Saturday, 3 December 2011

So, why blog?

Why do I blog?
Many reasons.
I started reading blogs a couple of years ago, they appeared in Google searches when I looked for articles on attachment parenting, breastfeeding, etc. I didn't follow them as such, just skimmed through them looking at people's lives, their houses, their children, out of nosiness really. More than the subject of the photo, I'm interested in the detritus of everyday living that appears, the discarded toy, the mug on the counter, objects not seen in a set-up photo shoot for a magazine. I love looking at how people live, how they decorate their houses, the kind of objects that surround them, the books they read. I'm the one turning the laptop/magazine on its side to read the spines of the books on the bookshelf. It's good to know everyone has cluttered spaces they wouldn't let visitors see, the under-the-stairs closet that gets excavated once a decade, and you find that shoe.

I started watching Youtube beauty videos over a year ago, and loved the extension into peoples lives, their bedrooms, their bathrooms, seeing what products they use and how they apply them. Most show their make-up routines, collections of nail polish, make-up storage, their favourite products, their latest shopping "hauls". It may sound boring to some, kind of "look what's in my sock drawer", but I find them fascinating. Some are performing for the camera, their Birkin bag hanging in shot on the wardrobe handle, others are "take me as you find me" (but less popular of course). Most of the beauty Youtubers have blogs too, mostly documenting their social lives, as they are living at home with parents.

The Youtube beauty community has its stars, the US allthatglitters21 (just seems to be endorsing products now) and the London Beautycrush being just two that I follow. It's like a big popularity contest, the high-flyers getting millions of hits on their videos, the normal girls getting a few hundred. The "in girls" seem to know each other, and name-drop, referring to each other as their "inspiration" (though they're actually just going out and buying the same things, so "imitation" more-so). I logged on to Youtube today at lunchtime, and Beautycrush had just uploaded a new video 11 minutes before, and she'd already had 262 views on it. It's instant stardom, these girls get recognised in the street by their "followers".

It may seem like the ultimate in distance "friendship", here's this girl talking to you about her make-up, showing you how she does that winged eyeliner, and she'll never meet you in person or know your name. But it's so personal at the same time. They reply to most comments left below the video, seem honestly grateful for the followers, and some like thePersianbabe humbly/naively reveal personal issues to the masses. It's the ultimate in exhibitionism and you can do it all before breakfast.

A blog seems even more narcissistic. With a blog you are producing a finished article, there's no room for "sorry, what was I saying there, oh I've lost my train of thought" as you can do on Youtube, endearing yourself to millions. It's another step removed from the Youtube videos, or three steps maybe. Firstly, your brain is editing as you type, so you're writing stream of consciousness, but with a better finish than a vlog (video blog). Secondly, someone is reading it, putting their own intonation and assumptions onto the article, so you become an extension of them. Your sarcasm/attempted wit may be lost on some, who may decide you are a strange character, and not return to read more posts. You have to work extra hard to make posts worthy of your readership, because I suspect the blog-readers are also the blog-writers, and have a more discerning outlook than the Youtubing make-up gals.

Somehow this shirt makes me look pregnant. An example of a photo I'd never post on a blog...oh
Then you have the photos. Do I include the one of me with the double chin? No of course not, no one wants to see that. So you edit your photos, deleting the not-pretty from the pretty-ok. That one with the knickers on the radiator is getting cropped. If I put this in black and white you won't see my spot. I don't doubt that some bloggers are photoshopping blemishes off their faces. Some, like the lovely Rumi Neely on Fashion Toast are producing Vogue-quality spreads, amazing quality photography. But this is her full-time job, and it must get stressful living in front of a lens and out of a suitcase.
Yes honey, I am listening to you.

A couple of years ago I used to follow some Stateside craft blogs, but increasingly found the saccharine-sweet, homely vibe a bit false. Did these women never leave a dirty kitchen sponge in the sink? Very inspiring, but I wanted something more realistic. As I spend my days feeding babies and wiping bums, the last thing I want to read is someone elses "Adventures in Excrement" or whatever, but I make an exception for the brilliant Relentless Laundry blog. No photos of snotty kids, just fantastic hilarious writing that sucks you in and you're reading her archives all night.

We all want our 15 minutes of fame. I'm a frustrated performer, sometimes wondering if I'd gotten that audition and moved to London, where would I be now? But I find myself happily mothering two small suckers in the Dublin suburbs instead. So Youtube is a bit of a performance outlet for me, I'm still toying with the idea of putting up videos of me singing and playing piano. What's the worst that could happen? I think the last public hanging was 1918 or something??

So this is not about creating a perfect, alternate life where I'm Betty Crocker, nor is it to document my life as a mother. It's more to record narcissisically (?!) my views, tastes and some of my parenting journey, to maybe help / inspire others, as I've been inspired. If you like it please join as a follower, or drop me a line with any ideas you have for posts. Thanks for reading!
Niamh x


  1. Hi The Mama's Hip.

    That was an interesting read. I just stated my Blog and have moments
    where I think whats the point? but I think I'll keep going and its my narcissistic side pushing me along :)


  2. Hi Monika,
    thanks for reading! I had a look at your blog and love the photography! Niamh

  3. you're funny. :)
    thanks for following my blog, by the way.. and for leaving a sweet comment, I really apreciatte that you like my latest posts! :)


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