Severine has tagged me with the meme asking for five reasons why I blog. I realised I didn’t actually know the answer to that one, so I thought about it for a bit, and here they are.
I blog to help me think – Some people think in images, some people work on gut feeling, I think in words. Sometimes I don’t know what I think until I hear myself saying it. If the level of background noise is too loud, I lose the ability to think. So working through thoughts as writing helps me define them and refine them. But any kind of writing would do that, and I certainly didn’t keep a journal or a diary as regularly as I blog, so why do I blog?
I blog to spark conversations – Blogging is not just about writing, it is also about reading, and I like it when people read and post comments. I came here from a cyberplace which was much more conversational and I miss that to be honest. But I do like to talk about ideas with people, and if I write to help me think I post it in cyberspace to start a conversation. But you can have conversations in pubs or chat rooms or any one of any other kind of social space. So what’s different about blogging?
I blog for the attention – The very first words I posted here are: “I want to see what happens when you start over again in a place where you have no history and no credit”. In other words, I want to see just how much attention I can generate. But if it was as simple as that I would blog very differently. The blogs which have garnered the most attention are the medical ones, and if I was nothing but a stats-tart then why would I post things which I know will reduce the stats?
I blog to indulge myself – A photo here. A haiku there. Commentary, poetry, analysis. I could claim it is to try out different forms of self-expression, but if you ask me it’s just a matter of self-indulgence. But if that was all it was, would I put so much effort into making it easy to find specific posts?
I blog to influence others – The ridiculous, incredible, Kafkaesque cock-ups of the recruitment of hospital doctors in the UK have outraged me, and still worry me sick. In less than a month’s time thousands of junior doctors will be out of a job and thousands of hospitals will have unfilled junior doctors positions. The rotas are going to fall apart, because they don’t have the doctors in place to staff them. This terrifies me as a patient, disgusts me as a tax-payer, and enrages me as a voter. But the issues are complex and run completely against any kind of common sense, so people don’t believe those of us who talk about it. I wanted to explain them. But that doesn’t really explain why I blog, because if it was a matter of campaigning, then a campaigning blog would do it better than this one. So what else is in it for me?
I blog as a displacement activity – two, three, hours of an evening spent puttering around the internet rather than painting the house, reading or studying. Shockingly, it used to be more when I hung out in a writing community. I’m aware that I could have got myself at least one post-grad degree in the time I’ve spent hanging out in cyber-space. At any given moment, I’d rather be blogging than doing the ironing, and once I’m sitting at the PC I’m hard to shift. I’ve just bought myself a sofa to replace the awkward and uncomfortable day-bed I’ve got in my living room, so maybe I’ll start watching TV instead.
Ok, that’s six reaons, but another nice thing about blogs is that there’s no word-count.
So how about you. I’m very shy of tagging, but I am genuinely curious why these folks blog: