One of the best-known personal bloggers (those who provide more of a diary than a soapbox or reporting service), Heather Armstrong has been writing online since 2001. Though there were personal websites that came before hers, certain elements conspired to make Dooce one of the biggest public diaries since Samuel Pepys’s (whose diary is itself available, transcribed in blog form, at Pepysdiary.com).
Primarily, Armstrong became one of the first high-profile cases of somebody being fired for writing about her job. After describing events that her employer – a dotcom start-up – thought reflected badly on them, Armstrong was sacked.
- The incident caused such fierce debate that Dooce found itself turned into a verb that is used in popular parlance (often without users realising its evolution).
- ‘Dooced – to be fired from one’s job as a direct result of one’s personal website’.
I like babies but I couldn’t eat a whole one
Behind Dooce stands an army of personal bloggers perhaps not directly influenced by, or even aware of, her work – she represents the hundreds of thousands who decide to share part of their life with strangers.
Armstrong’s honesty has added to her popularity, and she has written about work, family life, postnatal depression, motherhood, puppies and her Mormon upbringing with the same candid and engaging voice. Readers feel that they have been brought into her life, and reward her with their loyalty. Since 2005 the advertising revenue on her blog alone has been enough to support her family.