Why do you blog? No, really!

Apologies for the ‘me,me’ tone of this post but I feel I have to expose something of myself before I can ask you to comment with honesty.  So here goes.

I started blogging because I felt I had to. Pure and simple. Every marketing how-to I read said that creating a blog was the first step in developing an online presence that would help sell the book I had yet to finish.  So I signed up with WordPress, chose a theme that looked ok and then I sat there, staring at a blank ‘Add New Post’ screen. I knew how to write a post but I had no idea what to write about.

The idea of just posting whatever I was passionate about evolved out of my certainty that no-one would ever read what I wrote. However as people started to find me [in dribs and drabs] my motivation began to change. I started looking forward to logging in each morning – just in case someone out there had stumbled onto my blog while I was sleeping. Like someone addicted to gambling, every time someone did view my blog the addiction was reinforced and the days on which no-one came did not deter me. I continued telling the world what was on my mind because each post was a way of saying ‘Hey! I’m someone and I’m here’.

You all know the feeling, that buzz you get when you check your stats or notice that you have comments. But what is that good feeling?

I know that for me that good feeling is part ego-stroking and part joy at not being alone. I’ve always been a fairly self-sufficient person. I have a small circle of very close friends and family. They have been with me since forever and they are as important to me as breathing but I’m also quite comfortable just being on my own, which is probably a good thing as writing fiction is a pretty solitary occupation. Nonetheless even hermits need human contact sometimes.

Before I stopped thinking of my writing as some kind of  ‘hobby’ that no-one else would ever be interested in I used to get my social contact hit from the people I met while playing mmo’s [online games]. In fact I still chat to a few gamers I met while playing World of Warcraft but after I left WoW I found new online friends much harder to find and my social contacts dwindled to a few stalwart friends.

And then the blogging miracle happened. I met people, nice people, funny people, kind people, people who cared about many of the same things that I cared about. I met kindred spirits and suddenly blogging was no longer just about ‘marketing’  or having my ego stroked, it was and is, about connecting with people. In short, it’s about making friends.

I’m still passionate about writing and bushfire survival and climate change and good food and wonderful music and politics and…  Ahem, you get the picture. I’m still passionate about all the old things that define who I am and I still get an ego buzz when my stats spike for some unaccountable reason but now I also have something more, I have friends.

So now I would love to know if I’m alone in this or if other people feel the same way that I do. Have I finally ‘got’ what social media is all about? I know that every blogger is different and unique and writes for different reasons but do we all have common themes that are somehow universal?

If you feel like sharing then I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

-hugs to all-

Meeks

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

73 responses to “Why do you blog? No, really!

  • Candy

    I started blogging for EXACTLY the same reason! But it took a long while for me to get comfy with it. Yes, we have “met” some interesting folks and it does feel good when people post comments. I’m still trying not to feel bad when they don’t. It’s a little like the tables at a school cafeteria — am I one of the cool kids? Umm, not yet but I’m on my way.

    You? Already seated with the cool bloggers.

    Like

    • acflory

      lmao – the irony is that you are one of those cool bloggers :p

      Like

      • Candy Korman

        So funny, when I went to my high school reunion I found out that I was cool to some people back then, too. Never top cool, but… never aspired to be.

        As a writer, my aspirations are very high. I really want people to buy my ebooks so I’m blogging, tweeting, FB posting, guest blogging, etc. When it’s your turn — I’ll push you along the path.

        Like

        • acflory

          Oh I can relate to that comment about your reunion! Something similar happened to me. 😀

          I must admit I’m in awe of your ability to tap into so many of the social media networks. Blogging I really enjoy but the others? For now at least they feel like walking into a room full of strangers – scary. 😦

          Like

  • danizilla

    I like this post and relate to some of it! Particularly about checking stats and that part ego-stroking and having an ‘audience’ even if it is only one person. Validation. I originally began blogging many years ago, I think before that word really existed (at least as far as I know). I used to build my own websites and keep little journal entries on there as well as poetry and artwork.

    After a long time without doing any type of creative stuff, even writing, I came back to it with the idea that focusing on a blog would give me a creative outlet. I chose a topic instead of going with a general overall daily life type of blog and found that some people were interested (I primarily write about my travels alone as someone who struggles with anxiety). Having an audience, even a small one, keeps me feeling like I need to keep up with ‘deadlines’ even if I am the one coming up with said deadlines.

    I am not sure why I want to drive traffic to my blog, either. Sometimes it is scary thinking people are reading all these things about me and judging me one way or another. But mostly it is exhilarating thinking people actually take the time to process info I have put out there. Why? I guess it goes back to the ego-stroking and not being alone that you mentioned. But I have asked myself why I care how many people look at my page, I guess maybe I fear I will stop writing if people stop visiting. I’m not sure.

    Great post! I enjoyed what you had to say and clearly it got me thinking.

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks Danizilla – you can count me as one of the visitors to your blog from now on. For me your comment is exactly the reason why I keep blogging. For me, finding new kindred spirits is an even bigger buzz than seeing my stats go up! Ok, I do like seeing the numbers go up but it has to be for the right reasons. 🙂

      So very nice to meet you!

      Like

  • danizilla

    I forgot to mention, part of the reason I enjoy it so much is the community feel, like other bloggers are neighbors who put so much of themselves out there, it is easy to feel like you know someone just by their words. I love these little glimpses into peoples’ lives, and interacting with others.

    Like

  • metan

    I started blogging because I had begun collecting all of those strange newspaper articles and had no-one to share them with! I am not a very computery person so I didn’t really know how best to make some sort of searchable thingo in my laptop for finding the ones I wanted out of my file either.

    Then I stumbled across WP and realized that they could take care of that for me and I could just give the articles their own posts and, voila!, instant search engine, and for free!

    After a little while random people started reading the occasional post and I started writing about the article for an audience instead of purely for my own reference.

    Now I keep blogging partially for my ego, I still get a thrill every time people actually read my stuff!! It has also bought this amazing little community into my loungeroom. I am also a hermit, happy with my own company, but getting my morning emails and finding people have enjoyed some bit of strangeness as much as I have makes me want to get out there and look for more.

    Meeting people from around the world and striking up online friendships with them has been a byproduct of blogging that I never expected, and one that has made the process far more wonderful than I ever though it would be! I am a confirmed blog addict now. 😀

    Like

    • acflory

      -grin- I always knew you were a kindred spirit! And there was something I forgot to mention in my post – I have loved LEARNING new stuff from all of you guys! Your titbits of history and fun have made me feel even more of an aussie than I did before – in a good way! And Bluey’s writing has challenged me to try to write better. David’s grasp of the comic has let my inner clown free and… gah, I could just keep on going forever.

      You guys are the best. Hands down.

      Like

      • metan

        I agree about Bluey and David, and your blog makes me think too! So many of the blogs I read really inspire me to keep going and stretch myself more all the time.

        I also love sharing bits of Australia with the world and learning things about other countries in return. I’m so glad my bloggy silliness is encouraging you to embrace your Aussieness! 😀

        Like

        • acflory

          Your blog brings out a bit of the larrikin in me and I love letting my zany sense of humour out to have a play! I know you won’t ever take it the wrong way. 😀

          Like

        • metan

          I love that people see the funniness in the old articles instead of complaining that I’m not taking them seriously enough!

          P.S. I replied (x2!) at the end of Davids comment below but it got eaten up, maybe it sent it to your spam?

          Like

        • acflory

          erm… I’m going to have to look for the spam folder coz I literally didn’t realise I had one until now.

          Like

  • frontrangescribbles

    I just started blogging a month ago. I didn’t have any real purpose it was just something I wanted to start doing. I’m still trying to learn and find my “place” in this blogging world. It has been more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I also get that buzz you reference in checking my stats. I enjoyed this post very much.

    Like

    • acflory

      Thanks Frontrangescribbles [hereinafter called Front]. My blog has no ‘theme’ and has evolved over time so I’d just say to you – be yourself. 🙂 I’m going to be one of your visitors from now on so I look forward to getting to know you. All the people who comment here are pretty wonderful in their own ways and I hope you get to know some of them as well.

      Welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

      Like

  • lorddavidprosser

    Like you and like many of us I started the whole blog thing to market my books.It stopped being about that when I realised I’d made some amazing friends through blog comments that led to messaging. I go to my blogs now as much to be entertained by all you witty souls as I do to try and entertain in my turn.
    Although I use the blogs as a vehicle to update people about Julia’s condition I’ve tried to broaden the appeal . One blog deals with interviews with other authors to try and give them a welcome bit of publicity while the other blog is more lighthearted and deals with the cat’s blog page. The whole thing would be pretty pointless though if it wasn’t for friends who’re kind enough to keep following and commenting and keeping the stats respectable.
    From being quite an insular person I’ve become much more outgoing because of the interaction which is obviously not something I was expecting. Now I can follow Metan’s blog and see if I can find something witty to say (usually not) and with Andrea’s messages I’m given a shot of total unreality that’s worthy of it’s own TV show. So whatever started me blogging is not what keeps me blogging now, I’m finding the social aspect much more fun.

    Like

    • acflory

      I have to laugh at that ‘shot of total unreality’ :p I’ll have you know I’m really very pragmatic deep down inside. :p

      Teasing aside though, I love the message that’s coming through from everyone’s comments. It seems we all had very ‘functional’ reasons when we began blogging but now the human element has taken over.

      Knowing you all the way I do I’m not really surprised, just warmed. 😀

      Like

  • Jennifer

    ha… your blog is my blog. Only now I have 3 as there are distinct differences in what I have to say. 🙂

    Like

  • pinkagendist

    I started because I used to waste too much time responding to articles in the News (online and print) and I realized it wasn’t effective.
    Here I can deal with issues in real time and without the constraints of a moderator 😀

    Like

    • acflory

      Aaaah, so you’re another angry person! I used to be a bit of a joke in my family because I’d be watching something on the news and suddenly race off to send an indignant email. 😀 Like you I’ve found a better forum now.

      Like

  • Carrie Rubin

    I started my blog months ago as a means of becoming more visible knowing I had a book coming out. What I hadn’t expected, however, is how much I love the interaction and back and forth banter. As an introvert, I don’t do much socializing, but I’ve discovered social media is a perfect substitute. I get to partake in intelligent social interaction without feeling overwhelmed by large groups of people. 🙂

    Like

  • geooorge

    Well, i was happily showing photos and talking to people about cameras when two people in particular started going on and on how i should make a blog out of it 😛

    Like

    • acflory

      -giggles- See? We were right weren’t we. :p C’mon, admit it. You do kind of enjoy the blogging now don’t you?

      I sometimes think it’s like the community spirit we had at guru3D except that we all have different interests. Haven’t come across any flame wars yet but I know they happen too. 🙂

      Like

  • Colin

    Hah, I am writing a post just like this one. Now people are going to say I plagiarized you. Bah.

    But… the most curious thing happened when I ventured onto the net with my writings. People seemed to like it. For an introvert like me that struggle to think of things to say when I meet people, that is a very strange feeling. And welcome.

    So, I continued, and I think I know what you mean with the ‘ego stroking’ theme. Of course it is, in my case. It’s validation, isn’t it?

    Like

    • acflory

      -grin- why can’t two great minds have the same thought? Or question? Go for it! I think it’s a fascinating topic.

      It’s interesting how many people have called themselves introverts and yet here, online we all seem to blossom. I wonder why it feels so much safer to be ourselves online than it is in RL. I’m not shy or retiring or even necessarily anti-social but I definitely wouldn’t be talking to so many people like this out there.

      I wonder if it’s the measure of control we have over our online interactions?

      And yes it is validation. 🙂

      Like

  • lowerarchy

    I’ve been blogging for some years on several platforms with quite a few alter-egos. I don’t see much of a difference between blogging and other forms of communicating, so I’m into creating letters, comments, novels, Facebook posts, essays, intranet posts, films, newsletter and posters. Like Pink, I respond to lots of things 🙂 so it’s sensible and more ergonomic to DIY.
    I’m certainly not introvert and am happy to relate in person, but it’s difficult to range over so many topics with actual people, whereas online offers more opportunities.
    I love being able to communicate with friends from many different countries and occupations – something accomplished online easily.
    Finally I try to love and learn from everyone and everything and through blogging have been exposed to many things I wouldn’t find myself.
    D x

    Like

    • acflory

      Wow, I’m impressed! That is communicating with a capital ‘P’ for prolific. 🙂 I totally agree about the learning. Since I’ve been blogging my horizons have expanded at an exponential rate.

      Like

      • lowerarchy

        Great stuff – I was reading that increased learning pushes back the chances of dementia

        Like

        • acflory

          I’ve read that too. I hope it’s true. 😉

          Like

        • lowerarchy

          Yes, let’s. My dad’s suffering quite badly – he’s 86 and lived through lots, but left school at 14. I’ve got 3 degrees so we’ll see.

          Like

        • acflory

          Mine was an engineer but in later life he didn’t exercise that mental muscle. Hoping for the best.

          Like

        • lowerarchy

          I started off as an engineering apprentice but hated it. My parents thought it was a good idea even though I had a pace at college to do Art, English and History. I remember going to a conference and nearly all the men there said the same thing had happened to them – the English West Midlands used to be called ‘The Workshop of the World’
          Still a lot of engineering but much vanished from the 80s onwards

          Like

        • acflory

          Ah that’s unfortunate – your not liking the engineering that is. Dad loved it and I think he always missed the mental stimulation once he retired.

          Like

        • lowerarchy

          Without engineering we nave no modern society – and it’s not that I couldn’t do it – but I’m so obviously a communications person. Lots of working class families did the same in my generation – didn’t seem to know their kids and pushed them into the wrong type of jobs. I don’t blame them – society’s to blame 🙂
          Also many men felt like that when retired – silly really to lose all experience?

          Like

        • acflory

          I guess in those days engineering was a ‘real’ job and communicating was somehow akin to being an entertainer. 🙂 I know my parents were always disappointed that I didn’t get a proper job. 😀

          Like

        • lowerarchy

          What did/do you do then? 🙂
          I’ve had so many jobs it would make a good post. Am going for a walk along canal and a picnic in the country – will post pics to show you later x

          Like

        • acflory

          Who me? I did what I wanted to do anyway but with a twist of guilt. 🙂

          Have a great picnic!

          Like

        • lowerarchy

          I usually have ice and lemon 🙂 No, I meant what career did you follow?

          Like

        • acflory

          The answer to that depends on which decade we’re talking about. 🙂 I’ve been a secretary, a high school teacher, a tech support person, a tech writer, ran a small business and now I just write. 🙂

          Like

        • lowerarchy

          Far out – people who’ve done a few things are much more interesting. I’m impressed.
          So what did your parents think you should have done? Sounds like you’ve achieved more than many folk.

          Like

        • acflory

          I know my father would have been happy if I’d gone into a math related field or even music but neither one of them were really readers so my facility with words always left them with a ‘what the?’ expression. The biggest disappointment of my life was when I showed my parents the very first user manual I ever wrote and they said something equivalent to ‘that’s nice’.

          Like

        • lowerarchy

          Oh how sad – sorry to hear that, but I know that feeling. Even though both my parents were into words, neither have never asked me a single question about university. That after doing degrees for fun, teaching and writing a novel 🙂
          It’s so mad – I’ve got 3 kids – a DJ, a chef and youngest just finishing business degree and I’ve helped them all do whatever they wanted to do – done most of their homework for years as well 🙂
          But as I said, this experience is not uncommon among my friends – that’s the way class and ideology acts.
          I’m impressed with your manual any way! I used to do a course teaching how to write plain English for Manual Writers…

          Like

        • acflory

          With the wisdom of hindsight I recognize that it’s a generational thing but, like you, I’ve bent over backwards to help my daughter find a career she is passionate about. Life is just way too short for anything less.

          Like

  • Patricia Awapara

    I started blogging for the same reason as you. 😀 Great post!

    Like

  • Main Street Musings Blog

    Interesting post! I never anticipated becoming part of such a supportive online community. It definitely makes writing feel less isolating. Though I still often find myself talking to inanimate objects throughout the day . . .

    Like

    • acflory

      Aaah, you know what that means don’t you? You’re not spending enough time here talking to us!

      Sorry just had a big dinner and I think all those calories have gone to my head. Nice to meet you 😀

      Like

  • Ilil Arbel

    I am blogging for a very strange reason. I had a book in mind for ten years, a strange book that I could not master the courage to start. It would take years to research and write it and I did not know if I can keep on doing it for many years, and who would be the readers. So, I came to the strange decision to start writing it on line, as a blog, on my website, as “A Book in Progress.” I do the research and I then write a weekly post based on the current research. I did not think anyone would care to read it, but I am getting pretty respectable stats, happily, and the feedback can make the book much better, I am hoping, since I can learn much from people’s reactions.

    The book is called “The Golden Rule,” and it is a biography of Hillel the Elder, who lived 2000 years ago in Roman-occupied Judea. He is still adored and quoted all over the place… and the greatest fun of doing it is the fact that I am defying the assumptions of all scholars that such a biography cannot be written since not enough is known about Hillel’s life. Sheer nonesense, of course. It’s being written now, isn’t it?

    Like

    • acflory

      I’ve read some of the chapters – both research and story – and the attention to detail is simply amazing. I /know/ I wouldn’t have the courage to post a work in progress. No way, no how. 😀

      Like

      • Ilil Arbel

        I look at it as an adventure… and why not? I am not taking myself so seriously that I can’t deal with people seeing my immortal prose before it is polished… Most people don’t know that my comas are in the wrong spot, nor do they care.

        Like

  • littlemissobsessivesanatomy

    Dear Meeka, i think reason i started blogging because it was new thing and everyone was doing it..did a little n left..came back because it saves me from filling all those diaries in my wardrobe hidden underneath my denims…what started as nothing has now become my daily diary…my escape to writing ..my only source of writing something unrelated to what i do at work..
    i never intended to socialise but i guess i did find some really nice people too..including you …

    Like

  • jezzanorris86

    I don’t know why I blog. i mean honestly, i don’t. then again, i just really started. so……..
    I do have big plans for it….BIGGA BIGGA plans..=P

    Like

  • Stephanie Allen Crist

    Better late than never. I actually got started blogging in a totally different way. After 9/11, the political world suddenly felt very real to me. Up until then, I’d lived a rather disconnected life. I read, I wrote, I took care of my family, I slept (maybe), I woke, I repeated. Then, a bunch of bleeps flew airplanes into buildings and, knowing how disconnected I was, my best friend called me to make sure my husband and I knew. I told her it couldn’t be real, nobody would attack “America,” and told her about the history behind the “War of Worlds” broadcast. Turned out I was wrong.

    I wanted to understand why anyone would hate us so much. Boy, was I in for a shock! At first, the shock was so great, I couldn’t really process it. Reading newspapers wasn’t enough. Too much information was missing and I didn’t have time to drudge through all the history without any kind of direction or frame of reference. I was looking for “opinion pieces,” which tended to provide at least some frame of reference. I found blogs.

    And, of course, I was hooked. My first blog was “Politicals, Parenting, and Other Hazardous Pasttimes.” I mostly talked about politics, but special needs quickly became prominent. This blog was much like yours, except with different passions, where I’d pretty much write about whatever mattered to me.

    Then, I got too caught up in my children’s needs and too disgusted with American politics to continue. Eventually, I made Embracing Chaos, and a little later I added Caressing the Muse. I don’t write about just anything on my blogs any more (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but keep my blogs more focused.

    I too seek out connections, make friends, and establish relationships that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. And I agree that’s the “secret” purpose of social media. Exposing yourself–as bas as it sounds–is the bonus; being yourself is the point, and connecting with others who enjoy you as yourself.

    Like

  • kmtreat

    So many familiar reasons. I started at first to get word out about my book and my illness. Now I find that I am really getting into sharing information that I am learning along the way. My illness is so multifaceted that I continue to find new things that I want to share and get feedback on.

    Like

    • acflory

      Hi KM, I just checked out your blog and I’m shocked at what’s happened to you.

      My extended family includes a lot of asthmatics. It also includes people with type 1 diabetes and UC. All these conditions are linked to auto-immune problems so I truly feel for you. I also think it’s great that you have risen above your condition and are blogging about your experiences and the knowledge you’ve gained.

      There’s nothing wrong with sharing jokes and interesting video clips, but like you, I think bloggers who have important information that could help others are sort of obligated to do so.

      Thanks for commenting and I hope you drop in again.
      -hugs-
      Meeks

      Like

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