I just stumbled (via Linkfilter) upon a blog over at MSN Spaces called typical guy, atypical situation – a blog written by a guy named Kenny who is a quadriplegic that is getting massive attention at the moment through his blog. He was featured on MSN Space’s main page and had 80,000 visitors in a day as a result.
I’m fascinated by this story for a number of reasons – firstly because his content is very good and gives a real insight into the life of someone who is going through something I can’t even begin to imagine. Secondly on a purely blogging level I’m fascinated by any blog that gets that type of traffic and how it impacts the blogger.
And lastly I’m fascinated because I’ve long thought that blogging has the potential to give people going through incredible hardship hope. I’ve been toying with some ideas around this for a while now and Kenny’s story has again got me thinking.
A couple of years ago in the early days of my ProBlogging I saw a report on TV which featured a young guy (in his late teens) who had had an accident that left him a quadriplegic or paraplegic (I’m fuzzy on this detail). They talked about the weeks and months that followed the accident and how he’d been to some pretty dark places. At some point along his journey someone had put a computer in front of him and helped him to set up a website (it looked like a blog but the report didn’t call it one).
The young guy began to write about his experiences. His posts were open, raw and filled with emotion. A similar thing happened with him as what I see happening over at Kenny’s blog. He got a lot of attention and ended up with thousands readers – many of whom were in similar situations. His writing connected with many and gave them hope. It also gave him hope and purpose as he realized that he could make a difference through his writing. He found a voice that he’d never have had if it wasn’t for his site. He also found something he could actually do with his time – something that defeated the boredom that he’d been struggling with.
As I watched the report I was quite moved as I saw the potential of the humble blog to give hope to both writers and readers. I also began to wonder if blogs might actually have the potential to help this young guy on another level. What if he put ads on his blog? What if he started more blogs on commercially viable subjects? What if blogs could give him a means of income in addition to the voice he’d found?
I’m not sure where my stream of thoughts will end up – so far it hasn’t gone much beyond suggesting that people start blogs (Cary did – and he’s done an amazing job at building a wonderful site) but every time I think about it – and talk about it with others – I find myself getting excited by the ideas that come. Maybe it’s time I did something about it rather than just talking, thinking and admiring the work of others.