Why Do We Blog?

A week or so ago I gave myself the assignment of conducting a survey for the IT Kitchen:  "Why do you blog?" I asked.  I like easy answers, and by asking others perhaps I hoped to find the easy answers for myself.  Certainly, I thought, it would be valuable to compile insights from some of the articulate digital self publishers known as "bloggers."  Little did I know it would turn into a hobby.  Here are reflections from thirty-five bloggers, an even three dozen if you count me.

Anne Mathewson of Fishbucket says,

Herman Melville put it best when he said, "We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results." A perfect description of blogging, don’t you think?

I started blogging some years ago largely to pass time and share experiences. A small part of me, however, was selfishly hoping for admiration and affirmation; a shallow attitude I’ve long abandoned. Eventually, I discovered the joy found via "invisible threads" and "sympathetic fibers" – those human connections made along the way. Blogger tend to be a lovely comfort of strangers.

At Anne’s Fishbucket there is a link to Epic and Epic is perhaps a foreshadowing of, or a hearkening back to Fishrush (what fish do when they’re late)…  a blog that itself was perhaps a foreshadowing, and certainly an influence on those of us who enjoy a vision of the medium as a matrix for creative expression and multimedia disemination of information… a blog of which no trace remains, even in Google cache, although Andrea James continues to guard the domains for us all.

 

Why do I blog?  I blog to meet people like Anne Mathewson and Andrea James.

Brian Moffatt says he blogs

… because I believe that there is only the particular and singular in life. It’s that voice thing. I don’t want to beat that to death, but I had this conversation with a blogger the other night. The first I had met in real life. I mentioned to him – a new blogger – that one of the things I really enjoyed was watching someone new to blogging develop and emerge. Seeing their voice emerge. Like a burlesque. Peeling away the layers of clothing, the self-consciouness rising and dissolving, the tentativeness, the self-loathing, the self-pity and then BOOM – there she is! The naked Blog writer. Preferably a she.

The singular…though the causes of an event are forever and always multiplicitous. I have always been a great reader and writer of letters. Great in the sense of volume. As a reader: the letters of writers, the letters home from soldiers, personal correspondence. That sort of thing. I love eavesdropping on conversations in restaurants. I love speaking with poeple on airplanes. I’m not much at dinner parties or in groups. Listening, because you never know when someone is going to toss off a gem.

As a writer, I love sitting down to blog. When I start a post I have no idea where I’m headed. I love that freedom. I do write otherwise. With outlines and plans. Strategies. But blog writing is like going off for a walk with no predetermined finish time or route, sometimes the walk is through the fields, sometimes along the streets. The typing: different from what I might write with a pen, the pen being much closer to the heart. The typing taps into some place in my brain. I think my best writing comes when I am not thinking. I’m just writing. Or at least that’s the way I can look at it when a post is linked to. Which is ulitmately the best part about blog writing. Getting a reaction.

I rarely reread my posts. Hence the tremendous number of typos and grammatical errors. But for me, that’s okay. I’m not the most anal person in the world. But it’s very much what I look for elsewhere. The flaw. The scar. The fingerprint. The idiosyncratic. The weirded-out turn of phrase. Something close to the hearth where the meat burns in an instant and leaves your face all warm for a bit. I love reading something I’ve written and thinking ‘geez who wrote that?’

And the bestest bestest part about blogging is that I always find someone else who sums it up – whatever it is – better than I ever could and rather than say "Hey I was thinking that" or "Gee I wish I had written that first" I can now say thanks for writing that – saves me the bother.

Thanks Frank.  I really do appreciate the fact that you will take the time to read this, correct the typos, and other errors. Saves me the bother! That’s important I think, too. That we take the time. I was vaguely aware of Shelley’s efforts with this IT Kitchen thing and I really couldn’t figure out how I might contribute. I hope this helps in some way.

Now back to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

 

Seth Finkelstein amplifies Brian’s observations regarding the particular and the singular subject matter with his comments regarding an audience comprising "three regimes – one, few, many."  Why does Seth blog?

Short Answer: "To be heard"

In my view, there are three regimes, roughly:  One, few, many.

"One" == Diaries. Some people keep their diary on-line, and don’t mind if others read it.

"Few" == Socializing, chatting. The intended audience is close friends, and events only of interest to that circle.

"Many" == Punditry. The goal is to reach as many people as possible with your ideas.

These categories aren’t strict walls, but are general aims.

Some blog evangelists are (local) celebrites who find that a huge number of people are interested in the evangelist’s diary and chat, so the evangelist gets the silly idea that diary and chat will revolutize society ("Emergent Blatherocracy"). The evangelist then has an annoying tendency to tell the unsuccessful pundits to be happy to write diary and chat.

The lovers of diary and chat think the wannabe pundits are ruining the neighborhood, commercializing the pure art.

It’s all as varied as any other writing and art/commerce differences.

Why do I blog?  I blog to connect with geniuses like Brian and Seth.

Aww shux, and Mike Golby of course… Mike Golby says he does it because I told him to.  He’s right of course, but I didn’t think he’d remember:

You told me to.

"Do you blog?" were, I believe, your exact words.

I used to have a life before meeting you, Paynter. Now I have a bloody blog (well, okay, the blood’s courtesy George W. Bush).

As for the blog, I don’t know how to thank you :).

And Niek Hockx points out that blogging

…beats dating sites! Sexy American women fly halfway across the world just to have sex with a furriner. Well, you know… it’s that babe magnet thing!  😉

Being a babe magnet myself I know how he feels.  In fact, I sometimes think I blog for the opportunity to meet hot babes like Leslie (Madame Levy) Winer.  Leslie says she blogs because… well, follow this link to see what she says.  Like most of her work, it doesn’t permit the quick quip or simple excerpt.

Speaking of hot, and why not? Here’s Gillian Gunson:  My simple answer: I’m a passive-aggressive attention whore.After visiting Gill’s blog "gillianic tendencies" it doesn’t seem that simple.  (The researchers among us can find her earlier postings in Google cache.  Thank you Google.)

Dervala Hanley says,

When I set up my first Blogger account three years ago, the form asked for a tagline. For want of anything better, I put "A love letter." By the time I had fifty thousand words on the clock, it got a bit clearer what I’d meant by that.

It’s all about lurve, baby.

I blog for the same reasons that Alistair Cooke read those Letters From America until he was ninety-six or seven. I’m an emigrant. My family is thousands of miles away, and my friends are scattered around the world. Each entry is a letter home, wherever that is, and it’s also a letter _about_ home, wherever that might be.

It’s a love letter to some kid not yet born, and to the friends, strangers, sisters, exes, and former classmates who might stop by. (Funny how those circles overlap.)

And it’s mostly (even when I’m cranky) a letter about the things, people, and places that I love. I could store up enthusiasms until I burst, but writing them down is a better way to absorb and share them.

 

I haven’t much interest in the debates that seem to go on–that weird A List thing, the blogging-versus-journalism angst, the schism between warbloggers and cat diarists. I’m not much of a linker or an argufier. I still hate the word ‘blog’.

My blog is a message in a bottle with a FedEx tracking number. Hello World.

Dervala is of course a writer.  I noticed that in general writers responded to this inquiry – journalists, marketers, poets, pundits, and prose artists – and every and any combination of those things.  Bloggers are first of all writers.  We have different motives for our work, but writers we are.  I blog because I am a writer.  I am therefore I think.  I am therefore, I think.

This posting, this contribution to the IT Kitchen was conceived as a "genre" piece — an opportunity to explore the variety fo genres practiced by those writing in weblogs.  Lacking a taste for the obvious, and having procrastinated beyond the permissible bounds of common courtesy and the demands of the medium for immediacy, I think it’s time top throw in the obligatory Dylan lyric and get on with things…

I don’t want to straight-face you,
Race or chase you, track or trace you,
Or disgrace you or displace you,
Or define you or confine you.
All I really want to do
Is, baby, be friends with you.

Tom Matrullo:

Frank Paynter asks: Why do I blog?

Why Frank, why???

At the onset, it seemed a novel experiment. One had what seemed an offer of new modes of conversation, expression, and sharing — evolutionary steps toward a new social imagination. The possibility of creative cross currents unevacuated by petty egoisms, status plays, the usual.

More: it was the thought of mingling one’s preoccupations and whims, moods and epiphanies, in the vast ocean of other people’s stuff like that. Who could say what might come of it? And not just other people of the present, but of other times. One of the early blog posts I recall producing was a wondering look at how, as the web develops, more of the past will be linkable. The future held the possibility of recovering the past to a greater extent than the present. The past, which had no digital network, was lost to itself as soon as it occurred. This all seemed quite the right thing, and it was before Google, so it was with a touch of awe that I thought of one’s blog as an extension into a stream growing newer and older simultaneously, extending its threads forward and back with inexorable and sticky energy, until, perhaps at its end, it would, through a commodius vicus of linkification, sink deep into the foundations of our moment in time. The web would capture the juicy bug, and it would be, voila, the web.

In linkiness, after all, Socrates or William of Occam is no farther than, say, David Weinberger. Triangulated in the Mondrianic atemporality of the web, Mme de Staël and Monteverdi stand uncannily close to Marek and Jeneane.

So, one could entertain the thought of having a conversation with extended webs of others who were constellated through time and space – fermenting conversations that could be revisited, meditated, shared, commented, extended.

There was also the notion that perhaps USians, who (as their fearless leader confirms) sometimes have trouble with small things like grammar and courtesy, could develop new, more frank and civil modes of exchanging views. This and the wildass thought that we’d see new styles; new modes of authorship; new kinds of sourcing; new collectives; a new generosity of thought and feeling.

And to some extent some of this gratefully has happened.

But I gotta say, there has been, for my admittedly spare appetite, a whopping portion of folk who appear to ascribe to blogging certain attributes of centrality and paramountitude, as though blogging, qua blogging, were so self-evidently large and significant as to justify a degree of involuted, consuming, micro-referential self-preoccupation, thereby yielding a bumper crop of blogging personae burgeoning as celebrated varietals: genii, sages, boon companions, gurus, epochal voices, prophets, fans, artistes, legends, wiccans, shamanettes, and the like. The subtropic ocean chilling to a frozen hail of pundit droppings, coupled with the followings, the groups, the A-listings, the snarkinesses, the whole chattering entourage of pettifogging middleclass bourgeois expression in the television/newspaper age, writ large and long, in saecula saeculorum, which did in fact, alas, materialize, amen.

In light of which, why blog now? I’m not sure…to make some notes? To keep in touch with some people whom I read and who sometimes read me? To continue to hold out hope that something of a different spirit could animate what is, at the moment,  a less than inspiring prospect? There’s a very long pan used by Fellini in Satyricon, I think, which moved across a giant apartment complex in ancient Rome, from one home to the next, each living room filled with screaming Romans, a vast columbarial hive of vociferousness whose apex of roaring expressivity was a self-canceling volume of amplitude resolving itself into an indecipherable hum.

Maybe it can be more

Marek J.:

Frank and all you other people.

I know I sent you a note yesterday about it but this is an expanded version which has been approved by the Head Janitor at Kombinat! who has the ultimate editorial rights. Nothing goes out on the internet without the Janitor’s approval. So here is the official version of why I blog:

"The artist in his calling of interpreter creates because he must. He is so much of a voice that, for him, silence is like death" – Joseph Conrad.

There are moments I am fully aware of the passing of life, a life I build and maintain using conversations and relationships with other people as my construction material. And with this life passing I know that my constructions are a mere temporary housing for the humanity I get to look at sporadically, and I hope that perhaps some of my pieces of construction material and methods shall be used by others as building blocks to afford them better glimpses of humanity within themeslves, chance will tell. This is why I blog and because it allows me to be famous and appear on CNN and also because I am asked opinions, interviewed by major newspapers and TV stations and I was quoted in NY Times twice. This is why I blog and of course the money is good too.

Head Janitor of Kombinat!

On Nov 26, 2004, at 4:59 PM, fpaynter@sandhilltech.com wrote:

Okay.  It’s official then.  We blog to live and live to blog and the money is what really motivates us.  Also the hot babes.  I have a lot more women hitting on me these days than I did when I was a famous hockey player.

fp

Frank,
I am sorry I can’t talk to you right now. I have two hot babes on my lap and they are making me very busy.  I am showing them your blog and they just love it.

Marek J

From the HUGHTRAIN…

Hugh Macleod:

Whyblog_1

…and from the Cluetrain

Chris Locke:

Why I blog…

Before I was a blogger, I was a zinester. I started Entropy Gradient Reversals while I was working for IBM because their stupid fucking PR fascists wouldn’t let me write. I thought they were way too clueless to discover my zine on the net — it was, after all, the IBM Internet Division — but I was wrong about that. Fortunately, I resigned for different reasons (recurring homicidal fantasies) 30 seconds before their lawyers were about to come down on my ass. I’ll skip the part where the security dogs sniffed out my office for C4. Good thing all that was before 9/11, or I’d be writing this from a federal pen.

I also started EGR because I found that most print publications would not let me write fuck as many times as I felt like it. And that pissed me off. Fuck! I felt much more comfortable on the Internet where I could express my deepest feelings. Which are: fuck, fuck, FUCK!!! Not necessarily in that order. Also, I wanted to compete head to head with David Weinberger’s JOHO in a death-match contest of wills and skills. In this I was successful, naturally, as David is clearly the better man, and thus made the mistake of  fighting fair. Eventually I forced him to name me the Official Scourge of JOHO on the promise that I’d stop harassing him in public.

Then Doc Searls started blogging — this was after Cluetrain and all that — and I was both impressed and intimidated. Impressed because Doc is so good at the form. Intimidated because I really don’t know fuck-all about computer technology, which it seems is all anybody wants to know about in this godforsaken medium. Well, that and techno-libertarianism, which is the deadly politico-genetic pathogen you get when you cross Ayn Randy "objectivism" with a Pentium IV. Be sure to catch my forthcoming novel, Atlas Blogged.

It’s not all fun and games any more, like it was in the beginning. I do have a few complaints about all these goddam normal people who’ve managed to get themselves online. But at least I get to say fuck a lot. Which is all I ever really wanted to do anyway. At base, I’m a simple man.

And I say to myself… what a wonderful world.

Doc Searls:

I blog for several reasons.

The original reason was that Dave Winer badgered me into blogging, and kept on my case to make sure I knew how to use the tools.

After that I blogged because doing cc: world was cooler and more leveraged than doing cc: (some finite group of people). it’s still like that. I literally see blogging as emailing to everybody.

The third reason is that I’m a writer. As Rollo May told us a while back, writers are unique among creative types because writers alone believe that the world really needs to hear what they have to say.
Painters, sculptors, poets and other artists do not suffer this illusion.

The fourth reason is to participate in the creation of a world which, as Dr. Weinberger and I put it in World of Ends, nobody owns, everybody can use, and anybody can improve. That’s the long-term goal of everything I write. I want to make the world a better place. That’s one reason, aside from temperament, that I hate getting into disputes. Flame wars on the Web are small examples of the real-world wars in which human beings kill each other over insults that matter less than the lives those insults put at risk, given our easily offended and vindictive natures as human beings.

Note how the four reasons increase in length. I don’t know what to make of that.

David Weinberger:

I blog because I’m a writer, because I work alone, and because I’m slightly obsessive.

As a writer, thanks to blogs I’m more intellectually stimulated than I’ve ever been in my life. I can’t get to sleep because I have ideas I want to respond to or that I want to instigate. I bolt out of bed in the morning to get in a little more time thinking out loud and thinking together. The water’s  boiling with our ideas.

As a lonely guy, I like hanging out with y’all.

As a mildly obsessive personality, I can’t stop myself. On the other hand, why would I want to?

Michelle Goodrich:

I blog mostly because insomnia is more entertaining at a keyboard. I’ve learned a lot about people all over the world, people I would otherwise never get to know. Through their blogs I learn about everyday life in faraway places. We are all so much alike.
HTML and CSS are universal so we are able to communicate ideas in code. I think we all wonder why we blog.

Shelley Powers:

You know, for the life of me I couldn’t answer this one. I guess I’m hoping for intimacy…with people I’ll most likely never meet. And now I’m depressed.

Renee Blodgett

#1 WHY I BLOG

Since my blog is so new, people have been asking me what its about and why I do it.  I have friends with blogs specifically dedicated to technology, politics, music, photography and public relations, and yet I am not so focused, probably because I’m passionate about too many things. And perhaps because a blend of different topics allows that passion to come through in a voice I don’t hear in quite the same way inside a blog about one thing.

Blogs should show personality. If you pay close attention to someone’s human side, you’re bound to get a fresh perspective certainly a good reason to read a new blog or have a new conversation.

If I connect with someone through their blog or anything else they do, I may not want to hear about their trip to Walmart but I might be interested in hearing about their joys and pains, their thoughts on spirituality and politics. Are they blue or red and why?

I write about technology and blogging, but I also write about politics, music, entertainment and life’s daily smiles and grind. The latter is of particular interest to me through my recent East Coast West Coast transition.

One of the things I’ve noticed since I started this blog is how much more attention I pay to the details, whether its something someone says or a painting and its vibrant colors – or not — on a shop wall. If you really want to see the effect that blogging has had on me or how much more perceptive I have become since I started blogging, read my Let Music Take you blog post.  This is the reason why I blog and the reason I recommend others do so. It should tap into your inner passion and pull it out, kicking and screaming, wanting to share with others in ways that will entertain, heal and teach people.

Frankly I want to write about things that make us feel human.  For me, it’s the humanity I see in a blog that keeps me coming back for more.

#2 WHY I BLOG (My Mothers Kitchen Blog Post)

A few blogger friends are facing some heat over their steady flow of anti-Bush posts. Where do we draw the line? How much of our personal side should we show on our blogs? Or should we not express our feelings about causes, politics, economics and religion on a blog that also represents us professionally?

Isn’t that the idea of a blog? I didn’t start a blog to leverage my business although it certainly could and may be a great idea. Many newcomers are drawn to blogging as a business tool or publicity stunt.

And yet, that’s not what drew me and many I know to the world of blogging. Despite the fact that the ‘role of the blog’ has changed over time and will continue to morph as their value unfolds, I’m not sure the feeling that creating a blog post invokes for so many of us will change.

We may create new blogs with different voices on different topics as the tools evolve. Today, I see the blogging experience in a way that many women view the world.

I remember sitting in the hallway floor as a kid, listening to my mother and her friends talk in this 1940’s kitchen.

They would connect about everything over tea and sometimes a martini — their children, their husbands, Vietnam, politics, whether they should get a part time job. They would chat about the neighbors, community support programs, family get togethers, the church where they volunteered or the annoying woman in town who just joined their Bridge Club.

I’d listen eagerly and later, go find where the men were hiding out, only to discover that they were watching a sporting event on TV….and barely talking at all.

I think of my blog like I do my mother’s kitchen, which was warm and inviting. I vividly remember the colors, the smells, the texture of the carpet, the soft yellow walls, the faces and personalities who passed through over the years, the left out pie on the counter after a gathering.

We all had a favorite room we retreated to as a child and today, as an adult…you know, the room where we go to disappear and just be ourselves.

When I log on, I’m entering one of my favorite rooms, a place where I can think, express, be myself just like the women in my mother’s kitchen.

Here, I write whatever comes to my mind; things that I’m passionate about, people I care about and issues that disturb or alarm me.

It’s my view and politics are one aspect of my view and everyone else’s view who is passionate enough to write about the Bush Kerry circus. If you believe strongly in something, you stand up for it. Your medium may be through the written word, music, dance or lectures, but bottom line, you stand up for it.

These are the things that make us feel alive..beyond the wonderful physical experiences of feeling warm rain on your face, seeing a sunset and remembering how lucky you are, feeling the force of a strong wave wash you to the shore, running barefoot on a beach or rolling in autumn leaves with a child.

Theo:

I saw your post and thought I’d give you a few thoughts.

I started blogging about four years ago on a deadjournal.com account. My purpose was to journal about my feelings and thoughts on a daily basis in order to aid in my recovery from drug addiction. Being an extrovert, having the possibility of someone else reading my ‘stuff’ helped me keep at it. While at deadjournal, I met another blogger who had the abilities to set me up with a personal URL and design. She offered. I accepted, and www.theophany.us was born. My early entries where still oriented to process my recovery, but as time progressed I branched out into other forms of expression. Now, although my blogging is still mostly personal in nature, I use the forum to share original poetry and prose, thoughts and ideas, and occasionally a photo or two. It is sorta like having a conversation with others where my part is spoken and then ‘hangs around’ for others to come, respond to, and move on. It is both timeless and personal in that way.

My blog is now very much an expression of myself.

I do, however, limit the topics to personal matters. It would be very rare that I engage in controversial topics (religion, politics, etc.), or attempt to pursuade others to my thoughts. I simple share aspects of my personal journey, and it is rewarding to have others respond. Mostly, I have found the blog community very respectful and caring. I guess others have not. Perhaps I just don’t incite controversy?!

Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

Sheila Lennon:

I’ve descended through many layers of answers on this one.

I blog because information is energy. I absorb it, maybe add  to it and pass it on.

thanks for asking.

Jim Roberts:

While I could probably give some long drawn out explanation of why I blog, the truth, as it usually is, is simple. I blog because it extends me in a way that affirms who I am. The affirmation comes from knowing I can be myself and not be alone in my thoughts, dreams, and fears. Plus blogging’s got a great beat and you can dance to it.

Amy Wohl:

I blog because I like a place where I can post things I want to say immediately I have a newsletter which goes out theoretically once a week (and actually a bit less often), but which is more measured and edited.  The blog is much more about the rush of passion.  Also, I’ll write about more personal things than IT trends and business models (like politics) that I wouldn’t send to my formal newsletter mailing list.

I also have a personal (hobby) blog on food which I’m still getting into the habit of posting to at least twice a week.  I’m working on it.  It’s pure pleasure – sharing how I feel about what I’m cooking, shopping, eating, reading about food.

 

Ray Sweatman:

Jeez Frank,
i dont know why i get out of bed, much less blog 😉

It was good to hear your actual voice.

Well here’s the smart-ass response I gave many moons ago:

Because vanity plates are too restricting and Play Dough is no longer a viable option.

A more ‘serious’ response might take some thought:

but for me i suppose it’s just a way to keep me writing.

Soul space baby, a rage against the machine,
the one without and the one within.

 

A way to connect with others whose voices refuse to go down easy, fighting and screaming against the final flood of corporate conformity.

Like i said:  see the first response 😉

ray

Liz Ditz:

I blog so I know what I think. I blog because Google & other search engines are a faster and more reliable way of searching my memory. I blog so that I will be able to externalize some troubling thoughts. I blog because there are truly remarkable people in the world, who perhaps would not be recognized by the world. I blog to connect with persons who share some (if not all) of my values.

My sister Janet wrote to her next-door neighbor , who had only met me as a garden consultant/builder/boss of intinerant workers, and who obviously thought I hadn’t the intellectual chops/capacity to blog,

Believe it or not, I DO know what a blog is. I”ve told Lizzie that I don’t go to her blog because I know it will send me into a late hour computer session.  Lizzie was always a voracious reader. When we were growing up, if I ws looking for her in the house, she would be so consumed with her book that she would not respond to anyone calling for her, I would usually be able to find her by following the "crumb trails" of apple cores, olive pits and (later on) cigarette butts. My Dad told me once, " each of you girls are pretty smart, but Lizzzie is REALLY smart, the real brain of the family."

The internet seems to be an ideal conduit for Liz’s passion for truth,knowledge and the written word and given her a outlet for offloading all the ideas that cram her cranium.

On my father’s side we carry a love of writing. Even Maddie seems to have gotten it.

So there you go. I blog so I can offload all the ideas that cram my cranium.

Anne Galloway:

I blog to keep track of my research – both its content and process.  I began blogging as a way to make these experiences more transparent; my research is funded by the Canadian government and I believe I should be held accountable.  Over time I’ve come to value the humanising aspects of my blogging – mixed in with typical research interests and findings are reflections on my everyday life.  This sort of reflexivity has traditionally been limited to fieldnotes that rarely, if ever, see publication yet nonetheless impact the way my research is interpreted and presented.  In addition to being able to better locate myself in the research process, I greatly value the participation of others.  Either by public comments or private emails, I engage – and learn from – a much wider variety of people than I think academics have in the past.  I’m not sure this is more democratic, but the presence of multiple voices has enriched my work in many ways.

Bruce at the River:

Why do I blog?

Perhaps the question should be, why did I start? because once I got started, I was hooked. That may not be true for everybody, but it was for me.

I mean, come on, I’m a frustrated journalist. Once I finally took the plunge, it was like, whoa, my own publication, with no stupid, unimaginative editors. First hit of heroin, love at first site, something like that, although I wouldn’t know about one of them, I can only imagine. First beer buzz. Hooked on that too. Don’t worry, both habits, blogging and beer, are healthy. I think.
 

It’s just one of those things. It’s natural. You can’t explain it to anyone; they have to do it and see for themselves. Like sex or riding a bicycle. I was reading blogs for months, including a really pithy dude named Frank Paynter, when, and this was back around the turn of the millennia, when I decided to do an article on them, the strange creatures from outercyberspace – The Blogs!

Yeah, but it was strictly business. The article was for a telecom company magazine, produced in-house by the company (meaning me and a few other people) to show potential customers how cool and “e” and cutting edge we were, just like them. And by the way, you might like a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to go with all those creative things you’re doing with the applications the kids are writing these days.

So, an article on blogs in the business world woulda thunk? Well, nobody, but it was an interesting idea. Perhaps next millennia.

Anyway, so I had to start one up to get firsthand experience and, consequently, verisimilitude for my article. (An editor would probably rip up that sentence, along with most everything before it, until there wouldn’t be very much similitude left. Hence the joy of blogging.) (But I didn’t know that.) (Yet.)

So, once I saw how easy it was, I was off. You have to realize that back then, fewer had traversed the learning curve that is HTML Web publishing. So even though I had heard that blogging was easy, it was still foreign territory, and you know how we Americans hate anything foreign. Still, if you can’t bomb it, might as well join it.

Boom (so to speak), I saw just how easy it was. So I started dabbling in my own, personal blog High Water. And I had content for which I couldn’t find an outlet. Nothing much, just an interview with noted net gonzo guru Chris Locke. I decided to publish the interview on High Water.

At the time, I had no comments, no tracking, nothing. I was swimming blind and sometimes I was even diving down deep. Were it not for the blind part, it would have been more embarrassing, I suppose, but after 9/11 I thought ’embarrassed’ was a useless, silly concept. I let Mr. Locke know that our conversation was now transcribed and on the net, and he immediately sent word to his blogger buddies via e-mail. Just about all of them (including Doc Swirls) blogged it.

I never had a chance after that.

To put it mildly, I GOT it.

It was like putting out my first issue, and instantly getting letters to the editor, all of them shouting the praises of this new publication.

So why have I kept at it since then? Why do I blog? Because I consider some of those early readers, and a good many who’ve happened by along the way, friends. Basically, I keep a publication for my friends. I try to provide them a quality publication because I respect them, and in turn I hope to earn their respect.

It’s self publishing as personal journalism, virtual socializing with a naturally occurring affinity group, and academic peer review.

If it works for my self-selecting group, to my way of thinking, it will work for others, who are, after all, potential friends. Writing and connecting with an audience. That’s it. Very basic.

So, yeah, I blog to make a difference – fostering peace, love, and understanding one humble blog post at a time. Call me quaint, but I believe in it.

Phil Windley

I blog to be part of a community of people whom I respect; I want to understand their thinking and I want them to understand mine. I blog to be part of the conversation. I blog to remember. I blog refine my thinking. I blog because I don’t think I really understand something until I write about it.

Canadian Com Network Professional who prefers to remain anonymous:

I have lots of reasons for blogging.

It’s a way for me to deal with recurring bouts of depression by giving me something else to focus on
It’s a way for me to fight old childhood wounds that labeled me and made me believe I was very stupid
It’s a way of dragging me out of my very private shell and meeting new people. It’s easier for me to be open with strangers than it is with people who know me.
It gives me a place to work out what I believe in and what I don’t believe in. What I feel is right, wrong, neither or both.
It gives me a forum for showing the beauty and wonder of where I live
It provides me with a vehicle for sharing with others those things I find interesting and hopefully in doing so find someone else who shares an interest or create an interest in someone else for what I find interesting.
I would prefer to remain anonymous please.

Chris Pirillo:

I think, therefore I blog. I’ve been doing something like it since 1996, however. There’s no easier way to live life outside your computer than with blogging. Through it, I’ve met fantastic people and further ensconced myself as a tech personality.

Norm Jenson:

I blog to practice my writing, but often lose my focus and scream, and yell, and stamp my feet.

Jeneane Sessum:

Weblogging is the only place for an amateur writer to be real and be read. Corporate speak, PR speak, marketing speak – they pay the bills but over time give you wrinkles, make your stomach churn, and reduce any faith you once had in your fellow man.

I blog because it sets me free from business. It is a rare business that can match the real voice used by bloggers with the interests of the marketplace. That can enable people to talk like human beings and listen like it matters. I haven’t gotten there yet. It’s a bumpy road of protocol and politics, of status quo and safety nets.

When I stuck my flag in blogland three years ago, I wasn’t looking to “mitigate risk,” I was looking to accelerate it. I wasn’t trying to connect with the influential, I was trying to undo them. I wasn’t trying to attract eyeballs, I was trying to squeeze tears from them.

It’s not so different now for me, but the blogworld is a different place. The big media model is a seductive thing, and bloggers are rewarded with links and comps for their lap dances with the enemy. The rewards don’t bother me. Shifting the model does.

Anyway, I blog because I can. Because it’s the best place to inform and be informed by the hearts of the best bunch of people I’ve never met.

Roland Tanglao:

cool question, frank!

why_do_i_blog_let_me_count_the_ways

Ken Camp:

I’m not sure I can answer the question, The last few months, I’m not all that sure I do blog any more. I mean I post occasionally. I work up to a reasonable rant every now and again, but I don’t blog like I once did. The truth is, across multiple blogs a dating back to 2000 I don’t see any of them the way I once did.

Digital Common Sense grew out of what was a newsletter for my consulting practice. I have clients dating back 20+ years. Really old friends I keep in touch with at this point. Blogging became an outgrowth of distrubuting a monthly newsletter via email.  Blogging is more timely, being real-time. No waiting for the end of the month to put a newsletter together.

That was the start, Today it’s very different. I blog because it’s how I share dialogue with friends. I have a large collection of friends. Friens who I’ve never met. In many cases I never will. We may email on occasion, but we hare our lives online. We share new pets, new grandkids, kids’ sickness, passing of parents, job frustration, desparation over the state of the world. We share hope. We share laughter. We share a bond of feeling comfortabletogether. We share a sense of adventures.

Why blog? Because it’s our neighborhood. It’s where we live. We create ourselves and we spend uch of our time in some online mode. It’s just an extension of who we are and how we spend our time.

Dean Landsman:

Long answer to short question: [no shit… wins the Golby Prize for prolixity. – editor]

Doc Searls had been nudging me that I should have a blog.  Actually, in those days they were still referred to as weblogs.  He and I would talk about this or that, I’d launch into a rant (or, to refine it a touch, an impassioned oration) about something, and he’d say, "You need a weblog.  You really should be posting this stuff."  He pointed out some names of people he and I had both been in (on?) mailing lists with, who had started either blogs or web pages on which they’d post similar subjects bearing relative pathos.

Then one day I was longwindedly ranting with great ardor to Doc, over the slimebuckets at Sony’s computer division.  Their VAIO laptop, one of which I owned, had failed on me.  The screen died.  Plug it in to a monitor, it worked fine.  But that made it an office-laden CPU with a keyboard, no longer the lightweight little portable laptop I’d enjoyed using.  I sent it in to Sony’s official Repair facility (it still had a little less than a month on the one year warranty) and they told me it needed a new motherboard.  This drove me nuts.  I did a bunch of research and discovered all sorts of things.

The "you need a new motherboard" is a standard repair service response, no matter what the problem might be.  Many users of this and other model VAIO laptops suffered from the same screen-death malady;
They told me the screen death was not covered by warranty, as I had caused it from maluse.  This, even though the computer otherwise worked fine.  But remember: they’d already responded that it needed a new motherboard, as they do, or so it seemed from my research, to every one that came in for repair.

Sony’s USA headquarters for the computer division, located nearby in a town in New Jersey, knew of the recurring dead-screen complaint, but ceded to Repair’s analysis of the problem.  And, by the way, they are an HP shop, they do not use Sony computers.  The cost to repair — not a new motherboard, which cost almost as much as the VAIO had in the first place — or, better put, to swap out the broken monitor with a new one  . . .  WAS MORE THAN THE ORIGINAL COST OF THE MACHINE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Their "gee, well, here’s an offer that should calm you down" proposal to shut me up and get rid of me (at this point in the process I was calling the President of Sony USA, I was pulling out all the stops) was to suggest that they would sell me a replacement model at the cost of the  motherboard, but it would have no warranty.  In other words, to get less for more and not have any assurances;
And the final point that got my goat (but I didn’t wait seven minutes —oops, that’s another story) was that the Comp USA  retail cost of a new model, better equipped, better specs and with more features, was only $300 more than their supposedly conciliatory offers.
My attitude was then and is now: NEVER BUY ANOTHER PIECE OF SONY EQUIPMENT.    They make great Trinitron TVs, and maybe some other stuff, but with computers, the attitude is buy it, get the warranty, and then consumer be damned.

Doc said to me, "Now you see why you need a weblog!!  You should post this, and this should be part of the public record."  This hit home with me.  So I interacted with Userland’s Manila blogging software (having had an earlier foray or two with EditThisPage and Pyra) started DeanLand, and the rest is history.  Next thing I know there are hundreds of people responding who had a similar or the exact same experience, I am quoted and linked to in all sorts of epinion and erating and econsumer response sites, and people are linking to me or finding me on search engines.

In the beginning it was like a wonder drug — other bloggers would link to me, I’d link to them, and each time I would post there would be response (back then, usually e-mails) and my page views would be on a seemingly constant increase.

Having a blog is like having a column, a place to express myself, and in a forum in which others can respond in any  number of ways.  It also serves as a public method of keeping people up on what’s going on or what I am thinking.  There are blog friends, newfound acquaintances from the net, a variety of long-lost friends who find the blog on a search and get back in touch, even relatives who read the blog on a regular basis.  Knowing I have some sort of regular readership keeps me at it.

One more thing, in response to the question: I love to write.  Amazingly, people seem to like what I write (I get mail to this effect).  I go to BloggerCons and all these people surprise me by being familiar with Deanland, and can tell me about a blog post from then or even later than that, sometimes even quoting little pieces of the entries . . . I am amazed that blog entries have such impact on people.  I attend various meeting or functions and invariably someone tells me they’ve read or are a regular reader of my blog.  That keeps me at it. Feedback serves as inspiration.

Also, from time to time I write something that gets a lot of attention in other blogs.  Then the e-mail response is high (natch, Comments never seem to work for all in my Manila software!) and further linkage occurs.  At those points I feel a sense of obligation to the readers and those who linked, to maintain the discussion, the posts, and try for more regularity in refreshing the content (nb: I don’t consider content a bad word).

If I could only get paid for blogging, I’d be the happiest fellow on the face of the earth.  To write, to communicate, and to interact with others via what is essentially my column (without the attendant restrictions of print media, such as word count, lineage, topic matter), is a beautiful thing.

And I also enjoy being a member of the blogging community.  Via this community I’ve met numerous people and developed all sorts of relationships that would never had occurred if not for the practice of blogging.  There’s another reason I blog.  I have friends all over the globe, some of whom I met as a result of the blog.  What could be nicer?

Also, as an American living under W2, it is a pleasure to have a method of expressing my thoughts, attitudes, and opinions . . without the fear or threat of Ashcroft (or his new successor), Rove, Cheney, or the other puppet masters shutting me down.  Not yet, anyway.  And this allows me to both communicate and interact with other like-minded souls (you know, the sort of people who are less equal since they don’t follow the same divine guidance as Dubya & Co.), and not be stereotyped as yet another stupid American who supports waging war for oil and world domination, or as one who fears Gays or other people not like me, or as one who wishes to demote or disenfranchise those who do not tow the line of the thumpers.

That’s why I blog.

Also, Frank,  because it is fun.

Enoch Choi:

Medmusings is a personal diary of things I’m interested in, giving me an outlet to express my enthusiasm about my various interests.  (more from interview with Physicians Financial News…)

 

Elaine (Kalilily) Frankonis

I’m not sure that this is what you expected or want.  But if that’s the case, it’s about par for my course, isn’t it?

I’m a writer.   Not a great writer, but a pretty good writer.   For me, writing has always been an addiction.  Writing is part of who I am. I write to make sense of the world around me – to strengthen my sense of place in it.  I blog to maintain that part of me that’s a writer.  I blog to keep my brain working.  Use it or lose it.

I use the most simple blogging technology possible.  I don’t know aggregators from aggravators, and I tend to avoid both.

When I began blogging, I felt compelled to reach out to an audience and insert myself into various blogging communities.  I began developing a blogroll that’s now terribly out of date.  I used to leave lots of comments on others’ weblogs as a way to generate community energy.  But I no longer have the energy to do even that.   Now, I write assuming that I’m read pretty much by family and friends.  The truth is, however, because of the kinds of things I write about, I get a steady stream of strangers — and their friends — stopping by because someone picked me up on Google.  The sense of community I originally sought is not the one I’ve wound up with, and that’s fine.  For example, people like Ramona Moorman, who is close to my age and the editor of a small newspaper in the Midwest, found me through Google and has become a regular reader.   We also email each other.

I learned early on in my life that I couldn’t be all things to all people.  In terms of my identity as a blogger, it was much easier to keep to that philosophy early on, when there weren’t that many of us who were trying to use blogging as a way to establish connections with like hearts and minds.  But times have changed.  The blogging population has exploded.  I can’t be all things to all bloggers.  So, I’ve taken the position that those who are attracted to who I am as a writer and what I write about will gravitate toward my weblog.  And it works the same way from my end.

I blog to connect with the world outside myself that I’m trying to make sense of.

I blog to keep up my spirit; to stir the spirit of others; to stir my blood, my brain, and my beliefs.  I blog because I’m not a Molly Ivins or a Mary Oliver.

I blog because I’m a writer and blogging gives me a place to put it all.

The Happy Tutor:

Therapy was not covered under the Wealth Bondage HMO.

Posted in Bloggers 'n blogs, Blogging and Flogging, Friends, Profiles and Interviews
67 comments on “Why Do We Blog?
  1. I blog because it’s there

    Sandhill Trek conducted an interview of 35 bloggers, asking a single question:
    Why do we blog?
    Before letting you on to my own answers, Jim Roberts has the beautiful, no-nonsense answer I wasn’t quite able to verbalize myself: I blog because it exten…

  2. True Voice: The Business of Blogging

    We’re happy to announce True Voice: The Business of Blogging seminar series (see our press release for more details). True Voice is lined up for at least five cities already, starting with New York on 26 January 2005. Later…

  3. True Voice: The Business of Blogging

    We’re happy to announce True Voice: The Business of Blogging seminar series (see our press release for more details). True Voice is lined up for at least five cities already, starting with New York on 26 January 2005. Later on,…

  4. TrueVoice Seminar, Coming Your Way Soon

    Stowe, Suw, and I are getting nito high gear as we start to work through the content development and marketing of the TrueVoice Seminar Series we’re set to kick off next month. We’ve decided on an interesting format by which…

  5. Speaking of Martini Republic

    Over on her own blog, mitten defends MR against an apparent attack by alleged right-wing blogger Cathy Siepp (a later date: ms. siepp). In so doing, she brings up an interesting matter that relates to the evergreen metablogging question “Why do we blog…

  6. Steve says:

    I’ve always wanted to publish something, I was just never really sure what. When I got into a new field at work (competitive intelligence) and realized that most of the “official” stuff being published on it was in a very academic voice, I thought a more common voice might be useful, and I had a few ideas for short articles. Then I thought of other things to write, and decided a blog was the way to publish myself 😉 I started with Blogger, but quickly moved on to WordPress. I’m still well into the getting-started stage though.

    I’m also interested to learn more of the technical side, I was an admin for a few years a long time ago and I missing messing with computers for the fun of it. But right now CSS is driving me nuts…

  7. BORDBUCH says:

    What missing the weblog means

    Panic and a sense of distachment among readers? Many didn’t know where to look for their daily news. Others felt isolated and disconnected from, again, Others. And because the basic human communication need is to know about the Other, isolation…

  8. BORDBUCH says:

    What missing the weblog means

    Panic and a sense of distachment among readers? Many didn’t know where to look for their daily news. Others felt isolated and disconnected from, again, Others. And because the basic human communication need is to know about the Other, isolation…

  9. BORDBUCH says:

    What missing the weblog means

    Panic and a sense of distachment among readers? Many didn’t know where to look for their daily news. Others felt isolated and disconnected from, again, Others. And because the basic human communication need is to know about the Other, isolation…

  10. Quixtar Blog says:

    Blogging 101 – Why Do We Blog?

    In a past issue of Blogging 101 I provided some of the practical reasons that people blog. Simple. Free. Control. Community. Voice. The list is obviously incomplete but it gives a general glimpse of why blogging has become such an attactive publishing …

  11. Lisa Chau says:

    I blog to express myself & reach out to others…

    My ex-boyfriend thinks it’s because I’m a narcissist.

  12. Jimmy says:

    I’m doing a university assignment on why people blog and this has finally given me something solid to start on. Thanks.

  13. Why Do We Blog?

    I have an academic friend who is working on her Master’s Thesis and has been incorporating the question of “Why do you blog?” into her interview structure. Maybe this post and the comments to it will give her and you more insight into this monologue we…

  14. Change your life: write a blog

    While I’m new at this whole blogging thing, I think it’s safe to say that Why Blog? is a perennial question amongst bloggers. And I include the variations on this, such as: Why am I blogging about this? Or better

  15. Change your life: write a blog

    While I’m new at this whole blogging thing, I think it’s safe to say that Why Blog? is a perennial question amongst bloggers. And I include the variations on this, such as: Why am I blogging about this? Or better

  16. Mark says:

    Because you want to tell something to no one specific and get it off your chest.

  17. TrueVoice Seminar, Coming Your Way Soon

    Stowe, Suw, and I are getting nito high gear as we start to work through the content development and marketing of the TrueVoice Seminar Series we’re set to kick off next month. We’ve decided on an interesting format by which…

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