Question: Why Do You Blog?

Ok, I have a question for you.  I want to know why you blog.  The reason I want to know this is because I’m preparing a lecture on autobiography and blogging, and I want to know what the medium of the blog uniquely offers those who choose to blog.  I am particularly interested in why people choose to blog about their personal experience of the everyday, rather than those who blog for professional or business reasons; however, I do appreciate all thoughts, opinions and perspectives on this topic!

So, what does the form of the blog do for your writing?  Do you blog to help you reflect and articulate, or do you blog to share, connect and build a community?  If both, which is more important to you?  Would you blog if no-one was reading?

I will be using a selection of responses in my lecture, which is as part of an undergraduate unit at Stirling University on Digital Media, and I will be feeding back to this blog too with results and conclusions.  Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!!

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34 responses to “Question: Why Do You Blog?

  1. Hi Amy
    Good question, and I suspect there are many different answers. For me, the motivation to blog is the chance to write freely on topics that I enjoy.
    I write for a living, and my work is subject to scrutiny by editors, clients and ad agencies. This is of course important in ensuring that the work I do meets the requirements of those who commission it.
    With my blog I am the writer, editor and publisher. So I write about the things that I enjoy, and in a style that reflects how I feel at the time I’m writing. I can share a bit of myself with others, in the same way that I enjoy reading others’ blogs and getting to know them through their writing.

  2. Hi Amy, I’m going to give you the first answer that came to mind:

    I blog to find out what I think.

    So yes I would blog even if no-one was listening… but I do love to help connect up hearts & minds through digital media and that is a very big part of what motivates me. Plus the more I get feedback, the more I see what helps to ignite and inspire others.. the more I learn about myself (coming back to my first point)

    Looking forward to hearing more about the results of your enquiry x

  3. Hi Amy,

    I have a Poem Of The Week blog at http://potw.thingwright.com. I guess it’s not a conventional blog, since the entries are always poems. However, I also provide author commentaries for the poems, and these commentaries could be said to have a “bloggy” flavour.

    The reasons I started the blog (briefly, to counteract a wicked case of writer’s block) are described here:
    http://www.thingwright.com/potw/why-potw/

    The reasons I add the commentaries (and produced a similar set of commentaries for my new book) are described here:
    http://www.thingwright.com/potw/why-commentaries/
    and here:
    http://pb.konamacphee.com/extras.php?co=1

    The POTW blog has only a handful of readers, but I would still do it even if it had none, because it has turned me from a lapsed and apathetic writer to a proactive and productive one.

    Cheers,
    Kona

  4. I have an art blog to document my changing styles and influences. Consider it an auto-biography in progress…

  5. Hi Amy,

    I blog for a number of reasons:

    to promote my freelance writing
    to stimulate my personal writing
    to get past a block.
    I started blogging a few years back and loved the community feeling of the site where I blogged.

    I also like the freedom that blogging gives, if I want to write 2 lines I can, if I want to turn a problem into a poem I can. Ilike to read other people’s blogs and to see whether their blogs might be a map of their mind as mine sometimes is

  6. hi amy – a few thoughts that I hope will be helpful. I started my blog, 37days, as a place simply to capture stories I was writing for my daughters, so they would have a deeper understanding of who I am (when I die, given that the impulse for leaving my stories for them was my stepfather’s death just 37 days after he was diagnosed with cancer). I wrote for no one but them. If other people found the essays and read them, great. If not, I didn’t care. The blog form was convenient for me because it was a central capturing place. I didn’t even know what a blog was at the time – didn’t read any, wasn’t in the world of blogging. It was an available technology that I could access from anywhere rather than keep a notebook with me. I did everything wrong, according to blog “experts” – essays were far too long for blogging (1800-2000 words or more), blogged only once a week (every Monday I posted a story), etc. The urge was to story myself. That was it. Out of that writing has come the most extraordinary friendships and relationships of my life, people connecting across stories. When a publisher approached me to publish the stories as a book, it became something other. I’m working to regain the original intention and focus. I can either warn Hamlet or make the audience love me. I’d rather warn Hamlet. Some of my thoughts on writing are here, in case they are of interest: http://tinyurl.com/WritingRant

  7. Debbie Hildreth

    Thank you, Amy, for your post.

    As an unemployed writer | editor in a city (new to me), I started blogging to meet people, allow them to get to know me, and see how I could contribute to my community.

    My blog evolved into two blogs, both aimed at helping and encouraging others because that’s what I like to do.

    For me blogging is two-fold: 1) it’s a creative outlet where I can use my skill sets and 2) it’s a venue where I can do what I love most — helping others.

  8. I blog to find out what I’m thinking…

  9. Bonjour Ami!

    The question is a deceptively simple one that I have a multiplicity of answers to. Could you not have asked which is better, blue or red?

    As a pseudo intellectual, I am compelled to gather knowledge and information at an enormous rate and then to collate, interpret and diseminate this knowledge to an unsuspecting audience. It’s the knitting of data from raw materials to make wearable and enduring hypothesis.

    The opportunities to do this locally and to broadcast widely to such a diverse and knowledgeable audience, is greatly limited by geography, time zones, cultural barriers, etc.

    At the same time, blogging is a great way to capture, rationalise and consolidate or discard your own thought strings, opinion frameworks and hypothetical perceptive views of your developing vision of reality.

    If we can share our views from different perspectives then we can get a more 3D picture and if also we can circumnavigate the established sources that control the quality, flow and distribution of information and opinion, then we are one step nearer to a united global humanity based on collaboration and empathy.

    Apart from that, I enjoy the variety and social interaction that comes from blogging and assimilating the human experience.

    I wish you the understanding to realise and recognise success in all you do and the strength to share your compassion with others.

    Warm regards

    Ken

  10. I write my personal travel blog because I love to tell my stories. I also happen to be a lot better at writing them, than telling them. So, perhaps it’s for autobiographical reasons, but also so that someone, somewhere reads it. However, even if no one read my stories I’d still write them.

  11. Hello, dear Amy.
    What began as an efficient way to stay in touch with friends & family and to share adventures from our overseas teaching gigs (Mexico, Spain and Thailand) quickly became one of my favourite activities ever. Full stop. I loved describing the cities we called home and those that we visited; I fell deeply in love with the task of trying to capture those extraordinary moments that make up a life. As I tried to sort out exactly what kind of a blog I was writing (travel, expat, photography), I changed the blog name from “Barcelona Moments” to “Teacher Meets World”. When we moved to Bangkok, Thailand in August of 2009, I realized that the blog and I should share a name – Monna McD. (McDiarmid is a very difficult name to spell if one is not Scottish or Scottish-Canadian.) I take a lot more risks with my blog now than I did when I started it in 2006 and my photography has become a focus for the blog. My writing, however, has become secondary which is a shame. My work as an international educator means that I am quite careful with my online profile; there are things that I simply will not share on the internet. Ultimately, Monna McD has become my blog-house, my online pad. Blogging has made my life larger and richer and I have encountered many kind souls online.

  12. I blog, therefore I am. (There’s something to it!)

  13. I started blogging in 2004 before there were really bloggers. I keep blogging because I like to communicate. I’ve met amazing wonderful people blogging. It’s been one of the best things in my life. I’m grateful for the chance to communicate, learn, and listen to all the world.

  14. I love your questions Amy!

    I started blogging with the original intention to share some knowledge about a specific aspect of my lifestyle, but over the years my blogging has evolved into a signpost. A signpost of who I am for other people who want to find out along the way. But mostly a signpost for me, to remind myself of who I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going.

  15. So, what does the form of the blog do for your writing?
    Blog writing has taught me to encapsulate, distill, and clarify my writing. I’ve learned to dial down vast amounts of information into a series of short posts. No more long-winded, meandering lines of text!

    Do you blog to help you reflect and articulate, or do you blog to share, connect and build a community?
    I started my first blog simply to do the former. Once I discovered the Blogosphere, I blog mostly for the latter.

    If both, which is more important to you?
    Right now, it’s important to share my martial arts knowledge to those needing physical, mental, and emotional self defense skills.

    Would you blog if no-one was reading?
    Yes, if just to download all my self defense and emergency awareness skills in one place.

  16. I blog as writing practice to go with my photography practice. But I didn;t want it to be a sterile “I used this lens at this aperture” sort of blog. Often I only add a few words, but I love blogging because when the mood strikes I have an ever ready platform to write and share, often about what my art means to me. I like the sharing part.

  17. Hi Amy
    I like this question… I blog not because i’m a writer or its my job or anything like that. In fact, i was never regarded at school as being anywhere near a good writer or storyteller but i blog now – strange. Anyway, my blog started off in early 2008 as a place to log the up and down journey of one of my biggest adventures I’ve had in my life so far – hence the name, Project Everest. That adventure finally happened in April 2009 but the blog has lived on. I did toy with the idea of changing it’s name but i decided that it was always going to be Project Everest because it has turned out to be the chronicles (however simple or extravagant) of my life – my Project Everest… because we all have our own Everest to climb!

    I now blog because it’s the one place i can say anything i feel – well not *anything* but it’s a place where i can put what’s on my mind at that very minute. I used to plan what i’d write about but now i just get on it and write. I still don’t think i’m any good at this writing malarky but the readers seem to think there’s something there.

    Another thing about me is, I can write all day long on a blog but face to face I am very shy and reserved so i suppose the blog is even more important to me to get things off my chest that i would otherwise not be able to say face to face to people. I know that may seem a bit weird but unless i’m with people i really know i am as quiet as a mouse.
    So those are some of the reasons i blog. Oh I nearly forgot. Through blogging (and more recently Twitter) i have met some great and wonderfully amazing people and have made friends for life. That is all.
    :o)

  18. thenewbrunette

    the appalling truth is that i mainly blog because i am an egotistical monster. my blog takes the form of a diary, pretty much, and is rather self-indulgent in that it often consists of something i have observed or overheard that i have found amusing or that has prompted a train of thought. or it’ s an anecdote that involves me personally.

    and because i’m a bit lonely. i have lived alone with my children for over 5 years, and in the evenings have no adult present with whom to share the little stories of the day. so i tell my blog instead.

    i assume no-one is reading it, although i know this is not true. i write for an imagined audience, rather than the one i know exists. i like reading it back. i like writing it. i like crafting and editing it (to a LUDICROUS degree – i’ve been known to get out of bed to adjust punctuation). that’s all that matters to me.

  19. Hi Amy,

    I have three different blogs:

    A LiveJournal that I’ve had since 2003 (yes, very old skool). It used to be my only source of blogging that I updated very often. Nowadays, LJ seems very dated, and overtaken by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, etc. I main use this blog as a place to talk about myself, and give detailed accounts of what’s been going on to friends overseas. For me, it’s kind of like writing a mass email.

    http://aronia.livejournal.com/

    My blogspot: I’ve had this for almost a year, and I call it my ‘academic blog’ with a focus on the Gothic. If I have recently read a book or watched a film, this is where I let out all my ‘kooky’ ideas that I wouldn’t tell my supervisor! I also use it to take note of things that may help me or be of interest some time in the future

    http://frolickingwithdaniellerousseau.blogspot.com

    My tumblr: this seems like a new fangled cross between twitter and blogspot. It’s primarily a media blog, but I like this short and sweet approach because I know people can have short attention spans — tldr! 😉

    http://themachinist.tumblr.com

  20. I blog instead of spilling my guts about every opinion/thought I have on Facebook! LOL!
    That is how it started anyway. Sometimes people relate to what I write and other times I have no comments so I don’t know what that means for sure.
    I do know blogging makes me feel better and I LOVE to read other people’s blogs!

  21. Hi there Amy!
    I blog for me and also to reach out to someone – anyone who is interested and might be experiencing some of the same things I am. I have such a wide array of interest in everything around me and I love to share that and hear what others think.

    I am a writer, but my other passion is photography. Pictures fuel my writing oftentimes so blogging is a great way for me to combine the two.

    The other thing is that I am an opinionated person. I have viewpoint on many subjects that might not always be what everyone agrees with. What I try to do is create a discussion. I’m not looking for people to agree with everything I say. I AM hoping that it will get an open, respectful and productive dialogue going between those who don’t always see eye to eye.

    I blog because it is fun for me. It is an outlet and the fact that someone else might find it interesting is a bonus. If it helps someone else, puts a smile on their face or makes them think about something in a different way, that’s even better.

    Thanks!
    Tracy

  22. I started my current blog as a way to connect people to my writing/editing website and to give myself an outlet for the books and poems I am reading. I love writing the book reviews from a personal point of view and hearing from others about their reading experiences. But I first began blogging when I was separated and living in a new city as a way to reach out for community, especially spiritual community. I was home alone with an elementary school child, so going out to meet folks was not a regular option. During that time, I blogged semi-anonymously so that I could share some of my story. I found the most amazing virtual community, many of whom have become dear real-life friends, even though we are scattered across the country. When we gathered last year for the wedding of one of our blogging gang, people from every corner of the U.S. who had never met except through our blogs greeted each other like favorite, long-lost relatives. I dare say, in many ways, through our writing, we did know each other better than the family who had come.

  23. My blog is an effort to integrate my identities as a writer and artist. It’s a place to reflect. Unlike my handwritten journals, which only need to make sense to me, my blog is a place for more thoughtful reflections that (I hope) will be useful to readers as well as to my own process.

  24. I blog about why I blog all the time!

    http://www.mizzinformation.com/2009/07/sometimes-its-ok-to-do-it-wrong.html

    Basically because I love to write and sometimes it’s nice to have eyes other than my own on what I write.

  25. From diaries and journals, I evolved to blogging. There’s a difference though, with blogging everything becomes public, so I had to change my writing from complaining about my day and writing about me, me, me.. to something my imaginary “readers” would like to hear about. I also make sure I don’t sound preachy but still keep a record about my opinion on things. For some reason I can’t understand, readers seem to like personal writing. Must be the voyeur in us.. (referred to this question by Patti Digh at FB)

  26. I have pondered this question a number of times…I started blogging to jumpstart my flagging creativity. It was a way for my friends and family to see what was happening in my life…along with my progress or lack thereof) taking photos and writing about whatever strikes my fancy. I also very much enjoy the input from readers however that is not what drives my train 🙂

  27. The genesis of my blog was the prodding of a friend. I had sent an e-mail around to a group of friends, telling them about the book I’d just read that I wanted them to read, too (“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon, for those who are wondering) and one of those friends replied, “You need a blog, woman!”

    At that point, I didn’t know about Blogger and such. I thought I had to create my own web site. But realizing how simple it would be to create one, I did. Right away.

    That was five years ago. Since then, I’ve kept at it partly to make myself write every day. Or almost every day. Or whenever I can muster a post.

    But I’ve also discovered that sometimes, my thoughts develop on the screen, not unlike a Polaroid. I start a post with one intention, but my fingers and my psyche take me to an unexpected place.

    It’s a bit like archaeology, unearthing bits of myself that I’d long forgotten or hadn’t realized were buried.

    And sometimes, it’s a place for me to take a stand against the insane goings-on in the world.

    Some of my readers really hate it when I get political.

    But that’s their collective problem, isn’t it?

  28. I blog about disability issues. It is important to me that the things I have learned from my daughter who has Down syndrome are shared with other people in the same situation, and that the world hear about the disability community–both their needs and their gifts. I have a small audience, but I like writing and adding my thoughts into the world soup. I also really like all of the blog-friends I have met– it’s fun. Hope this helps!

  29. Hi Amy!
    I blog because I can’t help myself.

    I blog to build community, but it is self-expression, and I would (and early on, did) blog if no one ever read my blog.

    It gives me a structure for making sure I write, as I am committed to at least one post per week.

    Now, a few years into it, I blog because I have found such cool friends through the internet community.

    That’s about it. Hope your lecture if fab!

  30. Hi Amy,
    I blog to testify to other young widows that they, too, will survive.
    I blog to develop my writing, though of course, the more I read, the more frustrated I get, and I know there’s a big difference between being a good writer and a good blogger.
    I blog to build a community, as I engage in other social media channels I meet scores of others and find out that the validation I am (and many others too) providing is, indeed, saving them.
    I blog to find out what the world needs, by constant feedback and conversation I learn what areas I’m most useful in and explore whether I am any good at them.
    I don’t blog to get a book contract. Everyone’s doing that. Seriously, we all have great stories.
    I blog because I enjoy exercising my preachy, confrontational, and imperative voices.
    I blog so that my message has reach.
    The feedback loop is the thing that really makes it. Otherwise I could be a journal writer or journalist (and make a lot less, or a lot more money), but it wouldn’t be the same thing.
    I blog because it will be easy for me to build other blogs on other subjects. It’s a great way to start a business or market existing products and services, and again, the constant feedback.
    I’m lucky. LMK if you want connections to my hundreds of young widowed blogging friends. We’re an amazing bunch, if I may say so myself.
    X
    Supa

  31. I blog because it clarifies my thoughts, ideas and strategies I provide to my clients. It’s a cleansing of sorts.

  32. This is prob next to useless for your lecture Amy, but here’s my two shillings ha’penny anyway.

    1. Outlet: to write in my own voice, having for years (to echo Andy’s opening comment) written for others, got well used to editing others, being edited by others and inevitably editing myself preemptively.
    2. Sharing thoughts/ideas/info
    3. Need for an audience/attention / feedback (not a very cool admission I know, but being honest here!)
    4. To showcase my writing ability to potential clients/employers
    5. To ‘meet’ like minded folk who share some of my interests
    6. To learn about my subject areas. Amazing what I pick up from twitter and reader’s comments
    7. To understand social media dynamics in general, by doing it for myself instead of simply for an employer. You inevitably care more when doing it for yourself.
    8. To develop my style and have fun with language
    9. To have fun!
    10. To write lists which end in a pleasing round number
    So there! 🙂

  33. My blog works as a vent to my feelings and thoughts. I want the world to know what I think, and know their personal opinions about those thoughts.
    Again to read comments and complements about the things I think.
    Also to showcase my writing ability.
    Further, I write to hone my writing skills.
    And finally to enjoy my hobby.

  34. Good question and one I’ve recently been answering for myself since I’m really super-new to this whole experience.

    For me the answer is about this – the possibility of an audience changes the writing. It is less of a journal all of a sudden, slightly more structured, but not too much that starts to stop the writing process. And the act of sharing personal things in a public forum makes them seem less scary (i.e., shameful or weird).

    The act of choosing what I will write and won’t write is interesting and says something to me about the nature of my thinking. Somehow the act of writing for an audience (or really just an imagined audience) makes the writer MORE self-conscious, and somehow that’s a good thing. At least it feels pretty good to do.

    Would I blog if no one was reading? I am pretty much. But the idea is that someone COULD read and that seems to be the important part.

    For me, the community, the comments, that is really 2ndary and I can see how that would again change the experience.
    Somehow for me it’s about how the writing experience is impacted by the possible audience – I wonder if it makes it seem a bit like it ‘matters’ more?
    And we all want to ‘matter’…..interesting…

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