Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Blogging Breed

It has come to my attention recently that, perhaps, us bloggers are a rare breed of people. After all, even though I blog and I read blogs and sometimes by scanning the seemingly fathomless scope of blogs out here in the blogosphere, you start to think that everyone blogs.

Wow. Totally overuse of the word “blog” there.

Anyhoo, this is simply not the case. It may seem like everyone is blogging but I am sure that if you started to look at number of blogs vs number of people capable of blogging, I’m sure bloggers would top out at 1% or something of the population.

This becomes apparent on some days when you peruse new blogs and see your “circle” of fellow blog friends leaving comments or being included in the links. It is indeed a small blogging world after all.

Besides, the whole “blogging phenomenon” has kind of gone way of the other techie phenomenons. Can anyone remember how “cool*” it once was to use a chat room? Now, that has gone to the wayside, just as blogging has. Just look at the number of people who USED to read your blog, who have fallen off the face of the earth or indeed your favourite bloggers who one day just stopped for whatever reason (Wombat, anyone? Where are you btw, we miss you!).

I put a star next to the word cool because, well, like chat rooms, blogging is not very “cool,” is it? I mean, to people who don’t blog, is it possible that we do is quite “nerdy” and “lame?” The thought never crossed my mind until recently, when I suddenly became aware of how potentially stupid it is for me to have a blog. OK, maybe not stupid, that’s a bit harsh. But how about dorky, geeky and nerdy?

Why, I am not too sure, but I think anytime you get a whole bunch of people together on the internet, for whatever reason, there is a huge NERD stigma attached to it. After all, we start to befriend each other, email each other, facebook each other and the “blog world” slowly becomes the “real world.” I know it did for me awhile back and once my therapist pointed that out to me, I slowly weaned myself away from the fake world.

But that doesn’t mean that the friends you make, the opinions you hear and the comments you leave don’t mean anything. It’s still real. It’s just maybe…not that cool?

Or maybe, just maybe, WE are the cool ones and everyone else is just technological pariahs.

Of course, this was the same kind of reasoning I used back in high school when I had a penchant for chain necklaces and guys who wore makeup.

So why do we blog? What makes us “bloggers?” Why do we do blog while many, many other people don’t?

I know with me there is no clear-cut reason. Just a few:

*Being a journalist (well, going to journalism school) is what opened my eyes to this medium in the first place (because, let’s face it, blogging/internet is a media outlet)

*I am a writer. That is what I do; it’s my passion (at times, I guess, like many writers) and is one of the few things I have been told I am good at. At any rate, blogging keeps me writing, and yes I write at work, but this is the one time I can have total artistic freedom. Hell, even when I am screenwriting and attempting to write a novel, I still have limitations of the market and genre and so on. In blog land, I can write about anything – all I have to contend with is a bunch of confused commentators at most.

*I like to make my opinions heard; I like the world to know what I think. Many years ago, I had ridiculous notions of being famous. Now I know that I didn’t actually want to be famous, I just wanted to have people care about what I thought, and that by being famous, I would be able to do through interviews etc. Blogging for me has squashed any stupid fame dreams because my opinion is heard and – for the most part – people DO care about what I think. Of course, you have to wonder about some of these people…

*I’m an open person – so I have been told - many times. I guess it’s true. I like to share and I like to listen to other people share. But of course, I do draw the line. I mean, I have a whole slew of family issues, personal issues, etc that I never have and never will blog about. But the other things, the things that aren’t close to me, I have no issue with expressing. In fact, sharing myself at certain times is actually a great relief.

*I am a storyteller. I work for a storytelling company, after all. And, believe it or not, I have a lot of stories that I have yet to tell. While I love (and will and do) hash out stories to my friends in person, it’s also fun to write it out in narrative form too.

So, why do you think you are a blogger? Are certain types of people drawn to this medium? Do you feel there is some stigma attached to you just because you do blog? And if you don’t blog but just like to read them, does it still apply to you?

35 comments:

Neily said...

Funny you should ask. I was reading a ‘book on birthdays’ the other day (not mine ofcourse) and for my bday (december 3rd for those playing at home) it says I should write in a news column, local paper or express my writing prowess somewhere. So for that reason I must continue my pursuit of happiness. According to book of birthdays

Farfallina - Roam 2 Rome said...

In many places, there are a lot of connotations and expectations placed into the blogosphere...

Yes, you are right! As one dives into the ocean of blogs out there, you quickly realize that many people are just following a fad, and fads come and go!

Like you say, few are true bloggers!

I blog because of the basic need to relate to others, live the world through their eyes as they do through mine... I'm genuinely interested in what I read, and my comments are sincere, never patronizing.

My up coming move to Rome would be taxing, exhausting, nerve wrecking if it wasn't for the community of bloggers holding my hand! After all, to be great you must stand in the shoulders of giants!

We put points out there and discuss them!... all in the original spirit of blogging :)

How else could I learn from people like you?? Face it, when can you sit down in California and have heavy conversations, ah okay, so it might be a bit nerdy in the end, but I'll take that any day over a superficial empty existence! There's just so much out there to live and experience, and I don't plan to miss out :)

-Papa said...

I blog, therefore I am. ;)

Peter DeWolf said...

Except for the journalism school ting, you pretty much hit on all the reasons that I blog.

I don't think that all blogs are created equal. Some ARE geeky. But, some are poetic and gorgeous. Some are brilliant. Some are lower than lowbrow.

I don't really see them going the way of chat rooms. Sure, they'll evolve, but people have always kept journals in some form or other.

(And I am TOTALLY cool, woman.)

M said...

you realise wombat is back don't you? ;)

I totally agree with all you're saying here.

Why do I blog? I have always felt a compulsion to write so I always have - but I like how blogging gives you people to bounce ideas off as well so it's not like I just ask these questions to the big wide world and it just an echo. I get something back from it - which is awesome.

Blogging is very much real to me in terms of emotions and feelings but apart from a few real addresses and present exchanges have not made it really "real". I'm very hesitant to actually.

Todd said...

Well, you're not my Facebook friend yet, so there's still room for growth :)

I'll tell ya though, the bloggers I've met up with have been (for the most part) pretty awesome people. They weren't the scary creepy nerds I expected.

brandy said...

I know what you mean, and I'm with you on so many of your points. I just really like writing. Before I started blogging, I would just send out these lengthy emails to everyone on my email list telling them about some crazy story, or some random thought I had (I know, lucky them). When I finally startesd blogging, it just sort of took the pressure off of figuring out how to share my writing. It just seemed easier.

DCchick said...

I started blogging out of sheer boredom, and now I can't stop.

And I see it starting to invade my regular life... bloggers becoming my friends on myspace and facebook. IMing me.... it's a vicious cycle. :)

Noe said...

i blog because it's the only way sometimes to express my feelings. i can only post a picture and just say in that picture how i feel that day.
but also, i blog just for the sake of blogging...

Tawcan said...

If I knew about blogger back in summer of 04 I would of used as a way to update my stay in Germany for 8 months. I didn't.

I first started blogging simply b/c I was bored of studying quantum mechanics. It's funny how much time you try to waste when you're in university. Then it just kinda continued from there.

Dan said...

I blog because I want to be stalked by someone like you.

DIAMONDKT said...

I think the whole blogging fad died about a year ago, if not longer. I've watched my blog go from over 100 readers a day, down to about 35 a day.

I still write, maybe not as much, but I like to think just as well. When it comes down to it, I write for myself and no one else. So when it ceases to be fun for me, I'll be gone just like everyone else.

minijonb said...

I just like the fact that you used the word "blogosphere" - that's hott.

I think the blog world will always get new recruits.

Mitch said...

Hey you...

Blogging for me started as a way to chronicle my travels through Australia and Indonesia...

Then it became my journal of my thoughts...

And THEN, it became a medium for meeting new people and making friends!

The Blogosphere is ever expanding...

Sipwine said...

I love writing, it's my release.
If I couldn't come home and furiously type out everything that I wanted, I'd feel stir-crazy.

I don't know others do it, but thats why I do it.

Greg said...

I simply have too much time on my hands.

(Hey, nice blog!)

Eve said...

I always wonder about people I see on the street: do they blog? What about him? Her? I guess you never know.

fingers said...

I'm a sexual cyber-predator !!!
Blogging is simply my cover should the FBI ever look into things...

Nice blog, W.
I poodled over from Bimbo World on her recommendation and am glad to have done so.
Clever girl...

Mister Underhill said...

I think a lot of the appeal to me is that if someone annoys you all you have to do is click 'next blog', and while the people on blogger don't always have wildly interesting things to say at least they vast majority of them are literate and at least put some thought into their opinions - unlike real life.

Mister Underhill said...

...and it's a good point about it being a small world. Which is why I posted in the first place, but I forgot my point.

I have come across your blog from a dozen different sources while flipping through blogs before leaving these comments.

Steph said...

Holy shit! Fingers is being civil, NICE even!

Anyway, I blog to try and silence the many voices in my head......it's not working.

Do you think in a few years we'll all be deleting our blogs and pretending we ever had one...kinda like we all deny ever going into chat rooms now?
;)

i outed you on my blog. Hope you don't mind.

Memphis Steve said...

OK, first, if you are on facebook then I want to pathetically beg you to add me to your friends. Now that this is out of the way, I blog because a famous former Canadian named Patricia Pearson, once of the National Post, once said of my insane emailed comments on her articles that I was funny and needed to write. She sent me her editor's email address and insisted that I write up some articles and send them to her. Little did I realize that she was not getting along with her editor and perhaps this was a cruel joke, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, I being no pillar of self-confidence, emailed another famous writer I liked to bombard with my ridiculous opinions, a woman named Kathleen Parker, who is a syndicated columnist. She agreed with Patricia. She said "go for it" and insisted I was more often funny than annoying, which made me feel good, and then confused. So, with all my submitted articles being soundly rejected and no other paper or magazine seeming to want them, I turned to blogging. I had hoped it would improve my writing, but without an editor to tell me where I've gone wrong I guess I've merely maintained my ability to punch keys in order to form words with lead to paragraphs and ultimately end up as some long rant on the internet that 6 people read. Still, I envy you your journalism training and your paycheck for writing. I don't feel that we are geeks. I feel that we are writers and wanna-be-writers. And many of us are people who have a thing or two to say, but who would not otherwise be heard. The blog is, for many of us, our only opporunity to express ourselves and perhaps be heard. And also, as it turns out, it is a place where a man in Memphis, Tennessee can become friends with a woman in Canada and a man in Thailand and a woman in Australia and a woman in England, and we can all get together in an electronic way and talk. And how cool is that?

random moments said...

GREAT post!

Why do I blog? Because I have something to say and things to share. In a world where people in "real life" don't have the time to listen, my blog friends seek my new posts out as I do their's and give their opinions and comments, which I value.

The best blogs are created by talented writers, you obviously being one of them! And I love to read, anything and everything.

Miss B said...

i blog because apparently i'm the only one in the world who thinks i'm funny; i have a million racing thoughts that won't let me be until i've put them down; i am a hermit. this is easier than a diary because i type faster than i write, and i've been typing so long even a doctor couldn't read my handwriting... great post!

The Exception said...

I dropped in here via Steph's blog to read this as she said it was something that must be done. She was right. This was an interesting post.

I was late to join the blog world due to time and truly not understanding why people would read the thoughts and experiences of someone else - especially mine. Honestly, life is busy and... I am still not quite sure I have a grasp on the whole concept.

My original purpose was to create a place were I could post my funny stories and the events of my daughter's life for friends and family (like Brandy). I was tired of sending out the mass e-mail and finding I had left this or that person out. Now they can read at their leisure. It was all a creative outlet kind of thing.

My more public and yet more private blog is more my thoughts, my questions, my ideas. I saw it as a means of expressing myself through writing and hoped that people would take the time to comment and share their thoughts etc. Sometimes this one is more difficult to write as I want to maintain a sense of anonymity while still sharing myself.

If the blog is not the "cool" thing anymore, then...what is?

Captain Smack said...

I'm just trying to get laid.

Madrid said...

Like your post..

I blog cause I want a space to record all of the introspective rambling that goes on in my head.

Also, I want to read my blog next year and see how my outlook on life is the same or has changed..

Yoffi said...

wow, insiteful. I wish I was insiteful *looks wistfully out the window, then realises there is no window and I'm just an idiot staring at the wall*.

Lad Litter said...

Thoughtful post, WL. I came across from Steph's link on her recommendation.

I blog, therefore I am. I read (lurked) at numerous blogs for about two years before deciding to have a go myself. It's a creative outlet. It's a community of sorts, and a pretty inclusive one.

Betty Boob Hug said...

Good post. I blog because I like the attention and I like that I can relate to people better this way than I do face to face. I feel like this blogging thing allows me to be lots of different things whatever I'm feeling like being at the time and if I get rejected for it or somebody is annoyed at me or thinks I'm boring..then I don't have to deal with it in the way that I normally would if we were sharing a work space or a social group in real life.
I think bloggers are writers and writers are people who make the world go round. We dream and we think and we write. It's a good deal.

Miss Natalie said...

I missed wombat too - YAY he's back!

i have a small group of bloggers in my bloglines under RIP :-(

my blog is active only due to a really bad memory. Online diary is a bit more fun with all the linky things and pictures etc...

I've made a couple of friends through my blog and still to this day when people ask 'how did you meet' we both feel awkward with the story so much so we make one up.

Croaker said...

For some of us, blogging is a way of expressing ourselves deeper then we would allow ourselves to be seen in the "real world".

And I do believe that bloggers or at least the subset of bloggers we tend to read and follow are like minded and that is why the bonds form.

Vegas Princess said...

I began my blog as a way to keep in contact with my family and friends back home when I moved to Vegas. Then it became an outlet for all the random ramblings in my head and now I like to stretch creatively, like doing the Blog-Off for Breast Cancer. Soon after starting my blog I began to meet some wonderful people and have gotten some great friends out of the whole process. But I am wan to tell people I have a blog. Maybe because I don't want my annonymity threatened, I'm not sure. I do it more for me. It's my outlet. Other people just don't always understand how I can put personal things on the INternet but for me it is therapy.

I had the same instance someone else commented about when someone asked me who I met one of my friends. There was that awkward pause as we tried to explain what our blogs were and how we became friends.

Wombat said...

Hi Lusty.

*waves discreetly*

I wasn't dead, I just fell off the perch for a while.

Now, where's the birdseed?

Lilac Stripe said...

I get the feeling people think I am a nerd when they say things like 'I just don't GET blogs...' and what they mean is 'I just don't get you'. But usually they are people that don't get a lot of things...