A few weeks ago I read an article in the New York Times about the oh-so-famous Heather Armstrong, aka "Dooce." 'Dooce is a Utah-based blogger who writes about her kid, her dogs, all the normal stuff. But she is insanely popular (I myself am a devoted reader,) because she is hysterically funny. She makes a story about putting her kid to bed SNL worthy.
The article also mentioned Gabrielle Blair, she lives in New York, but like Heather Armstrong, graduated from BYU, and who also has a nationally recognized blog.
It got me to thinking about how so many recognized bloggers hail from our humble state of Utah. (dooce, designmom, stephmodo, ect,) It also reminded me of how everyone I have ever met in my entire existence of growing up in Utah now maintains a blog. I have a sneaking suspicion that it may have something to do with our "Utah culture." We love scrap booking. We are, in general, a family oriented state who love to utilize technology to keep in touch. (Nearly every blog I look at states that their blog intends to "help you keep in touch as our family grows," or "keep our family and friends up-to-date on our adventures.") A lot of people may say this is due to our LDS majority, but I know plenty of non-LDS people who live here because it is a family-friendly community with affordable housing and lots of scrap booking stores.
Although I think it is great that our "Utah" values are now nationally recognized on the Internet and in the News, I have also noticed a slightly less appealing revelation about all these other, non-famous Utah bloggers.
We all write about the exact same thing. In the past few weeks, every other "Mormon Child Bride" has a blog post about the following things-
1) Their husbands graduation from college. (Disturbingly, I have seen very few posts about a wife graduating.)
2) How happy they are that spring is here, and an accompanying photo of the swimsuit they want to buy for the summer.
3) A "tag" where they list "where they met their husband," and "who does the dishes, or is more stubborn."
4) Pictures of going out to Utah's new Cheesecake Factory. Honestly, I have read about a zillion blogs all about the Cheesecake Factory.
Then they announce that their blog is "going private" because information about their choice of swimsuits or dish-washing preferences are so unique that they only want friends and family to know if they prefer a one-piece or a tankini. (I would like to make a quick tangent- If you are posting pictures of your kids, or other potentially dangerous info, I understand going private. But going private when all you talk about is going out to the Cheesecake Factory? Give me a break.)
It seems to me that we have a problem with group thought. If you are going to post pictures and stories about your life, how about posting something about how you are an unique individual, with thoughts, experiences, and perspectives different that every other tankini-sporting woman in the State? Why not set a goal to make your experiences with your husband as funny (or at least interesting,) as the ones on Dooce?
Perhaps it has something to do with fear. Along with our family-oriented values, living in Utah seems to come with a pretty heady case of "Keeping up with the Joneses," or "Huntsman's" as the case may be. It seems very important to my fellow bloggers that they show only the happiest, most magazine-spread- worthy aspects of their lives. If we actually reveal a story about how our husband is more stubborn, (instead of just claiming he is in a ''tag") we may appear less perfect. And that could be scary.
I know that come tomorrow all the blogs will have a picture of the author and their mom (usually at the author's wedding,) claiming that their mother is their best friend and so cute and the best mom ever and such a great example. Great. But after you honor your mom, I challenge you to the following: write something original. Write something a little more personal (What? You can post a picture of you kissing your husband over cheesecake, but not how you feel about the environment?) It can be silly, serious, funny or not, but please, for the love of all things holy, no more pictures of your swimsuit.
Oh, and one more thing. Next year, I want to see some pictures of all you wives out there wearing a cap and gown and clutching that diploma.