In a 2004 paper entitled, “I’m Blogging This: A Closer Look at Why People Blog,” Bonnie A. Nardi, Diane J. Schiano, Michelle Gumbrecht, and Luke Swart suggested that only five reasons to blog exist. A blogger may blog for only one reason exclusively, or for a combination of any of those reasons. In no particular order, they are . . .
1. To document the blogger’s life
2. To share commentary or opinion
3. To express deeply felt emotion
4. To work out ideas through writing
5. To form and maintain communities and forums
From just a gut feeling, I’d say those reasons still exist. When I think about the reasons I blog, I can relate to each of those five reasons. Randy Ingermanson began blogging to “have a more interactive forum for discussion.” When you visit his site, or someone like LL Barkat’s, you can see the active discussions within their comments as well as through blog posts on other sites written in response. Part of the beauty of blogs is this ability to be accessible and create community. I’ve made friends with several people through blogging whom I might not otherwise have ever met.
The one additional reason we, as writers (myself included), often enter into blogging is because we think it will be the way to build our platform so a publisher will notice us. While in some ways blogging provides an avenue to reach people outside of our normal spheres of influence, viewing blogging in such a way is ultimately short-sighted and shallow. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think you are shallow. The perspective is shallow because it misses the depth of what blogging can offer.
On the whole, blogging is better for building relationships (which may eventually turn into sales) than it is for straight selling. If you only want to sell, set up a website or an Etsy shop . . . or put it on eBay. As Camy Tang points out, “. . . if (you) try blogging and don’t like it, then don’t do it. People can tell if you’re not enjoying blogging . . .”
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the Big Mistakes writers make when blogging for promotion and the cost of blogging.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this.
Hear from bloggers about their experiences with blogging, blog tours, and publicity. To read the interviews in this series, click here. (Randy Ingermanson, Mary DeMuth, Camy Tang, and Dillon Burroughs are up.)
To read all of the posts in this series, click here.