What is the Point?
I just had an interesting conversation with co-workers about the culture of blogging, and it brought up a lot of questions and ideas that I’ve been wondering about blogging for a long time. I think the most important of these questions is WHY? There are thousands of different types of blogs–from topics to appearance to the type of blogging software you use. Behind all of these myriad types of content is the simple fact that different people blog for different reasons. There are the people who blog about their personal lives as form of self-expression or journaling; there are those who blog about their political opinions; there are those who blog to keep track of various things they’ve seen that have sparked ideas or inspiration.
These are all completely valid reasons for blogging. Maybe not everyone needs a specific reason to blog. More and more, though, I find that I do. My first blog was a LiveJournal I started while I was studying abroad in Florence. I used it to keep in touch with other friends who used LiveJournal, as well as to write about my experiences. It served its purpose well, and I kept it up for a few years, using it as a way to make my private writing more public (though the more personal entries were kept to “friends-only”). Because LiveJournal was an active community, I “met” other writers who would read my work just as I read theirs, but it was a relatively small audience. When I moved to Boston for grad school, I started contributing to other blogs as a way to expand my writing–namely, Bostonist, Vernacular, and Fringe, which I still edit. And then I started my own blog, Boston Book Bean, just to post on the fun things that weren’t strictly writing or reading related, which was most of the content I was writing otherwise. It was supposed to be fun, but then I thought, “Why can’t I take this seriously?” And that’s where Looks & Books was born–once I realized what I wanted to focus on, I felt like I needed to create a brand-new, more widely-accessible forum for my blogging.
I admit, I am envious of those bloggers who have managed to turn their quirky hobby into a career, a book, or a way to get sponsors and new clothing. If someone told me that was in my future, I would certainly be pleased. However, ultimately, that’s not why I blog here. So why do I do it? It’s time consuming, tiring, and it’s easy to get a little discouraged when it feels like no one’s out there reading. But for me, it’s a creative outlet–a way to express myself that’s not a part of my full-time job or my social life or my relationship or my private notebook. It’s a way to keep writing as a small, semi-regular part of my routine, which is something that’s vitally important to me.
So that’s why I do it. Why do you do it? I think it’s an interesting question, and I would love to hear your thoughts!