Blogs as documentaries
There are plenty of blogs on the Web dealing with a wide variety of topics and vastly diverse functions; but many blogs primarily catalog of the life experiences of their owners; so from this perspective it can be said that personal blogging, when discussed in terms of genre, probably falls more frequently in the category of documentary than any other genre. And even though there are quite a number of blogs that focus on the collection of poetry and other forms of creative writing, the vast majority of personal blogs are most likely to be categorized as documentaries.
When you think about it over the span of many years, making a documentary was meant to be an objective act of reporting the sights and sounds that the filmmaker, writer or photographer encountered. However, in contemporary times there was movement towards embracing that degree of subjectivity inherent in the documentary form. This means that modern documentaries often reflected the distinctive voice and sensibility of their creators, making today’s documentaries to revolve around personality, thereby – more often than not – blurring the lines between documentary and memoir.
Blogs fall somewhere between these two genres, muddying the distinctions even further, an indication that the personal blog, documentary and memoir are now irrevocably intertwined for better or for worse. Although few bloggers think of themselves as making documentaries in any formal sense, every time someone sits down in front of a computer and types up a record of their day, s/he is documenting a personal historical moment. Examples of this kind of blogging are those things we take for granted in our daily lives.
Things like the way we use specific modes of transportation, or the kinds of products we buy, which may seem quite fascinating to people who live outside our environments, and are therefore fascinated with our lot is at the heart of many documentary projects. When people think about blogging, documentary is not very likely to be the first description they envision, but a few decades down the road it is very likely that todays blogs will be seen primarily as very subjective documentaries of our era. People of tomorrow will almost certainly look to the blogs of today for insight into our historical moment.
Documentary may not be the aim of most people who spend time posting their thoughts and ideas on the Web; but in some ways, the documentary aspect of blogging is more of a side effect than a primary goal. However, the fact that so many people are interested in publishing these public Web diaries shows that personal blogs are about more than just rumination. The fact that bloggers are so stimulated by, and interested in, sharing their ideas with each other reinforces the idea that personal blogs are – in some ways – documentaries meant for public consumption.
A perspective-based niche
An undeniable truism is that documentaries appeal to people who are curious about alternate ways of life, and many people who regularly read personal blogs written by others are looking for this same kind of new perspective. However, this is not to say that vocations such as poetry and other forms of creative writing are deemed less appealing to blogging audiences worldwide; but rather, that each niche commands the attention of a specific section of the marketplace, with documentaries occupying the single largest share.