A quick Google search will reveal plenty of lists of reasons to blog. Many have several reasons in common, but some would never apply to me.
Suppose someone gives you a blank piece of paper and a pen. They ask you to list as many reasons to blog as you can. How many could you come up with? Offhand, I could probably come up with a few that apply specifically to me. I could also come up with several that — for one reason or another — don’t apply to me.
Not that long ago, I wrote about the top reasons people read blogs. This time out, I figured I’d reverse the camera and look at why bloggers actually blog to begin with.
There’s almost no end of lists for reasons to blog out there, as I said. I culled a few reasons for my post from this list of nine reasons, this list of 10, this second list of 10, this list of 15, and this list of — count ’em! — 20, along with a few others.
Some reasons to blog that apply to me
For this post, I thought I’d list a few of the biggest reasons that I started this little blog 19 years ago and why I’m still at it. There are plenty of valid reasons you may blog. Your answers (and even the order you’d list them) might vary from mine. That’s a good thing. We all have our own reasons and our own priorities. You won’t find any one set of right answers.
Here, then, are the answers that feel right for me.
1. I blog as a creative outlet.
This is the main reason I started the blog back in 2004. I was looking for a place to write. I’m not sure why I decided that I wanted to write online. Looking back, I could have just written these pieces in a Word document. I could have gotten a nice leather-bound journal to write there.
For some reason, I decided I wanted to write for an audience. I just hoped an audience would eventually show up.
2. I blog to share knowledge.
Anyone who manages a website has to know a little bit about a lot of things. I’m not a genius and would never claim to be. But I have learned — or figured out — a few things over the years. I think each of us is an expert in something, and when we share what we know about various things, that might be information someone out there is looking for.
3. I blog to learn.
The beauty of blogging is that you have to do a little research before you post. So you end up learning about topics that you didn’t know as much about as you thought. In some cases, you have to learn something entirely new as you look for background information.
To me, that’s a fun part of blogging: You never know where the post or the work that goes in before the post goes up might lead you.
4. I blog to be part of a blogging community.
This one is less of a “thing” these days. When this blog began on America Online’s now long-defunct AOL Journals platform, there was a very strong sense of community. It was sort of a gated community, granted. As I recall, you had to be an AOL member to read a post in an AOL Journal. (Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I don’t think I am.) I know you had to have an AOL account to be able to comment.
When I left AOL for Blogger, there was far less of a sense of community. When I eventually (finally) switched to WordPress, the sense of community was all but gone. But I’m proud to say there are still readers who visit who’ve been reading since those very first years of this blog. So there’s at least a small “community” of sorts here.
5. I blog to attract an audience.
It’s nice to know that there are people who read what I have to say. I hope they find it informative or entertaining. Once in a while, I hope they find my content to deliver on both of those qualities.
It’s hard these days to know who’s actually reading since few people comment. I appreciate those who still do. But I also appreciate those who read without commenting. My Google Analytics tells me there are people coming here fairly regularly. So even if I don’t know who you are, I’m still grateful for your generous attention.
6. I blog to make a difference.
This one seems a bit lofty to me. I don’t necessarily tackle a touchy subject to change people’s minds. I generally find that when you set off with that goal in mind, you’re more likely to tick people off than actually change their minds.
What I do try to do with this blog is to give readers something to think about. Maybe they won’t change their mind about their position. But if I at least give them one more angle to consider, even if it beefs up their opinion, I’ve still made them think about the topic one more time.
I think that in itself can be a very valuable thing.
7. I blog to document my life.
I list this one a bit reluctantly. As an introvert and as a private person, there’s plenty about me that I don’t share. (And I don’t just mean here on this blog.) There’s plenty of things I don’t share with closest friends.
But we all have moments in our lives that we want to memorialize for one reason or another.
The blog does allow me to do that. It’s nice to be able to go back and read those posts and relive those moments. Even when the post is about something unpleasant, it’s still a good memory trigger so that you don’t end up embellishing a story in the retelling.
8. I blog to be a better writer.
Besides always wanting to work in television (and I do), I’ve also always wanted to be a writer.
Writing is actually a big part of what I do for my real job. I think that blogging has helped me become a better writer because I can experiment a bit here. In all the years I’ve blogged, I’ve improved my research and writing skills.
For me (and others), writing is like exercise. You need to continue to exercise those particular muscles to keep them strong. So I think this blog has made me a better writer.
Those are the eight main reasons to blog from my perspective. I’d love to hear yours.