Riham's Blog



Autobiographies and blogging

I have finally started reading Les Confessions de Rousseau, as it is a book we’ve studied time and time again in high school, and I have always wanted to read the whole thing, and it is what got me even thinking about this.

My favorite genre of books to read has always been autobiographies. I have always enjoyed them, as they provide the reader with a sense of reality. The fact that the person in question is writing about his/her own life makes it even better, as we not only have events listed, but we can witness the author’s analysis, justification, or input on the issue at hand. Writing an autobiography also poses many challenges on the author, which we have all learned in school. Let’s look at some of them  depending on their relevancy to what I would like to discuss.

The challenges faced by the author

  • Bias – It is commonly accepted that it is difficult for a person to distance themself from something that concerns them, and look at it in an objective manner. How do you report the events, accidents, feelings that have happened in your life when they are only looked at from your point of view?
  • Having something to say – Not every person should write an autobiography, because let’s face it, not everyone’s life is interesting enough to even generate material to discuss and analyze.
  • Generating Interest – Let’s say you do have a lot to say, you’ve overcome your bias self, and you wrote a good and objective autobiography. You’ve poured your mind and soul into it and reached self improvement, or whatever it is you are trying to reach to begin with. The question is, will people read it?

How are autobiographies similar to blogging.
I don’t know about you, but I can see some similarities.

  • Bias – Bias is a concern if you are trying to report on events, mainly political in the case of Lebanon, that are happening. Bloggers may not be journalists, but if they are to be used as a source of seeing the “on the field” action, then they must try to remain objective. Of course opinions could be stated, but let’s assume a foreign person wants to read what’s going on in a country without going to news sources. A (Lebanese in this case) blogger should, for instance, avoid repeating the same sectarian divisions and opinions, and report things as they really are.
  • Having something to say – This is an issue that we always read about. Who should blog? Should your blog touch on one specific subject? Should all business men blog? Basically, anyone can blog, but the question is whether they should. There is certainly no point in doing so if you do not have anything to say, if there is no reason for the existence of your blog.
  • Generating Interest – All websites measure traffic, and bloggers should too. It helps them view which posts are viewed the most. They also need to know their audience. Just like an autobiography would be written differently in each period, a blogger also has an audience to write to. How much that is taken into consideration in each context is relative though, as many authors have been criticized for their work which was ahead of its time and was not accepted by others of the period.

Technology & the Internet: New Challenge for autobiographies
The general idea is usually that technology is facilitating the marketing of new products, by creating more awareness about celebrities and what is happening to them, and promoting their doings. But it seems to me that all it is doing is killing the need to even write your autobiography. Think about it. Who usually writes their autobiography? Famous people who have an established fan base (or hate base). People think of this person as different, out of the ordinary, so they would want to read a book about their life and how they got to where they are. However, when I am able to read a celebrity’s tweets, watch the press release they make about a certain incident that happened to them, log on foursquare and follow their day-to-day movements, go on Wikipedia (for convenience) and have their life broken down into pieces and categorized by career, love life, controversy, along with many articles on what they said and what everyone else said, would I really want to read their autobiography? When they come down from this admired and famous person, to an ordinary one just like you and me, it gets a bit challenging for me to find interest to read more.

One thing is sure, if Rousseau had tweeted:
@Rousseau Mme Lambercier gave me a fesses, and it hurts so much but felt good at the same time. This will define all my future relationships! WEIRD!
(This is 140 characters, I checked!)
I am not sure I would spend a lot of time reading his analysis of why or how it happened. Although this may be a wrong example due to the creepiness of it, and I would probably want to know why a spank meant so much to him, but you get the point, I hope.

Thoughts?

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Comments

  1. * Mich says:

    I love autobiographies too… of course the good and interesting ones… Great post :-))

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 11 months ago
  2. Been writing mine for about three years here on wordpress; perhaps you’d be kind enough to let me know if I have anything worth saying ?

    | Reply Posted 6 years, 8 months ago


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