Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why blog?

I had an email a few weeks ago from a kind of blog digest, asking if I would like to be included in their blog feed. If you've been blogging for any length of time, you've probably had some request from an outside source to use your content in some way, as have I. I've even fallen for it once, allowing some content to be featured that wasn't as neutral as I'd first thought. That's what the delete button is for.

This particular offer, though, seems to be legit, and therefore flattering. There's really no good reason not to add my name to their scrolls--theoretically, it means more readership, which I suppose is what you want. Isn't it?

I think the blogosphere can probably be divided into two types of bloggers--those who know why they blog and those who don't. I'd suggest that the first category comprises those who are using their blogs for promotional purposes, which is a perfectly legit reason, as long as its all, in the fashionable word of the day, 'transparent'. Then there are those who have an enthusiasm and want to share it, which is wholly admirable as well, and finally, those whose blog is itself the work, like the guy who did one picture for each page of Moby Dick (it has since become a book, but he didn't know that when he started), or the rather wonderful blog Hyperbole and a Half, which I cottoned on to at nearly the end of its run. The author first announced that there was going to be a book, but the last post is about depression, which is rather sad and worrying.

The second category may really only be me, though I suspect not. I fell into this all in a rather haphazard way, and the reasons behind it are now obscure to me. I am absolutely certain that if  I hadn't found some little corner of the blogosphere where I can converse with other bloggers, I wouldn't have kept this up. I don't really even know if I should keep it up. I mean for myself. That may sound like false modesty, or even valid modesty, but what I mean is that I could certainly sustain the blog community connections I have by commenting on other people's blogs. I seriously doubt if anyone would mind.

I think what the blog digest offer connoted to me, and again this is just me and nothing to do with them, is that I am in some way more serious about all this than I actually am. Although I'm happy and even more than happy to read comments here and reply to them, its never really been my aim to build a big  following. This is partly because nothing that I say here should ever be taken as authoritative--at most, it's my best guess. I'm not and have never wanted to be a teacher--I'm a student. A somewhat indolent student at times, but still--that's the right angle. I'm not even particularly interested in language, which you may be skeptical of, but then again, it may explain a lot. All I'm really trying to do here is hone in on things I realize I don't know all that much about. As I've said many times here, I will never run out of material.

Anyway, there is something about trying to steer an audience towards this blog that seems like it would subtly change what I'm doing. For example, I recently did a post on the word 'finance'. All I was trying to do there was figure out what the word stemmed from. I have no financial advice to offer anyone, except to pay your bills on time and forego things you can't really afford. But this blog's stats spiked just from using that word. I am pretty sure almost none of those hundreds of people were grooving on etymology, nor, I think, did they stay long. But it's probably destined to be one of my most popular posts. If I were trying to increase readership, I would be looking into words like subprime, default and bailout.

It would be false to say that I don't care at all who reads this blog. I'm very grateful for readers, but I don't want them to sway me too much. I happened to mention my dilemmas about blogging to a new coworker, not really expecting that she would be able to resolve them. But she was surprisingly fast and lucid in her response. She said, and I paraphrase, "What I like about blogs is that you are thinking about something, and you look it up, and there is a blogpost by someone who is thinking about exactly the same things that you are."

Blogs are indeed a comfort in our existential situation. So if you happen upon this one, don't hesitate to write.


  1. Seana,
    Blogging is like writing a never ending letter to oneself or to a dear friend far away. In these times where it is easy to be eaten out by the impersonal urban society, it is also a way to recover the art of conversation, so I bet you have the best reasons to keep it up. And in the meantime, I will be happy reading your thoughts now and then, chipping in some comment when I feel I need to.
    Greetings from Argentina!

  2. Argentina? Not only is your country suddenly thrust into world attention via the new pope, but my sister, cousin and a close family friend are taking a trip there next week!

    That's a good way to describe blogging. It's kind of like a journal of your own experiments and kind of like a letter and kind of like a newspaper column. All in all, it's an interesting new form.

    And thanks for popping in here now and again. As the spirit takes you.

  3. I think this is a crucial question for many of us who blog. But in a way , to me, it's like most writing. Why am I doing this? Who really cares? However, with Blogging, for me, it's a way of recording my life like I used to do in journals and diaries. Both seem so tedious now, sadly.

    I worry often that I'm wasting my time, but then later, reading over the posts, I see where i was and where my head was at in the moment. And even without readers, it's a good thing to do.

    Congrats on the invite by the way!

  4. Well, Julie, I think you are probably doing enough writing without blogging too at the moment.

    I should say that those it was nice that they found my blog, and asked to include me, in fact, anyone can apply to be part of their digest. I didn't include their name above because my musings have very little to do with them, but if anyone's interested, they can send me an email.

  5. Yes! It's a way to express one's own thoughts or curiosity or quirky joys and to connect to other like-minded people--meaning people who write (on an endless variety of topics).

    I have learned so much from you. It your charm and your own delight in discovering the meanings of words that brings me back.

    And your willingness to connect. You read and comment on my blog, too. I've found I don't stay connected to a lot of blogs where I've reached out, in joy and delight and praise, and there's no reciprocity.

  6. Yes, it's a funny balance, isn't it, Kathleen? I don't really mind if people don't weigh in here, but if I'm jut commenting somewhere and there is no reply ever, it doesn't seem to be particularly wanted. At the same time, though, I know that a lot of bloggers aren't really in this for the back and forth, and a lot of readers aren't either. It's more like reading magazine articles in that way, I guess. To each their own. But I'm more about finding the conversationally likeminded bloggers and commenters like you.

    All just to say, I suppose, that I am pretty happy with the way things are.

  7. I would mind! Confessions of Ignorance keeps me smarter.

    And I have cousins in Argentina!

  8. I have a cousin in Argentina too. Temporarily anyway.

    No, this blog isn't going anywhere. In more ways than one. In the long run blogging is all about what's manageable and what you can sustain. I seem to be connected with a fairly hardy group of blog friends here, but my greater experience is that it's all pretty fleeting and ephemeral. I don't quite get why it tends to be such an all or nothing thing, though.

    My sister, cousin and friend are probably on a plane to Argentina at this moment. If they report back, I'll see if I can find a way to make it relevant here...

  9. Let them be welcome here, then. Argentina is such a kind of strange experiment that we loose any objectivity about it. I want to hear the travellers' opinion when they go back home. Cheers!

  10. I will definitely let them know that their impressions are requested, Hugo.

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  13. My cousins have been there for several generations since the family began to diverge from its common origins, though some of them have begun to spread out from there.

    One impression I gathered from a short trip to Argentina is that Buenos Aires is a beautiful city in November. Another is that the police in Boca may move slowly, but they are genial, and they give good directions.

  14. Another friend was just down there as well. Her traveling companion had a medical emergency and she said that the suddenly needed health care was very good.