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What is the Point?

2010 April 14
by Jill

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!

5 Responses Post a comment
  1. April 15, 2010

    PROPS TO LIVEJOURNAL AS THE BEGINNING OF IT ALL.

    I like blogging because I find it satisfying and exciting, though I’m not exactly sure why it is both of those things for me. I think you’re right, it’s a space in-between a job, an interpersonal relationship, or a private journal — I think of it as another way of sharing myself. Which I guess is just like self-expression?

  2. April 15, 2010

    You’ll be happy to know that I first read this post on my Google Reader!

    I have a public blog as, really, a way of sharing my writing and of putting thoughts out there that I hope people might be interested in and/or relate to. I chose the title because I hoped people would recognize themselves in it. But I haven’t done a whole lot to promote it- I mainly just want to get my writing out there. My entries tend to be longer because it’s more about the writing than the sharing.

    My private Livejournal, though, is more about the sharing. It’s a way of documenting my feelings, communicating with friends, and maybe seeking opinons/validation.

  3. April 15, 2010

    for me, it’s definitely a hobby that helps me blow off steam from all my other work. i am a hard-working bookworm 12 hours a day, but (as you know) a girl’s got to have something fun to do!

  4. April 15, 2010

    It’s funny b/c I have felt like giving up my blog a few times, but when I mention it, my non-blogging, real life friends encourage me to continue – it’s a nice reminder that there are people out there who find it satisfying in some capacity :) Then again, I don’t have aspirations of making it big from blogging, so it’s easier to not take things too seriously!

  5. April 16, 2010

    heh, livejournal. that was like, IT, when I was in undergrad. :)

    I’ve never liked being called a blogger. I’m a *writer.* But, writing online (ahem, blogging) was helping to keep my creativity afloat while unemployed.

    My cynical view on it is that mine and younger generations have a constant need for affirmation and adulation. They need to be told how special and unique they are, and the blogging affords a certain level. Basically, I blame the baby boomers and gen x-ers. 😛

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