Written on August 11th, 2005 at 09:08 am by Darren Rowse

Blogging that Gives Hope

Blog News 9 comments

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.

9 Responses to “Blogging that Gives Hope”

  • have you seen the documentary ‘Murderball’ on the US quad rugby team?

    amazing stuff

    it’ll be getting a wide release in aust soon, but i saw it at MIFF :)

    btw - he seems to have turned his ’slashdot effect’ into good use with offering to hook people up who want to help with others not as well set up as he is… classy

  • Heroism isn’t anything like what the world thinks it is. The true heros are the once who face incredible challenges every day of their lives and improvise, adapt and overcome.

    It’s not a one-off event - it’s a way of life and anyone who faces the challenges that guys like Kenny do have my total respect.

  • what stuart said.

  • Oh, the feelings that gush out as I read your contribution!

    Hopelessness is the enemy, not healthlessness.

    having been diagnosed withMS in ‘97, and undergoing treatment since, I still function. I do have the use of my facilities, unlike many others, like Kenny.

    The dark places have my signature scribbled on the walls as I passed by, and am drawn back to visit occasionally.

    Raised on a cattle ranch in eastern New Mexico; horses, cows, family and faith have been my life. Horseman-cowboy athleticism is now behind me. Outdoors is no longer where I belong. I trail along behind the Techie tribe at 35 wpm. Sometimes, less than half that.

    But I can and do make a living on my own. I try to contribute more than I take, and to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

    Your blog has given me a reason to try this blogging thing. Hope. A candle in the tunnel of darkness that would trip and suffocate us.

    Thanks heaps,
    Jack (don’t even know if I should use a clever handle or not)

  • Hello Darren. You are absolutely right that blogging lends a voice to us. Ever since I openly admitted my incurable illness on my weblog, many people have come forward with supporting words and even kind donations. And since my illness is lifelong and potentially fatal, I also manage to inspire people to live ife to the fullest. In the end, I am the one who benefits most from the publicity because I’m rest assured that I’m not alone and there are many people thinking and praying for me. At the same time, I also manage to spread awareness about Neurofibromatosis and educate the public about this rare genetic disorder. Really, these things called the internet, blogging and writing are remarkable and are capable to do wonders, especially to those who desperately need a voice like myself. I dare not imagine how emotionally and mentally affected I would be without them.

  • I think this kind of article is what sets your blog apart from others that are blogging for a living. The fact that you share your knowledge, are happy to turn aside to matters that have no commercial benefit to you and listen to your commenters, makes a huge difference to your readability and relevance to others. Of course, I know that this, in itself, will add to your popularity and, ultimately, your income therefore, but that’s not the point; the point is that you wrote this with no thought of monetary gain at all. More power to your arm.

  • thanks Gone Away and others.

    I’ve been interested to the response to my request for readers to help Cary and Lori. Whilst there has been some really positive feedback and at least one donation made that I know of I’ve also had a few people respond negatively via email to me sending out an email to my newsletter highlighting this post - and around 30 people have unsubscribed from it so far today.

    Looks like we don’t all share the passion for sharing a little blogging love.

    I apologise to newsletter subscribers for the inconvenience of the email (and am not offended by the unsubscriptions) but I also stand by this small break in ‘normal’ ProBlogging activities and hope it has a positive impact as its intended to do.

  • Darren - unfortunately there are a lot of panhandlers (or to use a good Australian term - bludgers) on this planet and they have found rich pickings on the net.

    That turns many people off to those who are genuinely in need and it shouldn’t stop people from asking for help for those people who are in genuine need.

    I do find it sad that so many who are not prepared to give are not prepared to be open about there point of view and enter into robust debate about it.

    Steve Pavlina has an interesting entry today over on his blog that could certainly apply here.

  • Hello,
    I’m using my blog to help a friend of mine. Carol, a girl friend of mine was hit by a car in April and is now a quadriplegic. You can view her story on my blog. If you have recommendations or suggestions with anything, please let me know. She just got released from the hospital last week.

    http://amorefashion.blogs.com/my_weblog/

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