Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why Blog?

The other day a friend of mine, who is aware of my occasional posts to this blog, asked why I do it. I don't think that the question was necessarily directed just at me, but toward bloggers in general. I think I was just a convenient person with a small amount of personal experience to ask about it.

I mentioned the simple case of the major blogs. In these cases I think it is pretty clear that the motivation is largely the ad revenue. For the bulk of bloggers, however, ad revenue rarely amounts to anything, so there must be other motivating factors. I suspect that there are almost as many reasons as there are bloggers.

The question got me thinking, both about my reasons for blogging and about why others write and read blogs. I thought it might be an interesting exercise to give my thoughts on my reasons for blogging and then solicit the readers of this blog to pass along their own thoughts on the subject.

I should preface my own reasons by noting that I am not a very involved blogger, so I am quite likely not very representative of the blogging community at large. I manage to write a couple of posts a month for a blog that is not primarily mine, and I regularly read only a couple of blogs. Because of this I expect that the comments of others will be more interesting than what I have to say.

The prospect of interesting comments is one of the main reasons that I post blog entries. I usually write a blog post when I feel like I have something interesting to pass along to whoever may be out there to read it, but I also look forward to what people might have to say about that topic. To be able to make a statement about something and then find out what others think about the topic (or about my opinion) is quite appealing to me.

As for reading blogs, I have come across a few that are reliably thought-provoking, or entertaining, and they make for an enjoyable bit of reading each day. Not only do blogs provide an opportunity to continue a dialog with the writer when I would like to, but they allow for a wider range of topics and opinions than I would find in any mass-audience commercial media. No matter that your area of interest or your point of view you can find someone who has something to say about it. If you are looking for validation you can find folks who see things the same way as you, and if you want a challenge there are plenty of opposing viewpoints out there.

Now, here is your chance to make this post into something interesting. I would love it if everyone (and I mean everyone) who reads this post would do me the favor of leaving a comment with their thoughts on the subject. You can think of it as your small payment for the content you have just consumed if that helps guilt you into commenting (that sometimes works for me). If you have a blog of your own I'd be interested to hear why, and for everyone I'd be interested to hear what you get from reading blogs. If you aren't excited about identifying yourself I'd be happy to get your comments anonymously.


wunelle said...

In many ways, this is the $64,000 question (or should we update that adage and call it the $6.4 Trillion question?).

The motivations you cite play a big role for me; I think my initial idea was to find some pen pals who would help me explore topics of interest to me.

But I think the biggest thing was that writing (or talking) is how I organize my thoughts about things. I learned this from keeping a diary for a decade, and when I decided to scratch the diary and move to a blog, I hoped to organize my thinking in a public forum. The fact that these posts now reach (potentially) a wider audience than my diary makes me think a bit more about what I really want to say.

I have no illusions about the quality of my insights or my writing skills, and I don't think of myself as an artist; but I do think the urge to blog just takes on its own momentum, like an artist's urge. It's hard for me NOT to write, and I always have 5-10 drafts going on things that interest me.

CyberKitten said...

Why do I Blog? To be honest with you I really don't know.

I enjoy the debates... I've made some friends (and a few enemies no doubt)... but it can be a chore & quite depressing when you see how low the hit counter is.

But I've had good times on my & other Blogs. I haven't thought about packing it all in for a few weeks at least... so I expect to be around for a bit longer...

But *why* do I Blog?

Beats me.....

truist said...

Fundamentally, I think this question is much like asking "why do we make phone calls?" or "why do we send email?" - there are hundreds of reasons. Blogging is just another form of communication... largely one-way, sometimes two-way, always public.

It happens to be an easy way to announce news and interesting things in a non-intrusive way, which is a fairly novel idea for a lone individual. It's like having a personal newspaper - anyone can choose to subscribe, but nobody has to. I can tell my stories, in any way I want to, and it doesn't interrupt anyone who doesn't choose to be interrupted. It's very socially gentle, and as such, I like it as a medium for communicating non-critical, but potentially interesting things.

For reference: is my blog.

Anonymous said...

I started a blog a couple of weeks ago. I think I mainly did it for a creative outlet. After a career focused education and well on 20 years in the drudgery of corporate life, I don't feel much inspired by anything at all. I am hoping that writing a blog will force me to a more contemplative life and, perhaps, a better understanding of myself.

I haven't blogged on anything of any significance, but it nonetheless feels like an intensely personal thing and, oddly, I am relieved when the hit counter shows that no one has visited my blog.

Dzesika said...

Three reasons:
1. To prove that I still exist;
2. To make sure that what comes out of my mouth/pen/keyboard is suitable for public consumption and not just a bunch of emo nonsense;
3. So I don't have to send the same 'how things are' email to the same 27 friends back in the UK. :)