Friday, January 22, 2010

Why I love blogging...

The subject of blogging brings out lots of different opinions amongst my friends and family. Some love it, some  hate it.

When I started blogging back in 2005 it was because Byron had set this blog up for me and was convinced it was going to be the best thing since sliced bread. He was so excited at this idea of an on-line dairy that could be accessed by Grandparents and friends as we embarked on our big emigration adventure. I was a little unsure about whether I would manage to keep the momentum going over a period of time. I had always loved the idea of keeping a written journal and had started many (usually on the first of January of many countless years) The reality was my words looked bland on paper. I couldn't rework them without crossing a line through them and starting over. Not a good look in a pretty covered notebook.

But blogging... I could sit down and write a story, then re-word and edit it till it was exactly what I wanted to say. And photos!... How better to make a story or diary entry sing that to intersperse it with photos, pictures of the detail that bring the words to life. Yes, I could have printed and stuck photos into a notebook but I never would have. It would have been too much work. I would have found excuses. Printer has run out of ink, I used the last of the sticky tape last week...

I didn't realise as I wrote my first few blog entries that I had found something that was going to bring me so much enjoyment over the coming years. I truly thought as I started blogging that it would be my own diary, stored on-line and hopefully read by family and a few friends so that they could share our journey to Australia. It never occurred to me that over time other people would read it. People I didn't know. I knew in theory that anyone could stumble across the blog but I figured our lives were just average and normal and wouldn't keep the interest of strangers coming back for more. Maybe if I did I would have considered writing under anonymous names, calling my kids by nicknames or initials to protect our identity. The reality is that by the time our blog was being read by other people the choice was gone.

Now 4 years later I find that I am writing the blog for me, for Byron, for our kids. A way of reinforcing my terrible memory with the details of their day to day life so that I can look back on these stories and pictures in the future and reminisce about the good old days. A place to show off my favourite photos when I have finished editing them. Yes, Grandparents still read it, and a handful of UK + Irish friends but increasingly there is a group of people all over the world reading it too. In fact the majority of the comments left are by other blog readers rather than people we know in our real life.

The statistics are quite staggering. In 2009 our blog had over 8,000 visits from over 1,700 people from 55 countries around the world. About 20% of those visitors stopped by just once. Probably stumbling across us while looking for something else. 80% of those visitors have returned multiple times. Most don't leave comments but those that do brighten my day. I always follow the links back to the blogs of those who leave comments. A curiosity as to who they are and a chance to see more about who it is that is reading about our life. Often I find myself regularly returning to their blogs and striking up the modern day equivalent of pen pal friendships with them.

Mostly they are Mums or women who have a love of similar things to me. I have found the most amazing people who inspire me by their stories, their honesty, their photography. They make me strive to try new things, new recipes, new creative ideas with the kids, new styles of photography using a point and shoot camera. They challenge me with their opinions, not always the same as mine. Their culture, their religious beliefs, or disbelief. They challenge me with their life stories, many of which are very different than my own.

I understand that most of my real flesh and blood friends and families don't have their own blogs. I know that many throw their hands in the air and say they would rather pull their teeth out than share the day to day details of their lives with the world. I know some worry about the safety of our family when we write so much about ourselves in such a public way. I know that I am leaving a web footprint of my thoughts and opinions that I have to be accountable for. I know that I cannot take back what I upload. We all make choices. We all live by them.

Over the last few weeks I have been filled with doubts. I have struggled with the possibility that I am naive and that I may one day in the future regret that blog that I write today. Should I stop blogging? Should I start again under a new name, anonymous, or password protected only to be shared with people I know in real life..?

But then you commented. You left me messages that made my heart swell with pride. You flattered me and encouraged me and made my day with your questions, your praise, your opinions.

I may not always feel this way but for now I love blogging. I weigh it up and I see the good that comes from it. For now it brings nothing but positive into our lives. Thank you for your comments, your support, your friendship. For now the Baynham Blog will be carrying on as normal...

...or as normal as our life can be!

19 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. i am so glad to here that Gina i know i am a friend and know alot of what happens but there are special little things that you would not think to mention and the photos that go with the stories bring it all together i love reading your blog especially when i have been there on the day and see the twist on the stories i love your story telling it makes me laugh and feel good. I know how busy your day to day life is but you always make that extra time for Byron and the kids without much oh sorry no complaints your amazing and i'm lucky to have got to know you and your family. Karen

  2. And I am so happy that you do blog...that I get a little glimpse into the life of your beautiful family! =^)

  3. Oooh, please don't stop blogging. I love reading your blog and count you among one of my virtual friends. I don't know what I'd do if I lost contact with you. Thanks for letting me share in your life with you.

  4. I, too, would be saddened if you didn't blog Gina! I consider you a "friend"... I like your pen pal theory!! I know if we met in "real life", we would be friends! It is amazing how comments can make us feel... I would miss yours!

  5. I'm glad you haven't given up on blogging! I love reading your blog, I live vicariously through you ya know? :) I know I'm horrible at commenting, but I read every single post you put up, and I really start missing ya'll when there's a long stretch with nothing new! I just love hearing about your family and all the wonderful things you do! Keep it up

  6. I can't remember how I found you ...stumbling in from somewhere else I imagine. While I don't always comment, I definitely think of you as one of my blogging buddies.

    It is funny to me that my blog which began as yours did for friends and family after my move from the US to the UK, seems barely read by them at times, while other people drop in for a look and come back enough times to feel a sense of kinship.

    I'm not sure that made sense. I'm up early blogging in the dark and need more coffee I imagine.

    I mainly wanted to say, I'm glad you're here or there ... where I can stop by and share a virtual cup and a conversation from time to time.

  7. Gina from a friend who does know and love you even though you are over the other side of the world, dont you dare stop blogging or I shall be on a plane to get you going again(Now if that isnt enough to keep you going - I dont know what is!!) Hope you're having a good time with your mum and dad, thinking of you mate. xxxxx

  8. I came here as you do, following a comment you made on GotJ. 'Nice to meet you'. Oh, my (I can't contain myself any longer) - the clarity of the light you capture in your pictures at Norah Head, is amazing. Just beautiful. I feel like I'm physically out there on a bright beach.

    I'm a new blogger, blogging to blog, not so much family-lead, but I think it all shakes out in the end. I hope my family will read mine too. I fully empathise with some of your "is this the right thing to do?" questions, very hard to tell.

  9. I think it is humorous how so many of us get into this for the same reasons. If the only people who read my blog were my parents and grandparents that would be totally fine with me. My little blog is far less visited than yours but even I am amazed that anyone other than the 5 people that I intended to read it would ever come back. I too have worried about safety, but I think you are right, for the most part we are all in this together, good people striving to make sense of the chaos that is everyday life. I am glad you have decided to continue onward, as our virtual friendship has only just begun.

  10. You seem to have struck a nerve with this post ~ look at all the positive comments!! :) Like you and so many of the others, I began my blog as a way to communicate with family and friends. And happily along the way, I found more friends like you.

    I would miss you terribly if you decided to stop blogging. I have grown accustomed to the glimpse of Australia ~ and the wonderful Baynham family ~ that you provide with each post. I'm glad you will be continuing.

  11. Gina, Gina, Gina

    I love reading your blog and love the wonderful creativity in your writing. I love that our children have shared activities over the years and we can go back and relive them on your blog - thank you. If it feels right in your heart to keep on blogging - go for it! You have a happy positive slant on life that brings joy to so many.


  12. I've been enjoying reading your blog & getting to know you over the past few months. I got into this for the same reason you did -- more as a way to keep in touch w/ distant family & friends, and then, somehow, it snowballed. I did give my son a nickname, and refer to my poor husband as just "my husband", and struggle sometimes with what to post, how much to post. But all in all...the friendships I've made with women across town and across the world have made this all so worthwhile! It is like virtual pen-pals...I like that way of looking at it!

  13. wow look at all these comments! I love blogging too.. i started it for the family and overseas friend thing.. but eventually it became a diary for my kids more then anything, and a good date source for my brain like a sieve days!
    Keep up the great work Gina, we enjoy reading your blog!!

  14. I agree with all comments - don't stop blogging. I love reading about what your family have been up to.


  15. I love reading your blog Gina Weena.....(one of my many nicknames....have your every been called Gina Weena?). Anywho, I love catching a glimpse of your Australian life. Your funny and positive outlook on life is a hoot. Don't stop girl! xo,Gina

  16. Please don't stop!
    I regularly read you from Italy...
    It's very interesting. It gives me a chance to see how a normal family lives "down under"... and also understanding how you cope with a big family!
    Your blog is amazing, optimistic, full of creative ideas... don't dop, please!

  17. I only recently came across your blog and I enjoy reading it, so please don't stop. I also live in Australia (Sydney) and work part-time in a hospital.

  18. Amen!

  19. Hi Gina.. I know we don't cross paths very often in the blog world, but as you say it is great the way that it brings people together. No don't stop blogging. If you are worried about it, then yes, but you can always protect your comments..etc.

    I read lots and lots of different blogs and really enjoy it, but somedays I think oh I might just give up.

    Also not one of my family reads my blog..none in Canada, none in Australia, none in England ..NONE.Thats down to them but I know that I have some really good friends out there, and I have met some of them face to face, in Paris and two of these friends live in Sydney!