Why do people blog? What’s the point? Isn’t it just about students putting their diaries up online, as a kind of extension of Facebook? Isn’t it just for those with far too much to say and nobody nearby to listen?
* No candle jokes, please. the sheep are a bit sensitive about title of this post.
I have to admit, that’s what I thought, once upon a time. I thought blogging was a deeply personal meditation, turned public outcry. But then one day, I went into a search engine, looking for something quite specific (most probably a deeply intellectual search term, such as “shirts for bored office workers” or “where the hell is Darryl Hannah these days?”), and I clicked on a link which looked a hell of a lot more interesting than Wikipedia. And hey presto! I discovered blogs.
I started with political and fashion blogs, and quickly moved on to anything which made me laugh. I found bloggers who wrote about things which had nothing to do with my own life, such as being unemployed in Galway, farming cattle in the midlands, or photographing landscapes in the US. But anything funny made me come back again and again, and along the way, I learned about subjects far removed from my experience, along with plenty of stuff I could readily identify with.
Bloggers know things, and have ideas for posts which commissioning editors could never dream of. I realised that blogs could could make a rainy Saturday morning fly by; lobby for social change; give me a recipe for wheatgrass sausages (whether I wanted it or not); help me with a bizarre techie problem on my phone, or give me advice on how to control my eyebrows (which frequently tried to take over the world).
They could build brands, and sell things. They could say what the newspapers wouldn’t say. They could be columns for great and entertaining writers who didn’t have their own columns, or had other jobs outside of journalism, which didn’t make them inferior writers – in fact, quite the opposite.
These and other reasons for blogging will form part of the workshop I’m facilitating in Carousel Creates on Saturday March 7th, as I’ve already mercilessly plugged here: because before we know how to blog, we need to know why. I’ll also be looking at building readership; getting inspiration for your content; dealing with adversity; and figuring out exactly what type of blogger you are – or could be – in order to reach your personal goals.
If you want to join me on March 7th in the Dublin mountains, to meet fellow bloggers/potential bloggers, and to take in some passable pontificating, decent discussions and a vat of coffee with sweeping views of the city, go here, and I’ll see you there.
In the meantime – and particularly for ewe bloggers out there who can’t come and play with me on Saturday week – I want to do a bit of sneaky market research. Why do you blog? What are your goals? And what do you find you get out of it?