Blogging: A very Millennial thing to do.

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While meeting Pocahontas and establishing the first ever English colony in North America, Captain John Smith encountered new land, cultures and languages that he had never seen or heard of before. To provide people back in Europe with an account of his travels, he famously kept several journals during his time in the New World. This did more than make him a celebrity of the times: It gave people information about a part of the world that none of them could have ever imagined in real life. This diary style of writing was an early example of a “blog,” where John Smith’s experiences could be marketed to others in Europe to encourage them to come to the New World and strengthen the British Empire.

Fast forward 400 years, and today’s concept of a modern-day “blog” is something that was born during the explosion of the World Wide Web in the 1990s. With just a keyboard, a cup of coffee and a little free time, a person has the power to share their life experiences with the world. Whether it’s talking about making different exotic recipes, traveling around the globe, improving the lives of others, playing a sport or even being a parent, the Internet allows anyone to call themselves a writer. Granted, you may not initially be on the same level as Arianna Huffington, a commentator so popular that she was able to co-found her own website, the Huffington Post. But the ability of every young person reading this article to go create their own blog is there. And according to Forbes, it’s happening more than ever before.

So why is this the case? One reason is that we have grown up in an age where people seem to be more comfortable with sharing details of their life online. We are connected to hundreds of people on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr,, etc. Every time you go on one of those websites and share a story from your life- being accepted into college, a crazy experience at work, a family barbecue, ending a relationship or starting a new one, you are contributing to your own personal blog. While the website may not be yours and there may be no profits from it, every story you share has been received by hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of people. You are not just some random person spouting off about their life, you are a blogger.

Blogging, of course, can be used for many more purposes than just entertainment. Writing about football and Game of Thrones fanfiction can make us smile, but some of the best blogs make us scratch our heads and think, often about issues that we do not experience personally. One such blog I have personally encountered is Africa-On The Rise, an award-winning website dedicated to highlighting development in the African continent through the eyes of its young population. Reading about the achievements young Africans have made in studying artificial intelligence makes me happy for the future, but I also feel angry and determined when I read about the political freedoms that people in many African countries are still being denied.

The bottom line is, the Internet and social media have created millions of talented bloggers that add large numbers of useful information every day. Some posts act as a remedy to sadness and self-doubt, while others work to truly change the world and influence the conversations that we have as a society. If we are the generation that loves to share ideas, what better place to put them than on the Internet, a global system where no piece of information can ever be permanently deleted?

 

Matthew Engel