Diaries and blogs

Female blogger working from home office

A diary is a personal record of events, thoughts and feelings – usually arranged in chronological order. They can be handwritten and private – or might be uploaded to the internet as a ‘blog’. The origin of the word ‘blog’ is as an abbreviation for ‘web-log’ – that is, an online diary of sorts.

Blogs are written by many people all over the world, for lots of different purposes. They are often informative and interactive, enabling readers to post their thoughts or ask questions. Some blogs focus on topics of interest, such as health, music or art – ‘how to’ tutorials are popular too, eg for styling hair or crafts. These blogs appeal to followers with similar interests, creating a very specific audience base.

Diaries and blogs:

  • Are usually quite personal – written in the first person from the writer’s point of view.
  • The language can be more creative (literary non-fiction) when the writer is publishing their diary or blog. This could be to entertain or to help the reader imagine events and feelings.
  • The tone can be formal or informal depending on the intended purpose and audience, eg a travel blog might be chatty to encourage the reader to share fun experiences. It could also be serious if recounting travels through places where there is extreme poverty.
  • Tenses can vary – diaries and blogs tend to be past tense but can use present tense to bring an event to life for the reader.

Blogs can also be used by organisations to communicate informally with their audience. Because they are online, they can be regular, and respond to events quickly.

While you might not be asked a question about a blog in your exams, diary extracts do appear and can be either 19th century or modern.

Example

This is part of a post from a blog about one girl’s interest in fashion.

Since she was just 13, Tavi Gevinson has attracted international attention from the fashion industry, after the New York Times picked up on her fashion blog Style Rookie. She is now 20 and is the editor for online magazine Rookie alongside her blog.

STYLE ROOKIE

APRIL 21, 2016

Today I am 20. The Crucible, in which I play Mary Warren, opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre three weeks ago, March 31st—also the eight-year anniversary of this blog. I have a lot of trouble comprehending that writing Style Rookie led to writing for other places, then starting Rookie, then being able to audition for plays that I love and to be inside of them for long periods of time, which is an inexplicably wonderful way to live a life. But I am really really really insanely thankful for all of it, and many of you have followed for a LONG time, and that means a lot. Right now, I'm very slowly writing something that I hope will effectively articulate the strangeness of the way these all overlap—the fictions we get to try on via diary/blog-keeping, and acting, and personal style. But that's a longterm hermit project. I just wanted to mention it because in my attempt to briefly list recent stuff I've been up to, I may sound callous, but: None of this goes unexamined or unappreciated.

Since my last update:

I went on tour for Rookie Yearbook Four and got to meet Rookies across the U.S. It's always surreal and the very best heart-nutrition to see long-time readers and meet new ones!

Recent Editor's Letters for Rookie about stuff like: Glory, Assembly, Potential, Truth or Dare, and Cult of Personality. In my letter for the theme On Display, I also wrote about David Bowie.

I am also hanging out with the coolest/cutest girls in the world in the video for Carly Rae Jepsen's song "Boy Problems," which Petra Collins, Rookie photographer and personal partner-in-crime, directed.

Style Rookie, Tavi Gevinson

Analysis

  • The blog's title “Style Rookie” is informal, appealing to a younger audience who might see themselves as “rookies” (beginners) too.
  • It opens in the present tense “Today I am 20” – this signals a significant date on which she has chosen to stop and think about the end of her teenage years.
  • The first person creates a personal and conversational feel – like Tavi is speaking directly to the reader.
  • Listing the events “then…then” quickens the pace to convey how quickly everything seems to have happened to her.
  • Alliteration reinforces the positive statement “wonderful way to live a life”.
  • Unusual metaphors eg, “hermit project” and “heart-nutrition” shape a distinct idiolect – giving the reader a sense of Tavi’s originality and ways of speaking.
  • A young, fun tone is created with repetition “I am really really really insanely grateful”. The word “insanely” is slang for ‘very’ and implies she cannot control her happiness.
  • Further informal words and phrases, eg “stuff”, “hanging out” and “coolest” continue the youthful register.