I’ve been blogging for about four years now and it has been strange to see how in that short period of time, or rather, even in the last year or two, how blogging is taking off in a big way.
When it comes to social networking and the internet, in my small sphere of contact and experience, it seems that in terms of the Western World, the US and Canada are ahead of the rest of us, France is seriously lagging behind and somewhere in the middle ground, catching up and gaining momentum is the rise of the Mummy Blogger in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
People who didn’t know what a blog was a year ago, have suddenly discovered new found talents and passions in the world of new media and all over the world, it seems that, particularly stay at home mums (SAHMs), are blossoming, connecting, and finding a new genre of friendship.
When I was at Uni studying Applied Languages, we had to translate a fascinating article relating about futurists or rather, an agency which specialised in predicting future trends and advising on upcoming product development for global companies. Ordinary families identified as future trend-setters by their current actions, spending patterns and leisure activities, were monitored and given access to prototypes not yet on the market so that they could test them and give their verdict on them.
I was transfixed. Of all things that I remember about my degree, that one article stays in my mind like a bright spot in the three years of study I did. And now, looking about me in the blogosphere, observing lightening changes in the way regular joes like me do daily life, it feels like taking a peep into the future.
I am struck by how we, particularly mummy bloggers, are not only discovering a vast creative potential in ourselves, but also how even as physical communities are diminishing, with neighbours no longer looking out for each other, or even knowing their names, in an online world, the opposite is happening - doors are being opened, connections that would never have been possible before are being made, friendships deeper than ‘real life’ friendships are being formed.
Blogging is a hugely powerful influencer of people’s spending habits, their family culture, their parenting, their mindset. It is an extraordinary phenomenon. Those who would, in the past, have done extraordinarily things that had gone unnoticed by the world at large, now find notoriety, be it positive or negative, as their work goes viral.
Borders are crashing silently around us and yet, those who don’t blog, who still see blogging as the domain of political ranters and cynical radio journalists or politicians trying to boost their ratings, are completely unaware of the social revolution that is taking place around them and of what it might hold for them.
Craftivism is rising. Every time a disaster occurs around the world, women who perhaps felt impotent to help, now can make a practical difference when they band together and help those needs.
If Facebook were a country, it would have more citizens than Russia.
Blogger fame is certainly going to rise as individuals gain an almost cult-like following and begin to gain recognition in the ‘real world’. I was blog-hopping to a couple of US sites, intrigued to find that in places like L.A., PR luvvies now invite influence-wielding bloggers with over 10,000 followers on all-expenses paid holidays or to Hollywood parties in order to gain trustworthy endorsement of their products. Curious to see what content these bloggers offered, I was surprised to see some sites were light on actual writing but are crammed with advertising as companies leaped on board and followers who were following simply for the freebies, giveaways and kudos of following someone famous. Is this what our future holds or is it simply a reflection of consumer America? Will bloggers gaining fame in Australia reflect the no-bullshit attitude of Australians in general or will they succumb to corporations desire to use everything in their scope to further their marketing goals?
Its exciting, inspiring, bursting with potential, and inevitably fraught with danger too if it all gets out of balance. What will the future hold for our families, for our grandchildren? Where will social networking and blogging take us? Are we just riding the wave and discovering where it will take us or are we actually deliberately shaping our future, deciding now where we want the wave to take us?
Despite all my wonderings, there is one thing that delights me. All around me, I see grass-roots organisations springing up, very often started by women who are discovering a huge mine of creativity and potential in themselves that they never knew existed, women who have given themselves over to rearing the next generation and sharing their hearts, their discoveries and their experiences with others and opening themselves to a whole new world.
Are we just riding the wave and discovering where it will take us or are we actually deliberately shaping our future, deciding now where we want the wave to take us?