The history of blogs can be traced back in 1994, with Links.net considered to be the first ever blog. Since then, blogging has come a long way: from being a fad to becoming an industry; from being merely online forms of the traditional personal diary to becoming a repository of valuable information. But what makes blogging even more remarkable is that it is democratic – anyone can easily launch their own. As a result, blogs have now become a staple of the digital world.
In January 2019 there were already more than 1.8 billion websites. That’s a lot of websites. And as most of us know already, websites are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose, ranging from entertainment and social networking, to providing news and education – or even mental health.
Blogs are essentially another form of website. At its core, a blog is a regularly updated website – typically managed by an individual or small group – that is written in an informal or conversational style.
There are blogs on virtually every conceivable topic, which makes blogging an effective tool to raise awareness about mental health. Indeed, the parameters of blogging offer the ability to show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood, and listened to.
With the ever increasing popularity of blogs, it makes sense that they should be adapted in order to improve the way people think and act about mental health. The exciting news is that across the world, people use blogs as a platform to share experiences, to increase awareness and understanding, and to offer comfort and support. It is comforting to know that mental health blogs are now being given recognition similar to that of the mainstream blogging niche. For instance, there are now awards solely dedicated for mental health bloggers such as the Mental Health Blog Awards.
Blogs – and the stories they convey – can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.
It might sound surprising to most people but there is a psychology behind blogging. An emerging subfield in psychology that focuses on the application of psychological principles and research in order to optimise the benefits that readers can derive from consuming blogs is known as ‘blog psychology’. A recently published article in the Psychreg Journal of Psychology explored the theoretical underpinnings of blog psychology, such as readers’ perception, cognition, and humanistic components in regards to their experience of reading blogs.
However, in spite of the popularity of blogs, its psychology is still emergent. There is definitely a huge potential to this subfield towards contributing to the discipline of psychology. Indeed, with the continued popularity of blogs, it is crucial that a specialised discipline be developed to encompass all forms of internet-mediated communication – specifically in blogs, such as the use, design, and its impact on mental health and well-being of its readers.
Potential theories of blog psychology may include the readers’ perception, cognition, and humanistic components in regards to their experience of consuming blogs. ‘Blog psychologists’ may also draw upon developmental and narrative psychologies and emerging findings from cyberpsychology. The theories and research in psychology could be used as the backbone of blog psychology and guide the discipline itself.
Conversations about mental health, psychology, and well-being play a crucial role in helping people feel better about themselves. Blogging gives people a chance to create these conversations. It allows people to feel more connected to the world outside their home through the internet.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.
He interviews people within psychology, mental health, and well-being on his YouTube channel, The DRH Show.