Are family blogs over? Long live the hard copy
May 1, 2018
For years, I kept a blog with updates about my family. School events, vacations, celebrations were written up and posted to the blog, along with lots of photos. The blog was a more convenient way to share with family and friends in the Lower 48 than putting together letters home. And the service was free. Over time, I bonded with the blog; it became a family diary. I enjoyed browsing back through the entries, seeing pictures of children as they grew up, remembering funny adventures, seeing the home renovations and transformations. Then along came social media, Facebook to be specific. Rather than craft lengthy blog entries, it was just so much easier to post a photo and caption directly from a smartphone. Any and everyone in the family could and did contribute this way. Entries to the blog dwindled and eventually ceased altogether. I’d often feel guilty about it, having invested so many years in those posts. I’d make a resolution to resume, only to slow down and stop altogether after an entry or two.
Then it occurred to me that the blog was a victim of change, just like the snail mail letters stuffed with photo prints that it had replaced. Rather than worry or mourn, I decided I needed to bring closure to the blog, and found just the way to do it. Put it in a book. After some searching, I found several online services that will convert web blog pages into page layouts for print. I experimented with a couple and found one I could be satisfied with, even if it had some shortcomings. I produced a hard copy book and gave it to my wife on Mother’s Day. It wasn’t inexpensive, but she was delighted and I was relieved – you never know if or when the online blogging service you’ve relied on may suddenly shut down, or start charging money. The book put a backup of my memories in my own hands, literally.
It’s an option I don’t hear about often, but I encourage bloggers, and their friends or family, to consider. The service I used is blog2print.com, however there are others. And as mentioned earlier, the books were not inexpensive, costing over $100 each. But the services frequently offer sales, bringing steep discounts if you time your order right.
Here’s another example: four years ago, one of my close friends passed away suddenly from health complications. She’d had many wonderful passions and pursuits during her life, one being a blog she had developed and worked on diligently over several years. It was devoted to cooking, and in her posts was a wealth of recipes and expertise, with tips, commentary and photos. They remain online, but I was distressed by the idea of all that work, the love she put into her kitchen and writing, vanishing due to an expired web registration or other technicality. I had no control over this, but I learned I could create a book from her blog posts, just as I had from my own. I talked with mutual friends, who enthusiastically offered to chip in on the costs in return for some copies of their own. I recently received the package from the printer, with several copies, and know it will be a great keepsake for all of us.
David Washburn is the Senior Voice editor.