One of my friends, one of the most natural, witty writers I actually personally know, finally caved to the trend and started his own blog, overcoming considerable fears that he was being unpleasantly narcissistic in writing publicly about himself. I'm still figuring out what role I want my blog to take, so I find his self-deprecating guilt about beginning a blog fascinating. For this reason I'm going to provide a few of my thoughts:
I think that if you are going to attempt to update many people about your life at once, then blogging is undeniably the preferable format. (As opposed to the mass e-mailing option some people prefer.) I consider blogging superior for three main reasons:
First, blogging allows your audience to come to you. When the author of an e-mail update selects who to send the e-mail to, he or she might exclude interested parties, or burden disinterested parties with too much information about their life. I would never e-mail someone to tell them: "Hey! sorry, I don't actually want to hear about your life!"; personal listserves are basically impossible to extract yourself from. But with a blog, you can just stop reading it, and no one is the wiser. Basically, a blog is just a diary until outside readers decide to visit it. It's more like an invitation, without social obligations.
Second, blog formats are more conscientious of reader's/friend's time. Monthly e-mailing tends to take the form of long, this-is-everything-I've-done-in-the-last-month! messages rather than pointed, theme-specific posts spread out over the days or weeks (like blog posts). I find the latter to be the obviously less daunting option. Maybe I'm showing my ADD generation affiliation, but reader-attention-span is a legitimate consideration for online communications, and in this respect blogging is clearly superior.
Third, pictures! The e-mail format does not allow for easy inclusion of pictures or illustrations, while the blog format does. Obvi!
Next, the friend in question, (let's call him Winston), feels considerable guilt with using the pronoun "I" in his writing. For example: "It makes me feel enormously self-conscious; it’s like a giant pimple on the face of one’s writing." While this viewpoint is extraordinarily, charmingly self-deprecating, I would posit that as long as the author of any personal blog attempts (and this is crucial) to draw conclusions from their personal experiences that would be relevant to a wider audience, and remains humble as to the impact of their opinions, then there is no harm done. After all, didn't the wise men say: "write what you know"?
Finally, my good friend "Winston" states that one of the underlying themes of his blog is to encourage and foster his friendships. This is where my musings run aground. I, too, stated this as one of my objectives when I started my blog, but it hasn't been clear to me whether I've made anyone feel connected to me and vice versa through my blog. I don't feel like I'm sparking two-way conversations with friends on this end.
But then, I can think of two relationships in particular that have been fostered through my ability to read their blogs. Both blogs are incredibly important to me because of the connection they created. I also know that I feel fostered and inspired by the various crafting blogs I follow. So I'm not giving up on the format just yet.