I had a comment recently from a spasmodic reader who has described my blog as "commenting on my world on a a more or less daily basis". I guess that's a fair summary. I never expect to go viral though some bloggers have or/and parlayed their blogs into a full-time famous career. Julie Powell comes to mind, who began her blog reporting on her experiences as she cooked her way through Julia Child. Not sure of the sequence but her blogs became a best-selling book and then a movie, adapted by the American writer/director Nora Ephron (1941-2012) into a double whammy: Julie and Julia. I've mentioned Neil Pasricha, too, who blogged his way out of depression after a divorce and a death, by trying to think of something nice - awesome, in fact, every day. His happy blogs became one, two and three books, starting with The Book of Awesome. Travel blogs are a sure hit; so are cooking (see Julie Powell) and self-help, and happy housekeepers' hints.
I'm so old - long before blogs - I can remember a kooky woman called Heloise who had a daily newspaper syndicated column, called "Hints from Heloise" with cute ideas for saving money, being efficient, managing the home, and various miscellaneous suggestions for improving one's life. I remember one hint: put a colourful oven mitt on your car aerial so you can find it in a parking lot. Later, I used to rely on my car telling me where it was when I pushed the button on my keychain fob to make it honk at me. I wrote recently about my inability to find my way. These days it wouldn't be a problem with a GPS device, but I no longer have a car and I don't believe in cell phones. (I'm on my way to being a Luddite.) So, returning to my initial question:
What is a Blog?
It's an essay, I think we can agree about that, although Addison and Steele, the 18th century essayisits/newspaper columnists, would have trouble with what passes for essays these days. Too short, they'd say, too disparate, too informal, and so on. [Note: Joseph Addison [1672-1719] and Richard Steele [1672-1729] founded and wrote for The Spectator, a popular, influential periodical (aka magazine) that lasted from 1711 to 1712 - longer than that. I had to study them when I was at University (Honours English), but that was a century ago.
I came across a list of various types of essay (aka blog?). Here it is: collaborative essay; dramatic or dialogic essay; polyphonic (?) essay; long poem essay; meditative essay; personal essay or witness essay; visual essay. Wow. What a challenge! I'll see what I can do.
But I don't think I'll ever go viral.