Monday, September 30, 2013

Human Interest

We started letting Kate watch videos on YouTube because I wanted to fuel her enjoyment of gymnastics with videos of Olympic gymnasts and other competitive routines on bar and beam. That led to us finding videos of other little kids doing gymnastics, which I was also fine with.

One of those kids, however, turned out to be the child of a very camera-happy mom who appears to post at least one new, well-edited video per week of her three kids, complete with a theme song that plays while the kids' names appear over B-roll of the kids, like the intro to an '80s TV show or something.

Sometimes the videos feature a fun family activity, like going to a water park or doing silly makeovers on each other, and sometimes they are essentially scripted, the child gymnast acting out scenarios like what would happen if she found herself home alone, or if she woke up as a millionaire for a day. The dad is never in the videos, except for an occasional meet-him-at-the-airport video, and I get the impression that it began as an effort to show Dad what was up while he was traveling on business, or maybe off in Afghanistan or something.

In any case, Kate loves to watch this family's antics, knows the kids by name, and occasionally acts out a scenario she saw on one of their videos. I try to limit her screen time, and encourage the online videos to have their original purpose of athletic inspiration, so I get a little annoyed with her fondness for this random family.

"Why do you want to watch videos about some family you don't even know?" I might ask.

And then my words bounce back to me when I think of my blog reader. Why do I read stories about families I don't even know (or have only a tangential real life connection to)? Why do I smile when I see a new post from a blog I enjoy has popped up in my reader—complete with lots of photos from the latest family outing or birthday party?

Human interest.

The way "human interest stories" have filled glossy pages of magazines for decades, or given a "good news" angle to television news shows, blogs enable an extended glimpse into the moderately interesting lives of others—people just like us, or people not so like us.

This is why I started blogging, and it is why I started reading most of the blogs that I have enjoyed most in the past six or so years. I haven't posted here on The Parsonage Family in a month, partially because I've been busy and haven't felt like it, and partially because I confess I'm starting to get disillusioned with all the blogs that have replaced family stories and pics with sponsored posts, product reviews, and other trappings of social media success that make me feel like simple human interest isn't enough.

I applaud the success of those bloggers who are making a good supplemental income online. I still generally enjoy their posts, enter their raffles, and sometimes click on their affiliate links. . . but my favorite blogs to read are those who still embody the original meaning of the word "blog": web-log, essentially a diary or virtual family album. I love my college classmate in Texas and her play-at-home-mom adventures with her girls about the same age as mine. I love the mommy blogger in Arkansas, also with girls my own girls' age, who makes plenty of ad money on her uber-popular blog but keeps the focus on her family and on her readers. I love the single foster mom in NYC with two foster babies in a little apartment, with a vocabulary and aesthetic soooo different from all the Southern smocking and big bows of most of the blogs I read!

So, after a month's hiatus, I'm going to press on, sharing the sweetness of our little life. Here's a little glimpse of our last month:

Kate, workin' the camera as always (except when she's running from it, to be obstinate)

We visited our local farmers' market for the last time this summer. We joined a CSA, so we got to pick up a box of fresh veggies every other week!

Kate had her gymnastics "exhibition," basically a photo opp fund raiser for parents and grandparents to enjoy!

And they all got a trophy. Ugh. Don't get me started--that's another post altogether!

And I've been doing more classic scrapbook pages. Love it!

1 comment:

EMU said...

I don't like blogs gone viral either. Seems so fake. And weird that millions of people are following one family via the Internet. I decided a couple years ago to only read blog written by people I actually know, which keeps the blog reading to a minimum & doesn't make me feel like a stalker! Ha!

Glad you're back! I've been wondering where you were! (Is that stalkerish?) :)

And glad you like our blog! :)


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