Why do you blog?

Steffi Suhr who blogs at Behind the Scenes has resurrected a blog meme that did the rounds  last year.  She’s encouraging as many bloggers to take part as possible, and after the recent blogwarz, is hoping that it will lead to better understanding and more tolerance between blogging communities.  Well I’m just going to assume that I’m not excluded from this, not being part of a blogging collective and will answer the questions below as best I can.
What made you start blogging?
Curiosity. This is not my first attempt at blogging so I’ll answer for starting the first blog, and for starting this blog.  I was curious about what a blog was, how the technology worked, and little else.  It was free to sign up to blogger so I thought I’d give it a go.  I started blogging under a pseud, a blog which is now deleted, and was startlingly naive about how the ‘internetz’ worked back then.  I started this blog (now in its third incarnation) after I decided that I wanted to develop the potential outreach aspects of blogging a little more and talk about things that mattered to me with out fear of being ‘outed’ from a pseudonymous blog.  I found that while having a pseud and the blog not being readily identifiable as me was good, and I could talk about some stuff that I can’t talk about here, ultimately I wanted to talk more about things that were too identifying.  That’s a long way of saying curiosity snared me, and I’ve been at it in one form or another ever since.
Is a sense of community an important part of blogging for you, or do you prefer blogging ‘solo’?
Well I think that community is something that you can create around your blog if you are willing to put the effort in.  I think Steffi means on a community site (NatureNetwork or ScienceBlogs.com) versus outhere in the wilds on my own.  I’m happier solo, because I have ultimate control over the site, but I don’t think that means that I’m not part of a community.  I’m part of quite a lively little online community through the blog, twitter, facebook etc, that intersects with ‘real life’ in a few ways.  I could make more effort to develop that community by blogging more, commenting and linking more, but I’m quite happy how things are at the moment.
Are there blogs you never look at? If yes, why (be nice and don’t name names)?[rephrasing this question: Are there blogs you stopped reading for some reason or that might be interesting, but turn you off right away? If yes, why?]
There are some blogs I keep an eye on, in a ‘keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer’ sort of way.  There are some blogs that I can’t be bothered with, or are no longer relevant to me – for example I read many blogs about being a grad/PhD student when I was a postdoc because I identified with many of the issues they write about.  I rarely read those blogs, and don’t seek new ones now, because I increasingly see the issues through the eyes of a lecturer and don’t feel the same empathy with the writers.  There are blogs that turn me off right away, main reasons would include behaviours that make me feel uncomfortable such as unfairness, bullying, extremely bad language, cruelty – mainly concerning how people are treated by the writer.  There are many blogs that I wouldn’t read because the subject matter doesn’t interest me, no reflection of the writer.
I’ll flip this question on its head and say that the majority of the blogs I do read are written by people who have something interesting to say (in my opinion!), who treat people they encounter on the internet with respect and courtesy, and who have a sense of humour that is similar to mine.  Generally they are people who I have either had a beer with, or would be quite happy having a beer with!
Who are you blogging for/who are you talking to?
Me, just trying to get the thoughts cluttering up my head and on to paper.  DrugMonkey also has a good answer to this question that is worth reading.
Do you think you may be getting people exposed to some science through your blog who otherwise wouldn’t be?
I don’t write about enough science really.  I don’t write enough here – seriously this is the second post in a week and some kind of miracle as a result.
Do you think any non-blogger cares about any of the above things?
I don’t know! If I walk out of my office and grab the first non-blogger I walk past and ask them, I suspect they’ll just look at me like that ‘crazy lecturer woman’ again, and run very quickly in the opposite direction.  In the past I’ve had lots of comments by people who are not bloggers, so I must have been saying something that they agreed/disagreed with. Do I think they care why I blog? Probably not!
So the agreement in posting these questions and answering them is that calm and serenity is returned to the blogosphere – well that’s not going to last, the next crisis will be just around the corner!
So endeth the navel gazing!

3 Replies to “Why do you blog?”

  1. I can relate A LOT to what you write about going from the pseud blog to this one. And also the change of blogs read with the change of one’s own academic position.

  2. Interesting stuff. I am going to try to answer these questions myself, you know my stand on anonymity.
    As for outreach… I suppose it could be done, but I have not yet figured out how.

  3. I blog as a way to give back. Of course, there’s the other side of me that’s also looking for a small side income, but making really good money on a blog takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Expecting to make a full time salary is very ambitious and requires a lot of business know-how and planning. Right now I blog because I’ve learned so much from other blogs and wanted to give back in my own way. I also find so much cool stuff around the internet and learn something new everyday, so I want a way to share that, beyond just social networking.

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