Many bloggers revealed quite personal details of their lives while protecting their identity. Others revealed little about themselves while posting about every subject I could think of, and a few beyond my imagination.And now for something completely different. Allow me to introduce Heather B. Armstrong, a.k.a. dooce. A good southern girl raised in Tennessee, dooce not only does not follow most of the rules, she has made up her own. A web designer and early blogger, in 2002 she was fired from her job in in L.A. for her (she thought) harmless observations on her (she thought) anonymous blog. In doing so she added a word to the language of the internet: dooced "Losing your job for something you wrote in your online blog, journal, website, etc." She may have been the first, but she has not been the last.
Since then she has married, moved, and had a daughter, Leta. Her continued blogging, with its cautionary employment backstory, has evolved to include her pregnancy, severe postpartum depression and recovery, living as a no longer practicing Mormon in - of all places - Salt Lake City, and motherhood.
Her site is now very not anonymous, yet it contains personal information usually shared, if at all, with the closest of friends. She takes wonderful photographs from around the house and neighborhood, posting one each day. Not surprisingly her web site is a model of clear and effective design. She also writes well. It is a very unusual blog.
Her site has gained quite a following, making it and her rather famous. NPR interviewed her several weeks back and last Sunday she and her daughter were featured - among others - in a NY Times article (registration required), including a photo of Leta in mother's lap. About 40,000 people visit her site daily, about 39,992 more than mine. She is up for four (??) Bloggies this year.
There are those who are put off by the perceived self-absorption and self-importance of bloggers, and the subject matter and language used on many personal sites (dooce could make a sailor blanch before turning red-in-the-face). Dooce would be an easy target for those so inclined. And Heather may be a little tightly wound for some. But there is something refreshing about this blog that keeps me one of her 40,000. For better or worse, dooce is real. Heather, husband Jon, Leta, and dog Chuck are like that typical young couple down the street who are always up to something. I wonder if they would like to come over one evening, sit on the porch and have a beer?