Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blogs-- the new daytime television?

I read an article in the New Yorker last night about Ree Drummond-- Pioneer Woman. I'm sure many of you are familiar with her. I mean, she has some 200 billion-trillion followers on her blog-- well, maybe not quite that many. I think the exact number is somewhere around 23 million page viewers a month.
Ree blogs about her daily life as a cattle rancher's wife. She's written a book, From High Heels to Tractor Wheels--A Love Story; and cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks. She's been on every major morning show, cooking, sharing about her idyllic life on their thousands of acres of ranch land, homeschooling her four kids, perpetually in love with her cowboy husband, Marlboro Man.

Ree's blog started as a way to stay connected with family and other adults, as life on the ranch is anything but socially engaging. She captures her days on her super-fancy Nikon, downloads the pictures, makes them look story-like, then lets the pictures inspire her content.

Why am I going through all this about some homeschooling, ranching, perpetually in love with her husband, incredibly talented and intuitive, ridiculously prosperous woman? I'm not sure, other than her blog intrigues me-- causes me to ponder a bit. It's fun, but I don't visit it every day. In fact, I've been to her blog once. I don't pine away all day, wondering what Pioneer Woman will share next.

But lots of woman do... over 23 million a month.

It dawned on me that Ree Drummond's blog is the holy-grail of reality TV via internet. It's almost like daytime television... in fact, one might call blogs like Pioneer Woman the new daytime television. Soap operas are dying to women living vicariously through someone else's ranch world romance.

I am sounding a bit critical here, and I don't mean to. I admire Ree Drummond. I'm incredibly jealous. Stupid jealous in some ways. Here is a woman, stuck in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma, who starts a blog and is now world-famous. She found her niche, simply doing what she inherently loves to do. In many ways, I'm inspired.

But, I guess what disturbs me, is how easily we (the proverbial "we") become sucked into others' lives--forsaking our own very unique lives individually designed and purposefully prepared in advance. I guess not everyone believes this to be the case, but I do-- or at least I say I do. Most days are a struggle to really live it.

Also disturbing are Pioneer Woman's critics-- those who spend hours making fun of her through counter blogs and twitter feeds. They read her posts then mock her; mimicking her voice and quirky phraseology; making fun of her daily monologue and criticize her out of their own insecurities. What wasted time and energy; self-destructive and soul rotting.

You know... I want to expand my blogging. It started as a way to connect with others who were adopting, too. Now it's just about our life and often I struggle to find content. That's seems weird-- woman with 5 kids, military wife, homeschooler, adopting older children, runner, reader, writer--however green this last one may be.

It isn't just content-- it's finding content worth sharing & the amount of time it takes me to write a single post. In the New Yorker article, Ree says she can blog with kids hanging off her earlobes (or something like that). Not me! I'm a slow writer, and if I spent the time editing each blog the way I do my articles for Elite, you'd never hear from me.


So... I'm curious. What does bloggy world do for you? Who do you read and why? What makes you follow a blog? How much time do you spend blogging-- writing your own blog and reading others' blogs. What do you think of the whole blog & internet culture?

These are somewhat random thoughts, but I wanted to share and hear your voice, too.

Grace and Peace,
Shari

2 comments:

Shannon@BooksDevoured said...

I am a "book blogger" and I kinda think that we have set ourselves apart from the rest of the blogging world in a way. We have our own way of doing things and it becomes almost like a formula. Reviews, memes, book covers... if seems like we all post the same things. The biggest difference is "voice." Even if we all say the same things we say them in different ways. I wish that I could expand more and read blogs that are not about books. As I look through my google reader, the only ones that are not book blogs are yours and 1 food one.

Because my blog reading is that focused I think my writing and therefore my followers are that focused. I have gained a lot of followers but I know that most of them came from giveaways. Ree has a very uniques voice and she also blogs about so many different things. That gives everyone something to connect to.

I spend more time on my blog than I should I think. Part of that though is the time it takes me to read the books that I blog about. I tend to be a fast writer depending on the subject. What takes me the longest is if I didn't like a book and have to be honest but polite. I also find the more I write the more ideas I get about what to write next.

To end my novel here I have to say that blogging has changed my life a little bit. As a stay at home, home schooling mom I felt like I did not have anything that was just for me. It felt like everything was about my family and while I love them I needed something that was just my own. Blogging has given me a large community of other book bloggers to interact with and I am grateful for that. It gave me a place to talk about my favorite hobby, reading!

Apryl said...

Shari,
I've loved reading your blog lately--and I agree with your post completely. Ree does a great job--she's interesting and talented and should be appreciated (but not envied..she's certainly got her share of rainy days with kids in a house running amuck, right?) Soaps and blogs are such a funny reference, but oddly it's true!

You are a doing a great job of finding your way in what to write lately. I'm still wondering what I'm doing there--aside from chronicling our lives for far flung relatives and the kids to read later.