When it comes to personal blogging, documentary isthe default genre. There are plenty of blogs that serveother functions, but many blogs are primarily cataloguesof the life experiences of their author. Although thereare quite a few blogs that focus on collecting poetry andother forms of creative writing, the vast majority ofpersonal blogs are in some sense documentaries.
For many years, the act of making a documentary wasmeant to be an objective act of reporting the sights andsounds that the filmmaker, writer, or photographerencountered. However, in contemporary times there hasbeen a movement towards embracing the subjectivityinherent in the documentary form. This means thatmodern documentaries often reflect the distinctivevoice and sensibility of their creator, and the fact thattodays documentaries often revolve around personalityblurs the lines between documentary and memoir. Blogsrest somewhere between these two genres, muddyingthe distinctions even further. Personal blogging,documentary, and memoir are now irrevocablyintertwined, for better or for worse.
Although few bloggers think of themselves as makingdocumentaries in any formal sense, every timesomebody sits down in front of a computer and types upa record of their day, they are documenting their ownhistorical moment. The things that we take for grantedabout our daily lives, like the way that we use specificmodes of transportation, or the kinds of products thatwe buy, often seem quite fascinating to people who livein circumstances different from ours, and it is this kindof fascination that is at the heart of many documentaryprojects. When people think about blogging,documentary is not very likely to be the first adjectivethat crosses their minds, but a few decades down theroad it is very likely that todays blogs will be seenprimarily as very subjective documentaries of our era.The people of tomorrow will almost certainly look tothe blogs of today for insight into our historicalmoment.
When it comes to blogging, documentary may not bethe aim of most people who spend their time postingtheir thoughts and ideas on the internet. In some ways,the documentary aspect of blogging is more of a sideeffect than a primary goal. However, the fact that somany people are interested in publishing these publiconline diaries shows that personal blogs are about morethan just rumination. The fact that bloggers are sostimulated by and interested in sharing their ideas witheach other reinforces the idea that personal blogs are, insome ways, documentaries meant for publicconsumption. Documentaries appeal to people who arecurious about other ways of life, and many people whoregularly read others personal blogs are looking for thissame kind of new perspective.