Who’s the blog for?
I raised the question “Why Blog?” in my first post for the Blogging 101 project, but I didn’t answer it. I filibustered with a history of my blogging (and WordPress) experience and skirted the question entirely. I noticed that I did that. I probably did that deliberately, albeit unconsciously.
There reasons for blogging are myriad. Some people blog to connect with friends and family. Some blog because they have a topic, like comic books or Doctor Who or cooking or Sherlock or cars, that have special experience with and they want to write about often to share their ideas and their experience. Some people are promoting themselves, their business, or their work, and blogging becomes a way to connect with markets and audiences. Some people only want to write, and blogging is an outlet.
I count myself among the latter group. There is an element of the first (connect with friends and family), the second (special experience and share ideas), and the third (promote work and projects), but ultimately I blog because, when I blog, I find enjoyment in doing it.
In other words, I write the blog for myself. If no one reads it, I’m okay with that. I don’t expect anyone to read my blog. I check my stats, I know what people are (and aren’t) looking at. For instance, on Sunday I wrote a post about a 19th-century church in Washington DC that once stood near the Capitol building. Three people to date have read it. The post I made yesterday, on Hugh Laurie’s film, The Oranges, has been read by nine. A post from Saturday, on making spacescapes in the GIMP, hasn’t been read by anyone. Yet, I’m not bothered by this. When I hit “Publish” on a poat, I know there’s a chance that it won’t interest anyone. Something was on my mind, I wanted to write about it, and I did. It interested me, and it interested me enough to say something publicly about it.
That’s who my blog is for. Me. Not in a private way. Not in a narcissistic way. Rather, it’s a record of what’s on my mind. A journal, of sorts. A public one, at that, and one that, thanks to Google, anyone can find out what I was thinking about in the summer of 2008. Heck, even I don’t remember what I was thinking about in the summer of 2008.
That’s not to say that I haven’t written blog posts with a specific reader in mind, though. I’m conscious of doing it only twice. The first time, it was about my favorite short story. The second time, it was about George Harrison and the I Ching. In both cases, the posts were written because of conversations outside the blog, in real life, I had with the specific reader on those topics. In both cases, I have no idea if the specifc reader specifically read the blog post.
There is a point to all of this. I would say to someone who wants to set up a blog that what you write has to — has to — be interesting to you and be entertaining to you because you are your first audience. You are the first person to read the words, you are the first person to think about them, you are the first person to have a reaction to them. That’s my advice, and like all free advice, feel free to ignore it. 🙂
When I don’t blog, there are two reasons for it. First, I might be too tired to write. It happens; I write in my day job, and sometimes I feel mentally exhausted at the end of a work day of writing. Or, second, I might feel I have nothing to say that would entertain me and interest me.
Would I have written this post without Blogging 101? Possibly. I’d say it gave me an impetus to write it, though the idea for it is one that I keep in the back of my mind. I like to consider the idea of why I do what I do and if there are better ways of doing it. Maintaining a blog is one of those things that I do, and so I consider they why.
Or, in this case, the who. Who is this blog for?
Me. And anyone who wants to come along on the ride. 🙂