Why does anyone blog?
There are lots of reasons to that someone might blog and I don’t really think any or them are necessarily bad or good. I do think if you’re personally not getting anything out of it then you’re probably not doing it well or are being dishonest with yourself about the self-interested gains… To be clear I don’t personally think there is anything wrong with personal gain.
A lot of people blog to get the word out there about themselves. This is effective for a lot of people because it will get eyeballs on their pages. If you’re an artist, sell personal products, or have an affiliate or advertising driven content site then it’s probably smart to do this to drive traffic.
This is a lot like those plumbers that have a YouTube channel showing how to do basic repairs. If you proclaim yourself to be good at something then it’s a way to showcase it on the internet in hopes that will drive some kind of revenue. This is probably a good idea for classes of trade and some might argue that my OpenSource project Naos is the equivalent of this for me as a professional developer…
Some people like to just feel important because lots of people are reading their content. This can be a huge self esteem boost, I definitely got that feeling with all of the traffic that I got on my standing desk article from HackerNews. My friend once said that “pride is a funny thing, you need just enough to get you out of bed in the morning but no more”. It’s good to feel important every now and then in life and also probably good to realize that if that’s all you have then life feels a little empty.
This would be some kind of exhibitionist journaling kind of thing. Lots of people find that writing things down helps organize their thoughts, reinforce ideas, break down barriers in their thinking, etc. Getting those thoughts out in the wild can’t hurt because it just adds more to the collective information of the internet even if we don’t know how to squelch out the noise correctly yet.
Back to the point, why do “I” blog…
Probably a little of all of the previous ones because I’m self actualized enough to not rule any out but not self actualized enough to really know very concretely. That said, none of those were reason enough to get over the hurdle that; I really don’t like to write! It’s tedious, feels like work, keeps me in front of a computer even more which is something I’m always trying to get out of. It’s just not fun for me…
The thing that pushed me over the edge started around information sharing. My father grew up in eastern Kentucky where there is little opportunity and a fair amount ignorance (both willful and otherwise). However, he was smart enough, or maybe someone taught him, that what you don’t know CAN and usually does hurt you in life. He dedicated his life to learning and passed that demon/angel down to his children. The problem with learning so much about the world is that I started to feel bad for people who didn’t know what I did and spent/spend an inordinate amount of time explaining things to people (the irony is not lost on me that I feel bad for people that are probably happier than me since knowledge really is sorrow sometimes). Specifically I would explain the same things over and over again, or over explain things to people who don’t care about them. It really wasted a lot of my time but I didn’t really notice because I genuinely care so much about helping people get to information.
So in short I blog because it’s the easiest way to share notes with people. I like the idea of free information out on the internet, I use other peoples info ALL the time and I think it’s good to give back to balance the equation a bit. I like the idea of that it might contribute to my companies revenue. I like the idea that it is consumed by many people and I might have a real positive impact on peoples lives. It probably does help me organize my ideas and thoughts. But none of that is enough, I LOVE that it’s easy to share with friends and people I meet the few things that I have (or at least think I have) figured out thus far. May or may not be a good enough reason in other peoples opinions but it was the inflection point for me.
Would be curious to see peoples comments on reasons I’ve missed or why they blog.