The title of this post should suggest approaching with caution. I’m not sure thinking out loud, except to yourself, is ever a good idea, especially on a blog. But as I’m sitting here this morning, that seems to be where I’m headed, so here goes.
I’ve been thinking the last few days more about form and less about content. That is, I’ve been thinking about blogging itself rather than what is written on a blog.
This thinking has been prompted in part by conversations I’ve had this week with several interesting and successful bloggers, bloggers who write about very different things for very different reasons in very different ways. I guess one thing that struck me is obvious. We’re not all here for the same reasons.
Some of us blog to make money. Blogging is either our main source of income or it is a source of needed or desired supplemental income, either directly through advertising or indirectly through promoting goods and services. For those, blogging is business.
Some of us blog to build community. Blogging is a forum for reaching out, making friends, creating connection. For those, blogging is relationship.
Some of us blog as a hobby. Blogging is not central to our day or our attention, but is recreational. For those, blogging is fun.
By now you might be thinking, as I am, that the lines are not so clear. I can identify at various times with all these reasons. The importance of clarifying our motives is, I think, that knowing why we and others do what we do in blogworld will help us understand ourselves and each other better.
For example, if your primary motivation is business, then commenting is a way to build your “customer” base. You will comment on blogs that will provide some practical benefit to you. I have had bloggers comment on my blog for awhile, and then as they gain momentum, they move up the ladder, so to speak. From a business perspective, that makes sense. If I am in community mode, however, then I’m looking for relationship while they are looking for value. This could result in my feeling hurt or used if I am assuming that their motive is the same as mine. If I can recognize and respect our different motives, however, then I don’t take their decision personally. All is well.
Sometimes I sense some underlying judgment in blogworld. People who blog for business might dismiss those who blog for recreation. People who blog for community might look down on those who blog for profit.
I got to wondering why this might be. After all, we live in a world where we function in different contexts with different motivations. But perhaps in our physical world (as opposed to blogworld), these distinctions are more readily apparent and accepted. My interactions with people at work are different from my interactions with people at church, for example. The lines are more clear. In blogworld, however, we are all in a common space online, but sometimes with different expectations. It’s like taking all the people in your physical world – all the people in your family, at work, in your neighborhood, in your book club, at the store – and putting them in the same room and expecting everyone to relate to each other in the same way.
In blogworld, let’s not forget that besides our different motives, we come from different backgrounds, cultures, countries, ages, faiths, and ethnicities.
Here we all are in the “same room” of blogworld with a range of diversity unmatched in any one of our individual lives. It’s really astounding, if you think about it.
And I guess that’s what I’m doing today. Thinking about it.
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Thinking Out Loud
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What an awesome post Galen! I couldn't agree with you more. The blogverse is its own little diverse network. I love how you broke it down here...makes perfect sense. Big hugs, xoxoReplyDelete
Mitzi, I'm glad it made sense. I really was thinking out loud trying to make sense for myself. Thanks for commenting.Delete
What has caused you to think down this road? Have you been hurt by ladder-climbers?ReplyDelete
I think you're right, that there's judgment here and there. I see bits of all three interests in my blogging, and I'm most sensitive to criticism of the tiny commercialism bits.
That's very thoughtful of you to ask, but no, I haven't been hurt. More perplexed, I think, trying to figure out my own motivations and reactions. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I really hadn't thought about blogging in this context - that we are all so diverse, yet in the same "chat room" as it were. You have given us all some very valuable perspectives on how to think about and interact with the many different people who enjoy blogging no matter what the motivation.ReplyDelete
Martha, A chat room is a great analogy. It's really amazing, when you think about the diversity, that we all interact as well as we do! Thanks for commenting.Delete
A while back I asked a Blogger friend to offer some advice regarding how to "improve" my blog. He suggested a couple of things but the one that hit home was to "define my intent."ReplyDelete
I hope you will read Blog, Blogger, Bloggest next time you visit my blog. You'll find it right under "About Our Blog" on the title page.
Visiting the blogverse (to borrow from Mitzi) is like walking into an ice cream shop - there is a flavor for everyone.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.
Suzanne, I will take your advice the next time I visit, which will be soon I hope! I've had out of town company this week, and my blog visits have gotten behind. Thanks for your comment.Delete
PS--I addressed my response to "Suzanne" because I think from various comments that it is Suzanne writing and not Malcolm. If I'm mistaken, please tell me!
Your thoughts are very interesting. One thing has been true for me - it's the diversity found in blogging that I've enjoyed the most. I've cyber-met so many different people. It's been delightful. My blogging has been such a process. The motive for writing has changed periodically, but the benefit of making friends has been constant. Bottom line - I love it.ReplyDelete
Myrna, I agree. When I lived overseas, I lived in a very diverse community. Now that I'm back in the States, the online community is the closest I've come to that same sense of richness that diversity brings. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I guess each one of us here are for different reasons to blog Galen.ReplyDelete
Some do so to share their personal experience, while others do so for their business and to create a niche for themselves. I guess what really matters is somehow and either ways you create some value for your readers, who spend their time reading your content - isn't it?
Thanks for sharing. :)
Harleena, That's true. I think no matter what a blogger's motives are, we all try to create something that is of value. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I think your observations are pretty close to being perfect. So if you were to ask why I blog I'm in the "for fun" spot. I love to write, blogging gives me that space to be inspired by something and share it with (the bloggers I feel at many times, remotely close to.) Funny isn't it? I thought about that the other day, why I can find such joy and pleasure with just communication right here, and not even meeting for lunch. The real answer, I think it's easier to just be ourselves here. Not a work, church or next door neighbor person. We don't have to prove anything to anyone here, not really. I love learning and researching old and new things, or forgotten things. Seeing and learning from others too. I can do this through the different posts that I most often do on a weekly basis. None of them are the same. All different and exciting in their own way, and each of those sites have a certain kind of blogger too. I do feel a connection here, and for the most part it's always good. You are one of those special people that really show me so many important things, I need to focus us. Your posts are always good medicine for me! I thank you for that Galen.ReplyDelete
Karen, Thank you for your thoughtful insights and your kind words. I appreciate your comment very much.Delete
This is a fascinating topic, Galen. One way to think about these issues is to look at blogging as a platform or medium that's entering its adolescence. As such, the ground rules are still in flux, and we're not yet sure of the etiquette, or our roles. So it's not surprising, particularly in light of the diversity of the blogworld, that we have conflicting expectations, hurt feelings, and missed connections. Watching this development is, I suppose, one of the things that keeps the experience interesting.ReplyDelete
Clara, Adolescence is a great analogy, especially the way you have explained it. The "ground rules are still in flux" is an astute observation. That uncertainty can create anxiety that can add to the missed connections. It is interesting indeed. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Smartly observed, Galen. One thing I never anticipated is that the feedback I was getting from readers would change my approach to blogging, but it did. I'm still doing it for fun, but I try to make it "worth reading" more than I used to. Having regular readers is making me a better writer. Since you are one, I thank you for that.ReplyDelete
Mikey, Your posts are always worth reading and have been since I started reading them. So if that was motivated in part by feedback, I'm going to keep commenting! I feel the same way about your comments here, so thank you.Delete
Galen -- really enjoyed this post. I've only been blogging for about eight months, and you surface some of the exact things I've been wondering about. Great idea to step back for a little and reflect on how the blogosphere operates.ReplyDelete
Stephen, I think it's great to be thinking and talking about these things, especially when you are still relatively new, so I'm glad you joined the conversation. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I've noticed some of my blogging community members interested in the business aspect of it. I like the commonality of thinking - as well as the diversity - but don't want to be taken advantage of if something I say gets used by someone else in an article, for example.ReplyDelete
Linda, Using something without attribution or permission is certainly a problem. Short of that, I think there are different expectations and different opinions about etiquette and courtesy that can lead to some judgment or misunderstanding. Thanks for commenting.Delete
How interesting. My latest post is about clarity. We must be on the same wavelength haha!
You have clearly analyzed the situation in the blog world from many angles. And this is indeed the reality of things.
But such is the way of the world. We all have our reasons for doing the things we do. We all have our unique roles to play. We will get along and connect with some people but not with others. This is just something we have to live and work with since no one at this point in life has any idea how to unite the human race for a greater cause.
I always felt that the only time human beings would unite and put aside our differences is when we face an external threat that threatens our very survival. The question is if we can put aside our differences in time. But for the moment, since our survival as a race is not the top of our agendas, then our survival as an individual has to come first. Such is life.
But as it is in facebook or elsewhere, there will always be some people we belong with as we go about our journey, just for the sake of belonging and no other motives. :)
Thank you for thinking out loud.
Irving the Vizier
Irving, Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comment. Uniting around a common threat is certainly a way to get people past their differences. Short of that, I hope that we can respect the different reasons that we show up here in blogworld, and be kind to each other. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Interesting piece, I have blogs for business and blogs for recreation. When I need a break from business I work on my photo blog or quote blog. You really can meet wonderful people via the blogging platforms too.ReplyDelete
Lisa, That's interesting how you have separated different motives into different blogs. I agree that you can meet some great people online. Thanks for commenting.Delete
And you've beautifully expressed something we all think about from time to time, especially when we experience different behaviors. :-) With the online factor, everything is so much more challenging and quicker - and it is a race.ReplyDelete
I loved your point about understanding each other and forming our perceptions accordingly.
I remember when, in the beginning of Internet, we would feel so excited to "chat". I still enjoy doing that - especially with the added technological advantage of voice and video - what a joy. I love it even more when those virtual people become loyal friends and are there for no other reason than because they care for you, love you.
That said, I blog for fun, relationships and community. It is so wonderful to make connections and strengthen them, exchange emails...I almost feel like it is as good as our offline relationships. How else would we connect with kindred souls all over the world?
I am glad you and I are bonded :D Hugs, Galen. (My English teacher will not be pleased. Paragraphs beginning with "I" and "And"......)
Vidya, Thanks for your added perspective. I'm so glad we are bonded, too! And like you, I've had to get past a few English grammar and style rules to write more informally. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I love the satisfaction of finding common ground, through blogging, with fellow human beings half way around the world. The gift of learning new ideas and thoughts about a variety of topics spurs me on to continue making connections.ReplyDelete
The internet is a powerful tool toward breaking down barriers between cultures and understanding differences. And that's one big step closer to lasting unity.
DJ, I like that image of breaking down barriers between cultures to move towards lasting unity. That has certainly been my experience. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I wonder why I blog many times... I guess the reason is because i like to!ReplyDelete
Annmarie, Then perhaps your primary motive is fun and recreation, although you have built a huge following with your excellent writing, which suggests community as well. I'm glad you are part of my community! Thanks for commenting.Delete
A wonderful post, Galen! You managed to put it all down so simply yet, so completely. I hadn't really given this whole idea a lot of thought, tho' I do notice the difference in reasons for blogging. I love that I can network with all types of bloggers and get to know them either through email, blogging or just photos in some cases! It's a beautiful world, full of beautiful souls. We are blessed.ReplyDelete
Hugs, GraceinAZ (Pat)
Pat, We are blessed indeed. As long as we recognize and respect our differences, then we should all do fine. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Great post my friend Galen!ReplyDelete
So very true - we are all different in the blog world and I've would have never met you if it wasn't for the blog world. So that makes me smile!
I write for recreation purpose only - no business, nothing to buy but personal development and encouragment. I'm not selling books (yet), I don't charge to come to my site. It's all free and it's all done from LOVE!
I'm with you and thank you for thinking out loud!
Nancy, You provide sunshine from your blog to everyone who visits there. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I'm fast approaching my third year online. While I love blogging there isn't enough time in the day or the week to read all the blogs from the great blogging friends I've made in that time!
I try to rotate around.
That said....I totally agree that we are a diverse bunch with different things motivating each of us.
All my best to you,
Angela, Thanks for offering some practical advice for how to manage all our blog connections in a way that maintains our connections without overwhelming us. I'm going to follow your advice. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Wow, I loved your thoughts today. I think it is marvelous that we can communicate in so many different ways. We all do come from so many backgrounds of experince and there is so many good things to share with the blogging world. We are indeed diverse. You are amazing!ReplyDelete
Loved this one~
LeAnn, I agree. When I look at the people who comment on my blog, I am so excited by all the differences represented. We are all amazing! Thanks for your kind words.Delete
Really interesting post and yes you are quite right. I hope people will spend all that time they might have spent judging others and their motives - on commenting on tother people's blogs to show support - or on enjoying writing on their own site!ReplyDelete
Yes, their energy would be much better spent in positive pursuits. I don't know how much of that judging really goes on. Probably not that much. But I do encounter it from time to time. Thanks for your comment showing support!Delete
Why do we blog - that's the 64 dollar question isn't it. We all desire clarity where none exists. I hope you share your conclusions with us after you have thought it through. For me, I suspect it's strongly tied to the ego and the need for recognition.
Riley, I am not sure I will have any further insight even after thinking about it more. I wonder about your focus on the ego. I think that might be true for some, but others seem to enjoy blogging regardless of the size of their audience. I suspect that there are many motives among bloggers, and even more than one motive for any single blogger. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Galen...I love your thoughts, your values, your willingness to share, and your ability to quietly provoke...ReplyDelete
You are leading by example. This is the best type of service you can offer the world. With love...Fran
Fran, Thank you so much for your kind words. You made my day.Delete
One of the reasons that I blog is to cross paths with individuals like you. I love your thoughts, values, ability to share and question.
Like everything in life, I believe that we find our own 'peeps'....the people that are in our life for the right reasons. With gratitude...Fran
Fran, You made my day twice over! I suspect you thought the first comment didn't work, but I have comment moderation, so there is sometimes a delay. I got them both and published them both because I loved what you said in both of them. Thanks!Delete
Hey Galen - you're absolutely right about the different reasons people blog and possibly the underlying judgment some bloggers have over others. I think the good thing about the blogworld is choice. Just like friendships and relationships in general, one can choose to interact or friend a blogger or not. I guess if a particular community or set of bloggers don't fit well with you, you can go to a different part of the neighborhood where you will find like-minded folks:) The one commonality I do enjoy about all bloggers is their desire to share with others and for the most part, desire to build up a community.ReplyDelete
Vishnu, True, we have a tremendous about of choice! One of the things I appreciate about the people who read and comment on my blog is that there is so much diversity represented right here in one place. (I know that is true on many other blogs as well.) We can choose as bloggers and as readers to stay within a circle of people who are very much like us, and there's nothing wrong with that, or we can choose to welcome a broader range of views and experiences to the table. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Great food for thought here, Galen. Strangely I've been thinking about a post along these lines but focusing more on the aspect of commenting, for the last few days. Thank you for stirring the pot, I think I'm going to write that soon, with a link to this post of yours, of course! ♥ReplyDelete
Corinne, I'm going to hold you to this because I think commenting warrants a post by itself, and I would be very interested in your views on this topic. So start writing! Thanks for commenting.Delete
I give as much thought as to why I blog as to why I drive my car. It's something that you just DO. Writing a blog to make money is like driving a taxi cab to make money. Writing a blog to be creative is the same as driving a car along the Amalfi Drive in Italy. Very pleasurable.ReplyDelete
I drive my car and I don't give it much thought. Ditto for my blog.
That's an interesting analogy! Thanks for your comment.Delete
I've also thought of the 'why I blog' thing ... interesting innit ;) Glad you brought it up! I blog for release. I tend to give TMI but then that's what I need to do.ReplyDelete
I began blogging to help me find a path --- any path --- I now blog to have a journal of what I'm doing. I have been blogging for a year now. It is great fun to go back and see then and now.
If no one reads my blog ... I would still blog. It isn't necessary and sometimes I like to just read other blogs and don't want to comment because trying to leave a cute and/or clever comment wears me out... I'd rather be outside walking
So commenting on other blogs will get you readers - from what I've been told ... but I don't blog or comment to play games ... I truly only comment or read what I want when I want ...
Doesn't matter what or who gives a patoo... My stats go up and down and over and around... I think it's absolutely amazing that someone would read my stuff much less leave a comment.
Beautiful day here in Port Townsend, Washington! light jacket day. I'll be heading to Oregon at some point....
I had to quit reading a bit when I saw about Sadie.. I just can't handle that kind of sad... been there and done the pet losses... As long as I'm traveling, I won't get another... too heartbreaking.
You always invoke thought.... and that's a good thing ;)
Carolyn, Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. You are always your own person, in life and in blogworld! I just popped over to catch up on your travels. Always a delight. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I totally get the questioning and the soul searching of this. When I started blogging it was to promote my poetry chap-book for about a week. Yikes. Then I got really off track and thought I could use it to make money. The fact is - blogs don't make money - businesses do! I blog to hone my writing skills and to grow my voice and my reader-base. In the background I work on the elements of a business. I love the community of blogging and social media. I love the conversations and meeting people who I have met online. I recently got to meet Nancy Shields. What a treat! But overall, if I am not enjoying it - I am not going to do it. I have been down a lot of paths online and I was even in a blogging tribe for almost two years. I feel like I am on a good track now. Glad we met in the blogosphere, Galen.ReplyDelete
Nicole, How fun that you got to meet Nancy! I assumed when I first started reading your blog and hers that you two already knew each other. I'm glad we have met in blogworld, too! Thanks for commenting.Delete
I love this post...makes me think too. Blogging has helped me channel a more concise me. I've noticed my writing, both personal and professional, has greatly improved. I can get to the point quicker. It's exercise for my brain. Sharing ideas and thoughts with others in blogland has just been a bonus...ReplyDelete
You have described many benefits to blogging, all of which I have experienced as well. I had no idea when I started that it would lead to this. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Galen, I found your blog via the Satisfying Retirement blog and Bob's recent visit to your city. This is a very thought-provoking post. I have plans to start blogging soon, and I will take your observations into account when I start. I was a professional technical writer for many years, and the first task was always "define your audience." In blog world, I guess that translates to "determine your purpose" and write accordingly.ReplyDelete
I look forward to reading more of your posts, both past and future.
Cari, Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by and please pardon my tardiness in responding. (This last week got away from me!) Your name does not include a link back, so if you would like to give me a link to your blog, I would love to visit yours. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I think you have hit upon a wonderful concept here. And you are right, the lines are blurred in some cases to the point of being indistinguishable.
There was a time when the commonly held knowledge was that every blogger should find their niche. But, it seems to me, we are moving away from that. People that continue to return are interested in the writer and their thoughts on a variety of subjects. That is how we truly get to know each other. I think that is why I love reading blogs.
Thank you for sharing your time. I had a wonderful time.
b, Even after blogging for awhile, I'm still learning so much. I'm not even sure I know what "commonly held knowledge" about blogging is. I'm always learning from people like you. Thanks for your kind words.Delete
More and more I find that I would rather read other's blog than blog myself. Sometimes I think I am just tired of sharing...but I do miss it a little. I haven't given up to the point of deleting my blog though...I feel that I can start up any time I choose...ReplyDelete
That's interesting. Sometimes it would certainly seem more relaxing to browse other's blogs and not try to keep up with a schedule on my own. You have a great attitude about your blog that makes it fit will into your life. Thanks for commenting.Delete
I don't think about this topic all the time, but it does cross my mind when I hop around reading blogs. There are writers I adore because they are truly gifted writers, others because they make me smile, some because the make me think, and there are some I'd rather not read - ever, and often don't come back. I think the beauty of each of having different voices is because the blogs I don't enjoy are loved by someone else. I'd not be blogging if it was a must for a writer selling the first novel. At first I wasn't sure I would enjoy it but after a year I find it a great venue to experiment with words and met other writes. Who knew?ReplyDelete
brenda, Who knew indeed?! I started blogging without really knowing what a blog was and it never occurred to me that anyone who didn't already know me would read it. Like you, I love the diversity of writers and content. Thanks for your comment.Delete
A late addition to an excellent post! Since you and I had this discussion during my Oregon trip I have been thinking about the subject, too. You are so right: for me blogging is a combination of business/relationship/hobby. I get paid enough to feed my Kindle download "sickness" and a nice meal out every now and again. I actively look for relationship-building opportunities. And, I write because it is fun and a great creative outlet for me.ReplyDelete
But, after 2 years I have discovered a fourth component: responsibility. The comments and private e-mails tell me there are parts of my experiences that are helping others. I feel strongly that I "owe" those folks the best I can bring to the table. That may mean more work than fun at times. But, I am quite willing to do so.
Blogging is an activity that can feed the individual on so many different levels. But, as you note, it is important to determine why you are doing it.
Thanks, Galen, for your first-rate content every post, and your friendship.
Bob, It's never too late. Your comment also brought me back to this post, where I realized that I had not responded to some other "late" comments. Thanks for bringing me back here so that I could try to catch up and make up for my bad manners!Delete
And thanks for adding your wise perspective. I have certainly felt that responsibility without really consciously identifying and recognizing it. Your observation has now made some things fall into place for me in my own thinking.
Thanks for the kind words, and for your friendship, too.
The reason why I blog is my personal need to connect with people who might understand what I am going through. Since I live as a prisoner at home, the blogging world is the only way for me to express my feelings and get out of my prison.ReplyDelete
Nikky, That is a powerful reason for blogging. Sometimes when we are bemoaning technology, we forget that for some of us, technology allows us to participate with and interact with the world around us. Thank you for sharing your perspective.Delete