i discovered this morning that the family blog i’d started for my aunts, uncles, and cousins to keep in touch just had its sixth anniversary.
i’m not sure what about that surprises me the most.
the fact that my mother’s been blogging for six years.
or the fact that ANY group-type blog could last that long without falling out of favor.
or maybe it’s just that i really wasn’t sure if anyone would really use it. if the value i saw as a recent college grad who had been blogging personally for so long was value that my older relatives might recognize.
back then blogging was twittering; it was a word you thought might stop the music in a bar or restaurant. most of us didn’t really bother to mention our blogs to real life people, and we all found each other by farming one another’s link lists.
back then a link on the sidebar meant everything.
but then i asked more than thirty of my relatives to try to use a blog to keep in touch.
i said this:
“anyway…i really think this could be fun. i’ll give as many family members as i can find access to this site, and give everyone the freedom to post to it. the idea would be to keep in touch…update family members on your children’s successes…brag about yourself…make fun of yourself…argue (we hope the elders – namely my own father – will keep political arguments to a minimum:))…and plan for our weddings, vacations, and pubcrawls. do with it what you may…i don’t care as long as people find it useful!”
as my cousins joined up and started chattering away, and a few of the more email-prone uncles began using the site as a way to share their (typically hilarious) thoughts on current events, the whole thing took off, and pretty soon we had one place to go for all the family updates. we had one place to go to hammer out family reunion dates and to announce college graduations.
and even as those college graduations became less frequent, and the engagement and newborn announcements replaced them, the blog lived on.
we were reunited in a meaningful way with our more distant family, and we arrived every summer in upstate new york in a state of contextual familiarity. our annual week in the mountains wasn’t half wasted on getting up to speed. family around the world had a way to connect throughout the year.
but for me, it still blows my mind; the act of writing for a group is a very different endeavor than writing an email. it’s different than writing an email to a long list of friends, family, or acquaintances. it’s the act of writing something that people will see at their leisure, with no real insight as to who will see it, and who may not. it’s a ‘public’ message board, and in that way it is sort of a courageous undertaking.
it’s just so cool that so many in my family are so plugged in.