The world of blogging was a different place back in the early 2000s, with most bloggers writing about their personal lives and sharing their experiences with their readers. Heather Armstrong, the creator of Dooce, was one of the pioneers of the personal blog craze, and her blog provided millions of readers with intimate daily glimpses of her journey through parenthood and marriage, as well as her harrowing battles with depression. In this article, we will take a look at the life and legacy of Heather Armstrong, who was hailed as the “queen of mommy bloggers” and passed away at the age of 47.
Early Life and Career
Heather Brooke Hamilton was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and was raised as a Mormon in Bartlett, a suburb of Memphis. She attended Brigham Young University and graduated in 1997. After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles and worked for a tech company, where she taught herself HTML code.
The Birth of Dooce
Heather Armstrong started her blog, Dooce, in 2001, shortly after the birth of her first child. The name of the blog came from a typo she made while chatting with friends on AOL Instant Messenger, where she meant to type “dude” but instead typed “dooce.”
In the early days of Dooce, Heather wrote about her experiences as a tech drone, often sharing her thoughts on the absurdities of startup culture and the dot-com bubble. She even published some bro-ish pronouncements that she overheard at a company Christmas party.
The Infamous “Dooced” Incident
In 2002, Heather was fired from her job after writing candidly about her colleagues and the company on her blog. This event led to the creation of the term “dooced,” which refers to someone who has been fired for posting inappropriate comments online.
Heather felt guilty about the experience and cried during her exit interview. However, this setback opened up vast opportunities for fortune and fame.
Rise to Fame and Fortune
As personal blogs were becoming more and more popular, Heather saw the commercial possibilities of her blog. By 2009, Dooce had become a blog powerhouse, attracting some 8.5 million readers a month, according to a 2019 article in Vox.
Heather appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and wrote books, in addition to making money through banner ads, sponsored posts, speaking fees, and other sources. The news media dubbed her “the queen of the mommy bloggers.”
Personal Life and Struggles
Heather was married to Jon Armstrong, and they had two children together. They also worked together on Dooce and other business ventures.
Throughout her career, Heather wrote candidly about her struggles with depression. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and shared her experiences with her readers.
Legacy and Impact
Heather Armstrong paved the way for many bloggers who followed in her footsteps. She showed that personal stories could be powerful and impactful, and she inspired countless women to start their own blogs.
While her blog focused on parenthood and marriage, Heather’s openness about her struggles with mental health also helped to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Heather Armstrong was a pioneer in the world of personal blogging, and her blog, Dooce, provided millions of readers with intimate daily glimpses of her personal life as a Mommy and its perk and struggles.