“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.”
- Francis Bacon

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why do we blog and why do we continue to blog and what do we receive as a result of our efforts?

No pretty pictures. No sweet songs. Nothing witty to read. But a question that has been popping back into my head over and over and over and over since reading several posts by women apologizing for their inadequate blog or blogging skills.

Over time I have read blogs where the women posted that they were taking a break from blogging due to the fact that they needed to "get on with life", "take time away from the computer", "spend more time with family", "spend more time outdoors", and the list goes on and on and on with a plethora of reasons or excuses as to why they weren't going to be around for a while. They felt as though their blog was pulling them into an abyss and they needed time to recover from the experience and to gather themselves once again.

I've also read blog entries where women have said that the stress of blogging was just becoming too much for them: trying to come up with interesting entries, pretty photos, things that others would like to read, shopping when they really didn't have anything they wanted to buy but they wanted to have an interesting blog entry...all in search of "comments" or reaching a higher numbers of visitors.

So, I've spend a couple of days looking at some of the more successful, if that's what you want to call them, blogs and also their longevity in the blogging world. Most, but not all, of those that have high numbers of visitors and oodles of comments are blogs that not only represent a hefty amount of time and talent but also represent the blogger's quest for sales of their wares, or income from the number of times a blogger will click on a link. I could post links to direct you to those blogs, but that is not the point of this post of mine. These blogging women are making money with the pretty photos and interesting chat that brings back their readers day after day after day. It's almost as though readers can't live without checking these particular blogs. We now have publications solely for the blogger. Publications that cost an arm and a leg and publications that present a bar that most bloggers will never be able to clear, even on their best day.

Most recently I read a pleading request by a blogger for forgiveness because she was going to take a break...she was worn out and she was weary of trying to please "her public" with witty and pretty blog entries. She was shopping, not for herself, but for others. One person who responded to the post was angry and accusing saying that the blogger had better get a grip on life and that it appeared she was a whiner looking for people to fawn over her and that life was rough and tough and that she had just better grow up.

What? Is this what we put ourselves out here for? To be abused with the written word when we open ourselves up to the extent that we are sorry for not providing "whatever" to people that we haven't even met and feel guilty if we don't perform to a particular standard?

Why do people blog, if not to make money as so many who make items for sale or those whose blogs exist to get more clicks and thus more checks from Google?

Is it because our society is so fast paced that we seek a connection with other human beings? Is it because we seek approval...approval that we don't receive from our friends and family? Is it because we want to leave something behind in cyberspace when we die? Is it to feed our egos and self-esteem? Why do we share so much of ourselves with people that we have never met? Do we feel alone in a house filled with people who don't communicate with us? Why do we show so much compassion to people that we have never met through our comments but barely give a sideways glance to the beggar that we pass on our way to work or to shop? Why do we post photos of our homes?

And, here I must comment: It appears that most who post a photo of their home are in the upper income level of our society. I don't see photos of homes that need their yard raked or the shutters painted or the garage door fixed. I only see homes that the average, middle class American can only dream about.

I blog because I love to write. I blog because I have always been someone who enjoys sharing. I blog to share something of myself with my family...thoughts that are important to me...things I want them to know when I am no longer on this planet. I blog because, at least right now, I have fun blogging.

But, when it becomes a chore or when people decide to become cruel to me through their comments or if I wring my hands over a blog entry wondering if it's pretty enough or good enough or interesting enough...then my blog will become an "invitation only" blog. Life is too short and too precious to spend time in worry over blog entries.

If you've stuck with me this long...reading my feelings today about blogging, thanks. Whether you agree with me or not, I respect your thoughts. But my question remains: Why do we or why do you or why does society blog and feel a need to do so?

18 comments:

T said...

This is a very interesting post.

I was reading just the other day another blog where someone posted blogging without obligation. That bloggers should not have to apologize for not blogging everyday. Once it becomes an obligation, it isn't fun anymore. I tend to agree.

When i started blogging, it was mainly a place to post updates and pictures of my furkids for my mom to be able to catch up. She is on dialup, and I found it much easier for her to read a blog, then try and get my pictures through email.

I enjoy blogging, but it isn't an obligation to me. I have met some very nice people, that email me personally, so we get to know eachother a bit more. I like to share my experiences, most with what is going on currently with my work with feral cat rescue/tnr, and my dogs. With of course the occasional rant. :)

Blogging is a place for me to just share my thoughts and photos about whatever I feel like sharing on that given day.

I think a blog means more when you don't feel obligated to blog, you just do. Sometimes I get many comments, and other times I don't, but I don't expect any, so when someone feels compelled enough to comment, I really am most appreciated and grateful for them taking that time to do so.

Diane @ Four Paws and Co said...

Very interesting Mimi! OMG, I would be so hurt if someone left cruel comments. In fact, I'd probably give up the blog rather than deal with rude people.

I began blogging as a way to share with others. I'm retired and the blog filled a space left from no longer working in an office. I enjoy reading about others folks homes, pets and hobbies and wanted to share mine. I do experience blog block periodically, so I post less often.

You know that old saying, (or maybe not so old...), It's my blog and I can blog what I want to...

☺ Diane

Betty (picture circa 1954) said...

I think you made some very good points...some of which I've observed too. Sometimes when I read a blog I think it sounds too good to be true...and perhaps that's the case. Maybe they're trying to convince themselves more than us. I recently made the decision to stay off the computer on Mondays. Personally, I think I spend too much time online even though it's probably considerably less than most people. A friend posted on her blog recently that her son asked, "Mom, do you have any friends that actually walk in the front door?" That made an impression with me. As I've spent more time online I've had less time for in person friends.

Lisa said...

You know I thought blogging was about saying what you want to say. talk about your life. I thought it would be boring to read others blogs. I was asked by Laurie at clarmingdesigns if I had a blog. I read through another friend's blog, and thought I want to just write. I have things to say. Then I found Pink Saturday and have found so many wonderful friends and I like reading about shopping, birthdays, babies, moms, bad times, funny times, trying times. I found ALOT of people who feel the same as I do , who like what I do and it is so fun. I don't see there is a need to ever be nasty. If you don't like a blog don't read it. Don't use it as an excuse to be cruel to someone you really don't know. WHat's the point in that.
As for what it looks like... I don't really care, If you are like me I don't like taking alot of time with a camera and the lighting , etc. I just want a picture, point and shoot. I've enjoyed learning all the tricks and feel more comfortable around a computer but I still want to know what my friends are up to pics or not! I also think we over think our own stuff. Don't sweat it! Just be here to make yourself happy, to enjoy those of us who are in it for fun. My computer is broken and I'm not sure I'll get it back and then it will be a long time to get a new one. I really can't afford it. I've missed all my friends 30 or so of you and I try to keep in touch while I'm at work, but do I really miss "having to blog" no. I've posted a few but I lost alot of planned pics for blogs on my computer so it was over a week before I got them back.
Anyway , I appreciate you and everything you have to say, funny, sad, important or not. But that's what friends do!

BIG HUGS MY FRIEND!! Lisa

KayEllen said...

Hi Mimi:)

Just reading your post about blogging...I think any form of creativity when it looses the true meaning of why you began the journey..it maybe time to change directions...and think of new ways to express yourself in an artistic way.

For me personally I love to encourage women to be creative and hope they bless the people that surround there lives...

If i am making dinner, cheering on one of my children, praying for a friend that is ill, or helping pick out a area rug for a client..
They all can become something I may chat about on line.

I do limit my time online and try to make sure it doesn't consume my life.

I have made lasting friendships with bloggers and attempt to meet as many as I can in person!

Hope my input helps...if it has changed from a passion to a duty..you may need to take a break.

Thanks for the post:)

Smiles,
kayellen

RobinfromCA said...

Hi Mimi,

I agree with much of what you said. I too have read some blogs where the blogger was feeling overwhelmed by the "responsibility" to blog. Sometimes a blog is so lovely and joyful to visit we may put an undue pressure on people to feel they have a standard they must live up to. Of course, it's too bad some commenter felt the need to be rude!

I blog because, like Kay Ellen said, it's artistic. I like to learn more about the computer and sometimes I post little gadgets on my blog just because I figured out how and I get so excited! I also started spending more time playing with my camera and I wanted something to do with the pictures I took. It's a fun way to share them with my family members who live out of the area. I joined Shades of Inspiration (which I've abandoned lately and miss so much - can't wait until school gets out) and then found blogging as well which has also brought into my life some lovely new friends. But, I never feel obligated. Sometimes I post once a week and sometimes more. If it ever becomes a chore - I will stop.

As to the economic part - there are some great blogs out there about decorating small houses and spaces. For those feeling more economically challenged - which is most people these days - search for those blogs. One of my favorites is "Thoughts from Alice W." who has such a pretty townhouse that evolved from how she decorated her pretty apartment. She's another blogger who is slowing down but her past posts are so worth reading and getting to know her sweet Renoir is fun as well.

So, now that I need to join "On and on Anon" I'll stop. But you do pose an interesting question and one everyone should think about before they get blog burn out.

Have a happy Thursday whatever you choose to do!

Robin

Betty (picture circa 1954) said...

I wish I could think up a clever name for computerless Monday. I find there's always things to do on Mondays after the weekend, and in the evening I watch Dancing With The Stars (true confession time here). I've just tried to make friends aware so they don't expect responses to E-mails. On occasion I don't get online Tuesdays either.

I do enjoy reading blogs though...just don't read as many as I'd like. For me something simple like a picture of tulips on someone's blog can make my day. It's something I grew up with and they don't grow well here. Or seeing pictures of snow (which I also miss). That's what I enjoy about blogging...connecting with people in other parts of the country.

Sheri said...

Dear Mimi,
What a thought provoking post. I actually read this yesterday and wanted to "ponder" before writing. Why do I blog?

I probably can give you a list of answers, but at the top of the list is simply that I enjoy it. I remember stumbling upon the blogging world and was amazed at the talent out there! I enjoy "peeking" in on others who share their creativity (I'm all about the crafts!) I didn't think I would have anything interesting to contribute to the blogging world, and so I started mine more as a journal. I do post craft things that I work on, whether or not I happen to put it up on eBay. My crafts are so simple compared to the talent and WOW-ness of others I've seen. But I think of how much inspiration I see from others, and hope that maybe someone will be inspired by what I do too.

If blogging becomes a chore and unenjoyable, then I will take a break and won't apologize for it. I love my readers, don't get me wrong! Sometimes I wonder "what do they see in my blog?" because I am so clumsy with a camera and my photos need some serious editing I'm sure! :)

Maybe it's the honesty. I have an idea of which blogs you are seeing that are "too good to be true" (and I have to agree)...or atleast I've found quite a few myself. I never personally post pictures of my home because we live in a "shack" compared to some of these homes I've seen!! I don't have the beautiful gardens and spacious rooms so elegantly decorated. Our house looks "real" and "lived in". I suspect that most bloggers have the same. ;) Have you seen the magazine/booklet "Where Women Create"? OMGosh! It's like a fantasy magazine when I see it! I can only dream!! I have a desk in a spare room that is piled high of everything I work on! haha!

I have "met" some incredibly talented and just plain "down-to-earth-friendly" people here in blogland. I do enjoy the comments I admit! I love hearing that someone can't wait to try a recipe I posted or they like a new art-craft item I just made. :)

The Pink Birdhouse said...

Mimi, I have read your post twice, and had a long comment all written out in my head. it was almost as long as your original post itself! But to put it in a nut shell, I started blogging originally to promote my Etsy shop since someone had told me it would be a good idea. But that only lasted about 1 or 2 weeks, and soon I was posting about anything that happened to me during the day, writing my thoughts, sharing with others, posting pictures of where I live. I have so much fun on blogger, that I no longer can picture my life without it. As to the obligation part, it is a shame that some feel that way. I guess it is like getting a phone call while you are out and feeling the need to call back right away, you do not want to hurt the person's feelings by not responding. but, I blog when I can, when I have something to say, and I promsised myself that I would not let it get to be a chore. I want it to remain fun, be a contact to other women who think like me and want to share the bits and pieces of my life. and vice versa. It is a shame that some bloggers feel they have to be rude. I can only shake my head at that. Of one thing i am sure of, and that is I am glad you posted your thoughts on this!!! I too had read several blogs of women complaining of the obligation and stress of blogging, and I felt bad for them. I am always thrilled when I get comments on my posts, but if I do not get many, that is okay too. i know my friends are busy, just like me, and they will be back around when they have time, and it will be just as sweet to have their name show up in the comment list, and there is NO obligation!! LOL I just have fun posting, letting my thoughts run free, showing pictures, and if I can give anyone pleasure with that, then I can count myself very lucky, cuz the pleasure is all mine too!! hugs, Debby

That shabby Pink Girl said...

Hi Mimi
I read your post twice~~gosh, i would hate to get a negative comment,I love blogging because it's fun, I am computer challenged so it's probably a real trick to figure out my blog, but I still do it!! and hope every one gives me the benefit of the doubt. I love to share my family and friends, and I love to see other bloggers family's and their travels etc. I especially love PINK SATURDAY because I love Pink, and I really have met a lot of very nice people who also love PINK...I sincerely want each person who reads my Blog to enjoy it, I love my family , kids, grandkids, our animals and I like to share my stories about them. Thats why I blog, and I love reading the comments I get. I always read your Blog because it is interesting to me, and I have you in my Fave's.
Blessings
marian elizabeth

MISS PEACH ~(^.^)~ said...

I began Miss Peach's blog as a daily diary of sorts. The musings of a tiny ginger kitty who was a Hospice Volunteer. She deserved a stint in the limelight. Before I knew it, other kitties found her blog and we developed friendships in a tight knit catblogging community. I enjoy photography much more than writing and fill the post with visual rather than written musings. I blog for myself and seldome find the time to wander the blogosphere to visit and comment. I do try to keep my finger on the pulse of what goes on with every kitty through our newspage the Cat Blogosphere. As for comments...when I get lots, I panic at returning the calling cards. I just enjoy sharing a little bit of our tiny boring world with whoever wishes to stop by and stay for a spell. I also like to help kitties who might need a hand now and then with auctions. I have been the recipent of this kind of generous help when Miss Peach needed her cancer surgery and dental work. I am not the typical blogger I suppose. My art blog is a way of showing the art work I make and exchange with artists of many clubs I belong to. It is s fun way to see progress over the year and highlight creativity.
This was an interesting post Mimi...
Greetings from the cozy cottage

Vintage Soul said...

For me blogging is a way to connect with others who like the things I do. Most people I know in my "real" life don't really get it. They see it all as junk or clutter. To me its raw material for creativity. Before I started reading blogs I would wonder if I was crazy for liking and making the things I did. Now I feel validated and I like to share the things I make and the things that inspire me to create. As for wonderful houses I don't think they are all of them that expensive or that impossible to replicate in your own surroundings. I think the trick is in surrounding yourself with the things you love and presenting them beautifully. Photography has a way of elevating the mundane to great heights and some people either have good cameras or excellent photographic skills:) That too is Art. That being said I too have found myself buying things I don't need but I don't think blogging is entirely to blame for that. For a while I found myself looking out for pink things to buy for "Pink Saturday" or blue things to buy for "Blue Monday" but I have had to nip that in the bud. Now I try to make something using that color or find something already in my home. Reading other blogs I have more often found myself being introduced to new things or a new perspective on old things. That is one of the main reasons I love blogs and blogging.
Great post and a very stimulating discussion.

Patricia said...

I have enjoyed your thought provoking post and have thought about it for a few days. Many of these thoughts have crossed my mind at different times. I was beginning to believe it was only me. I have always thought of my blog as a work book, a journal displaying my craft to share with other people who enjoy the same subjects.Thanks once again for the addressing these questions and please keep writing.

Abby said...

Mimi,

I enjoyed your entry.

Why do I blog? I've asked myself the same question, but I feel this is my current answer. First, I came across Kay Ellen's (above) path on Flickr. She kept telling me, "this would make a great blog entry Abby, you should blog." One day, I decided, why not?

Now that I'm finding my way, I marvel at how fantastic it is to be able to use my mind, exercise my creativity, and communicate with others from all over the world.

I read something once that said, since television became a huge part of our culture, American's had forgotten how to write and were spending too much time being passively entertained.

My other reason for blogging is, you can't get me to stop taking pictures. I've been a photographer for years and years, and since digital photography was created, I have even more photos than ever. It's so much for me to share my photos with people. For years, I've been sending photos to my family, friends, and clients. Now I'm getting hooked up with other creative people, and other photographers, especially on Flickr.

There you have it. My long winded response. I enjoyed your blog entry!

~Abby

MyThoughtsMyVoice said...

Hello mimi,

One thing i can say though, I don't want to ever come to a point where blogging seems like a chore. I started blogging to enjoy in the first place and discover new things.

But maybe, this just happen or people say this cause they just wanted to let their loyal readers (and maybe friends) so they won't just wonder.

Li

debbie said...

DEAREST MIMI,
I CAME HERE TO POST FOR PINK SATURDAY AND DECIDED TO READ FIRST, CATCH UP.
WOW....NOW THAT IS A POST AND I WILL THINK ABOUT IT FOR MANY DAYS.
I BLOG, FIRST OF ALL BECAUSE I PRAYED ABOUT IT AND I TOLD GOD HE WAS GOING TO HAVE TO HELP ME BECAUSE I WAS COMPUTER DUMB WITH A BIG D. I STILL LEARN EVERY DAY...JUST THE OTHER DAY I FOUND OUT THAT THERE WAS AN ALIGN BUTTON. I KNOW I HAVE TO LAUGH AT MYSELF BUT THEN I AM PROUD FOR THE PROGRESS I HAVE MADE.
I WANTED TO BE A BLESSING, I WANTED TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS, I WANTED TO FIND PEOPLE WHO LIKED THE THINGS I LIKED, I WANTED TO LEARN NEW THINGS, FIND ABOUT INTERESTING PLACES, AND TO PRAY FOR PEOPLE ESPECIALLY CHILDREN, AND PEOPLE WITH CANCER.
IT WOULD BE HURTFUL TO HAVE SOMEONE MAKE A COMMENT LIKE THAT BUT THEN IT SOUNDED TO ME LIKE SOMEONE WHO WAS REALLY ANGRY AND HURT ABOUT SOMETHING BUT THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN IT OUT ON THE POOR BLOGGER....THAT IS WHAT THE WORLD HAS COME TO...I AM ANGRY SO I AM GOING TO TAKE IT OUT ON EVERYBODY...HOW VERY SAD.
I THINK IF ONE FEELS THAT BLOGGING IS TOOOOOOO STRESSFUL, THEY SHOULD TAKE A BREAK. I THINK IF IT WAS ME I WOULD APOLOGIZE BECAUSE OF THE TIME AND FRIENDSHIP MY FOLLOWERS HAD INVESTED IN ME, BECAUSE IT SURE WAS NOT THEM THAT HAD STRESSED ME OUT...i think there are many other stress factors going on....actually it takes my stress away to blog....i know my blog is like a shack in comparsion to other blogs BUT it is my shack and i force no one to visit me. I cannot compare myself to someone else because I am just as good as they are....no one is better than any one else....they may take better pictures...their blog is probably prettier BUT i have something to say....i love people...i love the poor and have to be tolerant of the rich because i have met tooooo many "better than thou" who are afraid of the poor....how can you look at a human being as garbage unless they have raped a child or an elderly woman....i don't need to describe how precious human life is
i have gotten off the subject and better quick
you are precious mimi...thanks for helping us stretch out of our comfort zones.
hugs
happy pink saturday
debbie

paintinpatti said...

I started blogging because I loved to look at the decorating and craft blogs. It was a surprising treat for me when I found my first blog - it's like a FREE magazine. I have found tremendous satisfaction knowing that I am not the ONLY gal who wants to shop at yard sales and can't afford to decorate on retail prices, not even at Target. I think Pink Saturday is what keeps me here. I am not upper middle class. I have a small house in, frankly, a lower income area of California. The truth is - blogging is a bit of a fantasyland for me. Sometimes, blogging leaves me feeling like... "do all these ladies have perfect lives, and I am the one who doesn't?" Still, I am back each Saturday, and have those favorite blogs I love to look at. I think blogging may morph as individuals change - and maybe what is important for us to share today will look very different a year from now. Thanks for the voice to share on important feelings like these. I don't want to live in LaLa Land - just visit on Saturday mornings! It's fun - and in this busy, sometimes exhausting life, I enjoy the distraction - and the inspiration! Hugs, Patti

Susie Jefferson said...

Very interesting, much food for thought. Funnily enough, I did a Why I Love Blogging post on Friday!

Yes, a lot of the more prolific bloggers sell stuff - but also (thank goodness) a lot don't. I don't mind Etsy buttons, it's soft sell and you look if you want to (I admit I'm toying with the idea...) What I do mind is reading a post and seeing a price tag under every photo.

Me - I blog as I get the inclination. It's written by me and mostly for me - I am always amazed and delighted that anyone's actually reading it! I post to the groups for things like major updates or giveaways, but don't post every single time I have a new piece up as I think it gets a bit boring.

I have been teaching freelance for years (and writing for the British craft magazines) so I seem now to have this NEED to help, inform, teach... whether people want the info is another matter, lol. And I was so irritated by lack of information out there - or information made "precious" that I decided to share what I know. I love making blog buttons for example (and how many can I actually use myself?) so they are there if people want them.

What started me on this particular kick was when I was doing antique stuff on Portobello Road Antique Market: I was selling jewellery and needed to repair it. It was a fellow stall holder (specialising in fabric) who told me where to go, who to phone etc. The jewellery people would NOT help: too busy protecting their "secrets". I have never forgotten it, and swore never to get that way myself. So selfish. And anyway, if people want to find out something bad enough - they WILL. So why not help? It gives back, pays forward, and is good for the soul.