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Ripping the Blogging Mask Off to Find a Real Person

I was reminded this morning of how blogging can change one life, change just one person, and often the person changed is the blogger, and that change can ripple out across the planet to create a change everywhere.

Our favorite blogger and friend, Robert Scoble of Scobelizer, is facing one of a child’s greatest traumas: the death of his mother. Yet, even in the middle of his overwhelming agony, he still thinks about his audience. While turning a business-oriented blog into a personal blog is a tough decision, Scoble, in an amazing statement said:

This is one of those times when I’m not sure what to write. The size of my audience is causing me to wonder. Most of you are probably here to read about my insider thoughts about Microsoft or the tech industry, or because I find cool links to various tech industry things.

But, life is intruding here and it’s my personal blog, not a PR vehicle, so gotta push those worries to the background and just write about what’s going on in my life and let the chips fall where they may.
From Billings, Montana, Robert Scoble

What courage.

I normally tell you to focus on your topic and keep it there, but I agree that the occasional tangent is good for adding a little color and “life” to your blog. Just don’t let it take over. Still, it’s important, once in a while, to rip off the blogger mask to let us see the real person underneath. We want to know you. We want to care about you, as well as learn from you.

While tears are pouring down my face with grief at the loss and suffering of our fellow blogger and friend, I want to share with you a profound lesson in all of this, part of what makes a difference between a good blogger and a top blogger.

Scoble is in pain, yet he never forgets his audience. His purpose is clear: educate the world in a unique and “got you thinking” kinda way. It is critically important to him that he makes you think, whatever the topic is. And it is equally important that his need to engage your brain also generates results. He wants you to turn your thinking into action.

Even in his pain, he is telling you to communicate with your loved ones. Remind them that life is short and let’s deal with the sucky parts of this now, while we are talking and have good times ahead, so that when the bad times come, we’re ready and all playing by the same rules.

I’m reserving my real emotions. But, let’s just say that this is about the suckiest thing I could imagine. Turns out she’ll be lucky to live out the week. She [Mother] signed a do not resuscitate order and told all of her friends and family to let her go if she was going to be in such a state. Thankfully that took most of the hard decisions out of our hands. But it still was tough not overriding her wishes.

If there’s some good that might come out of this, please sit down and communicate with your family about what you’d like to have happen in a similar situation. Do not leave these kinds of decisions to your next of kin.
The Motherly Instinct by Robert Scoble

Your courage is tested when facing the death of a loved one. What an amazing honor he pays to his mother by sharing his thoughts and her wishes with the rest of the world. What a gift to all of us.

And I hope that his courage is a testimony to all of us. Not just in dealing with serious personal issues in a “professional” blog, but also how he is using his platform to make a difference in the world. Hopefully, changing the world.

The issue of dealing with death with dignity is one that is in front of our faces right now. With an overwhelming “old” population base, these healthy elders will be dying off all about the same time, naturally, overwhelming those left behind. Unless death can be handled with dignity, unless the spirit of our wishes on “how we wanna go when the time comes” can be kept, death will be messy.

Talk about it. Get it in writing. Make sure everyone knows and everyone cares.

But most of all, let Scoble’s words remind you of the importance of family. No matter how ugly they are, family is family. As my mother so often says, “Get over it!” Get to know them before they go. Find out who they are, why they do what they do, why they did what they did, and create a powerful memory of who your parents and loved ones are outside of the roles of “mom”, “dad”, “brother”, “sister”, etc. These are people who had lives without you as well as with you. Learn about them. Care about them.

And make sure you understand what their final wishes are so you can honor them.

And Robert, I hope you got shoulders big enough because you got thousands and thousands of people wrapping their mental arms around you in a giant hug. Thanks for sharing your pain, and your challenges to us, and thanks for everything you do. We all want to do whatever you need to help you through this, but right now, knowing we are out there, whether or not you can see us, is the best we can do. Anything else, just ask.

The hurt will be there for a long, long time, but you are turning the hurt into pride and honor for your mother’s life well-lived. She lives on in you, by her example and by yours. We thank her and you for continuing your family’s proud tradition.

Thank you and know you are loved.

Copyright Lorelle VanFossen


  1. Robert Scoble
    Posted May 18, 2006 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, I really appreciate this!

  2. Posted December 4, 2006 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I recently wrote about my sadness at the death of an uncle.

    I wasn’t sure whether to write about something so personal.

    But perhaps those are the most important things to share, and can make the most difference.

    We all need reminders that we don’t know when life will end. Our own life, or that of anyone close to us. It’s easily forgotten in the busy routines of daily life. We live like everyone and everything will go on forever, pretty much the same. And when we unexpectedly lose someone, the most common thought is: If only I’d known, I’d have devoted more time to them.

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