Thursday, 19 March 2009

Blogging for Charity

Blogging is a strange thing. My husband encouraged me to start this blog to market Revolution Baby but as I write I still wonder who really cares what I think about Toys R Us or schools closing in snow. As far as I’m aware I only have two readers – Al Humphreys and my mother in law!

I was therefore excited to receive an email from Hotels Combined - someone else had read my blog! And they had a request - all I had to do was mention HotelsCombined.com in my blog and they would give $20 to one of their selected charities: WWF, World Vision or the Make-A-Wish Foundation. There, I’ve done it, the money is earned for charity and I can close now. But no, being interested in details I decided to tell you more.

Hotels Combined is a leading price comparison system used by over 25 million people every year. They aggregate and compare accommodation prices from all major sources such as Hotels.com, Travelocity.com, Priceline.com and many more. It is a free research tool helping users find the best priced accommodation option. If required, the reservation is made directly on the compared websites.

What I found more interested was their marketing technique, what a great way to promote your company by approaching bloggers to mention you for $20. Then I started thinking about the phenomenon of blogging. I wonder why I feel a compelling need to expose my thought processes to 1.5 billion Internet users. If you think about it, it’s extremely arrogant; you’re presupposing that you are important and or interesting enough for a stranger to spend their precious time reading about.

I was grateful to Bryan Appleyard in the Sunday Times for admitting it’s addictive. He lists many reasons for blogging; intimacy, exposure, the ease with which you can reach billions. For me the reason which resonated was “the relief involved in getting something instantly off my chest”.

This, I’ve realised, is why I blog; sharing my thoughts with anyone who might be passing is a form of free therapy. If no-one reads it, it doesn’t actually matter; the mere act of expressing myself serves the purpose.

My blog is often an outlet for frustration. I have thoughts I think are valid and want to express, so I dump them on the net and feel better that I’ve offloaded my rant. It’s actually a harmless way of anger management, you don’t abuse the kindness of friends by making them listen and you don’t make embarrassing mistakes. Take my entry about schools closing in snow. That started life as an email to my son’s headmistress. It’s probably best for all involved that it ended up on my blog.

Sometimes I’m testing book ideas. I’m writing a “mum’s diary”, Brigid Jones for those with children. Today’s working title is “There’s Always One Pooing: The Diary of a Mum-of-Three”. So, if you love or hate one of my entries, please write and tell me. Bryan Appleyard states that with the rise of the Internet “people were dazzled by their power to connect and communicate”. What I love is sharing ideas, the hope that someone out there might relate to what you write. That is what I hope mums will enjoy about The Diary.

According to BA it’s all about connectivity – you comment on someone’s blog and they come back to you. Hotels Combined are going to list my blog in their charity centre, http://www.hotelscombined.com/Charity.aspx. I advertise them, they advertise me, who knows who might read what and visit my blog or price up a hotel, more strands woven on the extraordinary Internet web.

At least this particular post has a purpose: I’ve mentioned Hotels Combined and they’ve given $20 to charity. But in doing so, I’m just realising, I’ve managed to focus the whole entry about me! That, I’ve decided, is the reason blogging is so popular - it’s the ultimate self indulgence because, even when you’re blogging for charity, it’s all about ME!

3 comments:

Emma said...

Hello Saffia...I recently read RB (finished it yesterday in fact!) and I really enjoyed it. I went to Russia a few years ago and it brought back memories of tall grey buildings and how hard it is to say hello! I'm also a mother and have hopes of one day winning the lottery and dragging my kiddies around the world. Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I liked RB and I'm looking forward to your next book.

Saffia Farr said...

Hello Emma. Thank you for writing to say how much you enjoyed Revolution Baby. It always means a lot to hear from readers. I am working on my next book but it is still very much in note form. It's a mum's diary - working title "There's Always One Pooing" as when people ask me what it's like having three children, that's my reply! If you would like to go on the mailing list so you know when - if! - it's published, please email me at contact@saffiafarr.com

Saffia Farr said...

After my doubts it's very heartening to discover that people do read and enjoy my blog. A friend from Oman has just written this:

By the way, I read your blog often and love it! Even though I live over 3000 miles away, don't experience snow, don't, and will never experience a milkman delivering milk (or even a postman delivering a letter) in this part of the world, I just love reading about all your day-to-day news and views. Perhaps it's because I did grow up with all that, and with you, that I love reading your blogs.