Wednesday, December 08, 2004

5. Your Purpose in Blogging

Why did you decide to start a weblog? What did you want your blog to accomplish? Have you achieved that purpose yet?

44 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If my comments seem a bit on the disparaging side, my motivations are two-fold.

1) You posted the link to your site without actually contributing anything to the discussion at hand. One might think you were hoping to leech off the topic for your own purposes, while minimizing the effort on your own part.

2) It takes three clicks to reach the window where one can actually prepare a comment. First, click on "comments," then on "post a comment," then on "anonymous" if one doesn't have a Blogger ID. Almost every site I've commented on has a one- or two-step process, and most of those have a "remember my choices" option.

To sum it up, the impression I'm receiving is that you want others to do your homework for you, and you won't even put in the time to fix your typos or make the process less burdensome for them.

And there is no "quid pro quo" here -- the only motivation for anyone to participate here is to make your life simpler. You don't offer your own opinions, you make no effort to establish a dialogue, you don't even offer cheap or meaningless "prizes" or other incentives. To most people, their own time is their most prized possession, and you seem to take for granted that they will give that to you freely simply because you ask.

I'm spelling this out for you as opposed to simply lambasting you or ignoring you because you dropped the name of Ms. Blood. I had not heard of her before I apparently recreated a bit of her work on my own, and it's out of respect and gratitude for her (I might just have to track down her book now) that I'm spending even the five minutes these comments have taken.

J.
(Jay Tea, www.wizbangblog.com)

8:09 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

J.

Thank you for your post. Your comments convey much about what you value in a blogger. Contributing to an ongoing dialogue and journalistic etiquette being foremost. I have not yet discovered how to lessen the number of steps required to post...but your comments on spelling/grammar are well taken.

I don't know Ms. Blood personally, but she has given me permission to use her six ethical standards in my paper. We exchanged e-mails on the topic and she referenced your discussion of blog ethics.

I would still love to discuss this topic with you further, should you be interested at some point.

-Martin

8:38 PM  
Blogger Eric Muller said...

I started the blog b/c it seemed like it would be fun. I had no goal for it at the start. Events quickly showed me, though, that I could use the blog to get some ideas out into circulation without having to wait for some op/ed page editor to anoint me, and that was very attractive.

Nowadays, much of the time, I don't want my blog to be much more than an amusing few wasted minutes in somebody's workday. But occasionally I move into periods where I use the blog intensely to disseminate my views about a handful of matters that I consider myself expert in.

10:56 PM  
Blogger John Kalb said...

I started my blog for a couple of reasons.

First, I wanted to keep my writing sharp while I was in a job search.

Second, I wanted to keep my mind sharp by continuing to think about things.

Third, despite my conservatism, I believe in the dialectic, at least as it pertains to developing ideas, and without others to provide input, I don't think I'll really learn anything.

1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started a blog for a lot of reasons:

--it seemed neat
--I was turning 30 and blogging seemed a way to stay hip (shallow, I know, but so what?)
--I wanted someplace to post things of interest to me to which I could refer from anywhere, anytime
--I wanted to contribute to a method of online expression my friends were starting to get into
--I wanted to provide a place to discuss things with friends during the week, when we're all too busy to ever see one another
--I wanted a way to make people aware of things I found interesting but knew I would never remember to mention in person
--I wanted a way to display things it's awkward to display in offline conversations ("I saw the coolest Photoshop competition and since we're nowhere near a computer I'll just spend four hours describing the entries to you," vs. "I saw the coolest Photoshop competition - here's its link")

I think I've accomplished all of those things.

Michael
http://www.robustmcmanlypants.org/blog

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had some things I wanted to share with people. My thoughts from the war zone. I wasn't able to blog from there, but I did write things down, and when I got the chance, I put it up.

I belong to a long tradition of semi-public writing (in SF-Fandom) and the habit is there, so it grew.

These days I post commentary on politics, the service/the war, introspection on my life, and food porn.

TK
hhtp://www.livejournal.com/users/pecunium

12:50 PM  
Blogger Egg said...

I started a blog for a (Paul Jones) class project on blogging. It seemed important to have my own blog if I was going to talk about what was out there and how they were being used. At first, it felt a little dangerous - exposing my thoughts online for anyone to read. But then I discovered that I was completely in control of what I did and did not want to post. Not sure why that didn't occur to me when I began.

I guess I wanted to create a respository of my thoughts and a venue for my friends and family to visit if they wanted to know what was happening in my life.

Interestingly, I have achieved that purpose. It's interesting to me who reads my blog on a regular basis and what connection they have to my life. I sometimes think that more people on the periphery of my life read my blog than those who are closest.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Fred Stutzman said...

I despise how self-involved people are, but it makes good reading. I am fascinated by people, and I take immense pleasure in learning about them from a protected place (the safety of a web browser).

I also hated blogging, until a critical mass of my friends tipped my opinion. Now, I rationalize it to myself by simply saying "It can't be that bad seeing that THEY all do it."

Of course, that implies some sort of functional otherness to blogging. Which, there isn't. Its just a labeling something we've been doing all along, simply because a technology enabled it. I mean, its like calling a sport an Xtreme sport. Its only Xtreme because we call it extreme. We're only bloggers because we call ourselves bloggers.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Blogging software worked easier than the old phpBB bulletin board software that used to form the core of my website. It's better organized, easier for readers to navigate, easier for visitors to interact and easier for me to maintain.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Bronwyn said...

My purpose is to grow my readership as much as possible by being as interesting as possible. I am nowhere near achieving any of these two goals but next year is another year - hopefully I will be able to devote more time to blogging.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Initially, I started my blog as a class project in library school. We were required to keep a journal, and I thought the blogs automatic date/time features would be easy to use.

Initially, I thought I would use my blog as a way to showcase my skills as a librarian, and to make comments on information of importance to librarians. I still do some of that, as well as review books, movies, and tv shows, but I also put a lot of personal information in--recipes, travel information, and personal commentary on whatever comes to mind. I'm sort of thinking that perhaps my blog is a little bit "too" open and gives too many clues to my personality. At a job interview one person commented that I am obviously very outgoing since I talk about so many things on my blog--I'm not, I'm sort of the outspoken, introverted type.

I haven't achieved my initial purpose--I still don't have a job as a librarian. Because we have our own server at home, I get detailed statistics. The topics I find interesting personally don't seem to be the topics people a reading--for example, I often write product reviews and these seem to be the most popular feature.

I don't have much interaction with my readers--they don't post comments or send me email. I would like this to increase.

1:00 AM  
Blogger W. Ray Beaver said...

I started my blog because I wanted a place to keep my thoughts on the subject on which I write that would be accessible to my friends with whom I meet weekly for discussions when the weather on the prairies got bad enough to keep me from traveling.
The original purpose was to share with my friends, and it became a way of sharing with others as well. In making that happen, I began to post more often on the lists to which I subscribe, and place a link to my website there. The purpose became to make my thoughts on the lessons for the week available to other pastors as well.
The beginning purpose was achieved very quickly, and the purpose of sharing with my fellow list subscribers has been reached to some degree as the number of times the blog is linked to is growing.

1:54 AM  
Blogger Shelly said...

At first, because I was curious about this phenomenon. Then because it was fun, I like to write and this is a form of written communication, and then as a way to learn some html. It also enabled me to learn enough to start a blog at work, the first time I've made a hobby part of my work life. I even got to take a seminar on blogging as a result.

My purpose was to have fun, so yeah, I've accomplished that. :)

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to write for an audience that can appreciate my efforts and engage in conversations. I wanted the blog to be considered a good source of information and hoped it would also provide a secondary source of income.

On both points, to a degree, yes, they've been achieved. I also hoped it would lead to other writing assignments and that has not been realized yet.


Kevin Hayden
The American Street

8:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My blog is a professional record. Really, to me, it's almost like transmitting in the clear, looking for peers of like mind in the professional sphere.

As things progress in the new group I'm in, I also hope it can become a form of documentation for groups.

Really, right now my blog is fairly lame, I'm trying to feel around for what to put in there, how to blog, etc.

Mike Conway
UNC

6:31 PM  
Blogger ElisaC said...

I'd just like to say that my understanding was that you were doing a research paper on the topic. My understanding of such papers is that you gather data from subjects and then draw conclusions.

Perhaps you cold be clearer about that in your home page, so people aren't expecting this to be a blog about blog ethics (where interactivity and expression of your opinion would be expected), but rather understand it's a data gathering site for you.

7:55 PM  
Blogger ElisaC said...

I decided to start a blog because I like to write. And I'm very opinionated. And because I was fascinated by the ways the Internet can connect people.

Back when I started I wanted my blog to entertain and inform. I feel it often does that.

Now I'd like my blog to generate more interesting activities in my life. It has already generated a monthly newspaper column for me, and I'm happy for there to be more! but I need a bigger audience, and it hasn't generated that yet.

8:00 PM  
Blogger Martin said...

Hi Elisa,

You are the second person to mention that issue (data gathering site vs. blog about ethics). My hope it that this becomes both. I do need to gather data from subjects (qualitative data in this case), but I thought creating a blog (instead of a boring e-mail survey) would foster a debate and some interaction. The fault lies withme...I have been writing and grading my students' final exams for a week and havn't been much of a host. Thank you for sharing you comments. I plan to post the paper I write here in January, maybe that will stoke the rhetorical fires.
-Martin

9:07 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

I started a blog because my group of friends had spread far and wide, and though we kept in touch, all the little peculiarities of our days got lost in the greater scheme of "So whatcha been up to?" Goin' Ape exists for those peculiarities. I love the self-involvedness of our blog, which really doesn't have to do with anything but our egoistic tales of obscure heroics if we don't want it to be.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started blogging to complement the legal education I was about to pursue. One of the reasons I was motivated to go to law school was because the Important People were making all sorts of horrid decisions without asking me what I thought. Then I realized, I wasn't SAYING anything. I started the blog in large part because I wanted to start speaking up in the world, and this was an outlet, as someone pointed out upthread, that didn't require annointment from the op-ed page editors of the world in order to be able to do it.

I also wanted to use it as a tool to measure the changes in my thinking the legal education was likely to affect. Although I blog about random things as the mood strikes, the core theme to it is the "Great Change" and how I've been changing, as a thinker and as a person, as a result of my education. To that end I talk about milestones in the process, contemplate legal doctrines and policies, and generally express thoughts about the world as I see it through my law student eyes. Through this exercise I hope that when I'm finished with school I will have left enough breadcrumbs that I can go back and review my growth.

Of course, these are but two of the reasons why I blog. But they are two of the biggest.

Cathy, 2L
www.cathygellis.com

6:39 PM  
Blogger Ana said...

I started my blog mainly because it seemed like fun. Some other reasons included improving my writing skills, motivating myself to reflect on things that interest, the possibility of keeping track of stuff that interests me and stuff I do, and sharing it all with others. The interaction with readers is very fun and satisfying, although I don't get as much of it as I would like.

I have surely achieved the 'having fun' purpose and 'write more' purpose. It has also made me pay more atention to what I read/see/view, and be more active in my online life (commenting in other blogs, for example). I also notice, looking at my stats, that some people with whom I have no personal contact anymore visit my blog. Even if they lurk, I feel this still keeps in contact with them. It is a nice feeling.

I have only been blogging for half a year, so my blogging style is still developing.

Ana

anaulin.org

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea of starting to blog came as a result of reading someone else's blog. I figured the whole concept was pretty interesting. For me, the underlying for mu blogging is really ifor the sole purpose of documenting, or to use a more interesting word, capturing the happenings of the present, to serve as memories for the future. Well, I guess it's also a means of updating people who know me, as to what's going on in my life. i mean when i have kids, i want to know how i thought as a 20 year old, or so on. It'll help me understand them better. We tend to forget or dimiss some aspects of life which was once a part of us. But post importantly, blogging does help in the thought process, because when you write, it helps you think.

- Justina
http://blog.juznuts.com

8:36 PM  
Blogger Felix of Gainesville said...

Originally, I intended my blog to be a journal where I can store up my essays and scattered ideas. Over the time my ambition grows, and so is my goal set higher. I shall regard it as an accomplishment when a discussion on Spinoza in my blog has people like Edwin Curley or Steven Nadler as regular participants, or when a discussion on certain medieval philosophical topic has people like Paul Vincent Spade or Robert Pasnau as regular contributors. In short, I aspire for my blog to be the place to go in blogosphere when one is looking for a discussion on medieval philosophy or on Spinoza. Have I achieved this purpose yet? Don't be silly. Fxs

6:13 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

From my "about" page:

"Oh, that's just rhetoric." In other words, whatever the statement is, the amateur critic believes it to be simply empty or evasive language. And perhaps it is. So is it rhetoric? Certainly. Every human utterance is rhetoric because, from my particular theoretical perspective, all human utterances are speech-acts meant to persuade. In an academic, non-pejorative sense, rhetoric is the effective use of language. Effective to what end? There are lots of answers to that question, and you now know mine: persuasion. The quality of a rhetorical performance can be anything from sublime to insipid, but what is most important is to decide if rhetoric is working to persuade and, if it is, how it is working to persuade.

The Rhetorica Network, including my Rhetorica: Press-Politics Journal web log, is my attempt to explain the persuasive tactics of politics and the press.

I am particularly interested in the office of the President of the United States. I say "office" because the presidency is more than one person; it is many voices that speak through one person in an attempt to create a unified political agent we call the president. President George W. Bush speaks as the president, but his words are crafted for him by speech writers and edited for style and political content by political aides. The voice we come to know as that of George W. Bush is actually a complex amalgam, although Bush is ultimately politically responsible for these words and this voice.

The press, however, is often thought of as a unified voice with a distinct bias (right or left depending on the critic). This simplistic thinking fits the needs of ideological struggle, but is hardly useful in coming to a better understanding of what is happening in the world. I believe journalism is an under-theorized practice. In other words, journalists often do what they do without reflecting upon the meaning of the premises and assumptions that support their practice. I say this as a former journalist. I think we may begin to reflect upon journalistic practice by noticing that the press applies a narrative structure to ambiguous events in order to create a coherent and causal sense of events. Rhetoric is the engine of this project.

11:41 AM  
Blogger The Sandman said...

See answers to 1 - 4 of your previous questions!

3:51 AM  
Blogger DocRichard said...

I cannot remember exactly why I started; but know exactly why I continue: it's addictive.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Andrew Bartlett said...

I blog to stop my head exploding, or, slightly less extreme, becoming a crazy letter writer, bombarding newspapers and MPs with arguments they won't publish or read.

Considered less negatively, my blog helps me develop and organise my thoughts, allowing my ideas to revise, expand, reference and record my arguments rather than simply repeat myself over and over again in the pub.

And hopefully, someone will read what I have to say.

11:55 AM  
Blogger petite anglaise said...

I wrote about why I blog here

I started by reading Belle de Jour, a blog which received a huge amount of media attention in the UK and has now spawned a book to be released this month.

I thought maybe it was something I could do to relieve the boredom of my day job (which is not very fulfilling), to do some writing (which I missed since college) and hopefully entertain. I also like fiddling with computers and web site apps so it gave me an excuse to learn some more of those skills.

I started out writing about the country I live in as an expat (France) and giving a Brit's eye view, and I've noticed that over time the posts became more personal and I put myself out there more for people to see.

petite anglaise
http://www.petiteanglaise.com

3:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i blog solely to impress my friends with my intellect and wittiness. Socially i am inept but on a blog I can show off and be myself. Yes it is shallow but its honest and I know im not the only one who blogs for those reasons

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Ethicsinfo said...

We blog just to bring quality links to our users. It's quite similar to a radio broadcast in basics. Users like the organic filteration process we have and come back to see more. It is a value service.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Wayne said...

I've been toying with the idea of blogging for the past two years; to be rudely honest, I haven't had the b@lls to get it done, up until today.

I'd like to blog for the same reasons that other writer's blog: so that folk will read my craft and fall faint to my literary talents, or throw up, or something...

2:40 PM  
Blogger renanorola said...

I started blogging without purpose. I already blog for just half a year and for now this is my extra income because of my earnings. For the first time I blog i don't even know ow and what should I do or it really earn money. But now I already earn. I am not waisting time surfing on the net. My writing skills and blogging style is still improving because of blogging..

8:15 PM  
Blogger paul said...

I too have the blogs for the past one year. I don't know how to earn money through blogging. But your tips regarding the blogging makes me to earn it very easily. This will really improves the confidence level in the business. Thanks for sharing this information.
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12:28 AM  
Anonymous Jimmy Patterson said...

Do you not feel that the idea of "blogging" in general is to do something people will read? The purpose in blogging itself lies only with whoever the target audience might be. Those who simply wish to document their everyday lives wish to present to those interested - or are doing something different. People in general wish to know something they already don't. If you are like me, "normal", then the target audience of those around might not be others in themselves, however might be you. Sometimes, people are bored and just wish to pass time. That is fine, however if you so happen to do so think about you audience, your readers. People can do amazing things with a power like this, but only very few people I have encountered in my excessively short life have ever done something truly outstanding. Blogging doesn't have to be about literary talent, but should be about telling people something they want to know. Take it from someone with experience. And a final word of advice to the "anonymous" messenger at the top, if you do wish to grind into someone, people want to hear what the have done right. Not just show how you can dig into someone for a mundane item as spelling errors. To the writer of the blog, I congratulate you on the communication of something good.

7:54 PM  
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