewhat slurred when I read back my blog sober – and for me that’s decidedly more worrying than a fucked-up liver.
This evening I watched a TED.com video on the train-ride home. It was a talk by a woman named Mena Trott, it was recorded in California during 2006. Mena is a blogger and the creator of an early blogging platform back in 2004. I often find TED.com talks somewhat profound and this one was no different. Mena closed her discussion by talking about one of their early-adopters named Emma who was using her blog to chronicle her battle with cancer. Emma passed-away in 2004 but had become well-known to the small tech-support team at Mena’s startup. In the video Mena says, “Her name was Emma, and she was a blogger on our service, TypePad. And she was a beta tester, so she was there right when we opened – you know, there were 100 people – and she wrote about her life dealing with cancer. She was writing and writing and writing, and we all started reading it, because we had so few blogs on the service, we could keep track of everyone. And she was writing one day, and, you know, then she disappeared for a little bit. And her sister came on, and she said that Emma had passed away. And all of our support staff who had talked to her were really emotional, and it was a very hard day at the company.
And this was one of those instances where I realized how much blogging affects our relationship, and flattening this sort of world. That this woman is in England, and she lives – she lived a life where she was talking about what she was doing. But the big thing that really influenced us was, her sister wrote to me, and she said, you know, and she wrote on this blog, that – writing her blog during the last couple of months of her life was probably the best thing that had happened to her, and being able to talk to people, being able to share what was going on, and being able to write and receive comments. And that was amazing – to be able to know that we had empowered that, and that blogging was something that she felt comfortable doing, and that the idea that blogging doesn’t have to be scary, that we don’t always have to be attack of the blogs, that we can be people who are open, and wanting to help and talk to people. That was an amazing thing. And – and so I printed out her – or I sent a PDF of her blog to her family, and they passed it out at her memorial service, and even in her obituary, they mentioned her blog because it was such a big part of her life. And that’s a huge thing.
So, this is her legacy, and I think that my call to action to all of you is: you know, think about blogs, think about what they are, think about what you’ve thought of them, and then actually do it, because it’s something that is really going to change our lives.”
Even though only a few people had read this individual’s personal blog that hadn’t made it any less significant on a human level. Mena observed that the only evidence she had of her ancestors‘ existence were their birth and death certificates; everything of their personalities and life experiences had escaped recorded history and they had vanished into anonymity. We are living at a time when we have the opportunity to pass almost everything about ourselves on to future generations. In short, the blog-stats don’t matter. What really matters is the cathartic task of leaving something of our lives captured for our descendants, or simply future social-historians, to dig out of the planet’s servers.
Anyway, I’ve consumed almost an entire bottle of wine and two mugs of Nescafe – I desperately need to go pee like a horse. I hope that even in my slightly inebriated state this blog has made some sense; oh – and I hope future generations who may be reading don’t think I’m a wino.