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Why do you blog? What do you get from it and what value do you think you provide?

(39 Posts)
DillyTante Wed 14-Nov-12 20:22:21

So I was trawling through the comments on the daily mail website in response to the Liz Jones article, I know, I know. It was completely soul sapping. A lot of bile against bloggers, and against mothers and children bizarrely, given that everyone was a child once and they all had mothers.

Anyway, I started to feel quite defensive and despondent. Bloggers have had quite a negative reaction on here too, and it's made me start questioning it.

I want to know what you think:
Why do you blog?
What do you get from it?
Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?
Why should people be interested in what you write?
Do you care if they are not?
If you blog just for you why do it publically?
What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?
Do you feel defensive about blogging?

Sorry, that's a lot of questions, I just wonder if you are proud of blogging, or if its your dirty little secret, a bit like Mumsnet. I felt so buoyed up by BlogFest but now feel a bit flat. Urgh, I think I just need to have a shower after being too long on the Daily Hate website.

Just started up a new blog would appreciate any advice you've got on what I could do to improve: heavenlyveganbaking.wordpress.com

So to answer your questions:
Why do you blog?
I've just become a vegan (within the last few months) and I'm finding it challenging adapting my diet. Also I can never find vegan food in cafes/restaurants (especially desserts, which I love), and so have taken up baking to make myself feel better about this. Also I like baking. I wanted the recipes to be public because then other vegans/vegetarians can also use them as there aren't many options out there for us vegans when it comes to eating out.

What do you get from it?
It's fun, my friends and family now know where to go to make me a birthday cake and I love looking at statistics too.

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?
For a lot of people it'll be irrelevant for them because they're not vegan (or lactose intolerant), but some people are also vegan and like me, make a lot of their own desserts and things, so they seem to like it.

Why should people be interested in what you write?
People get into fixed habits with their food, I want to challenge myself to make something new, and hopefully do the same for others. Also it's a nice way to work through the issues of turning vegan with other people who are experiencing the same thing. I don't actually know that many vegans so it's sort of like finding an online mentor/community.

Do you care if they are not?
Yes and no, but it is really nice when people who I have never met before go to my blog, find a recipe they like, make it and enjoy it. I've had comments from people who have made some of my recipes and have really liked the results, so that's incredibly satisfying. But obviously, vegan baking is not for everyone...

If you blog just for you why do it publically?
Hopefully I've already covered that? smile

What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?
Not much, but it's the simple things like getting a positive response from someone who has tried one of my recipes that really make me happy.

Do you feel defensive about blogging?
A little, because I love reading other people's blogs, hearing their thoughts and ideas, picking up a few recipes to try etc. It's a lot more personal than going to somewhere like BBC good food, it feels like someone is actually recommending something to you specifically.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Tue 04-Dec-12 14:37:12

What a great post, I've really enjoyed reading the replies.

Why do you blog?

Because I enjoy writing, and also the community that comes with blogging, I've met some great people through it who have become genuine friends.

What do you get from it?

On a practical level, money. I do it for a living. On a personal level, it does give me a sense of achievement, and I enjoy the writing and editing process. I also enjoy all the backroom stuff - tweaking the theme, fiddling with code etc.

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?

Yes, sometimes it is, and that's okay. Not everything that appears on the internet has to be of earth shattering importance. There's a place for the fun and mundane stuff too.

Why should people be interested in what you write?
Do you care if they are not?

I don't think they should, but I hope some people are. I don't really care if people aren't interested in what I write, a lot of it is quite obscure and random, so it would be surprising if I appealed to the majority of people. And as far as I know, no one has ever been forced to read my ramblings.

What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?

Not sure ... I suppose I could say that a lot of my posts are practical guides, so I have helped people find answers to problems they had. Of course, many of those people are bloggers, so it's a kind of self-perpetuating thing.

Do you feel defensive about blogging?

No, not all. I'm very proud of it. I've been blogging since about 2001, I feel a sense of accomplishment for sticking at it for so long. I do feel protective of it though, especially when I see figures in the mainstream media criticising or belittling bloggers.

On last week's QT Charlotte Church commented that bloggers are the modern day equivalent of people who used the early printing presses to publish pamphlets - I think that is true. And not all those people used the new technology to publish worthy thoughts about politics and religion. Some people published recipes, or household manuals, or poetry ... and historically those publications are very valuable, they tell us a lot about life at the time.

Saying all that, I don't feel any animosity towards LJ - she would make an excellent blogger, she's very think skinned and writes brilliant comment bait.

EleanorGiftbasket Tue 04-Dec-12 08:30:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lolilolilou Tue 04-Dec-12 00:03:57

mollydoublybarrely i really enjoyed reading your blog

lolilolilou Mon 03-Dec-12 23:59:07

Hi
I'm faily new to the blogging thing but they are excellent questions

Why do you blog?
Because when i don't write i get restless so i guess it's therapeutic

What do you get from it?
I love writing and i the feedback i get is brilliant even when its not positive

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?
Sometimes - the world would be a very dull, serious place without trivial

Why should people be interested in what you write?
I write about whatever is bugging me that day, or what i've been chatting with my friends about. If we find it interesting someone else might too

Do you care if they are not?
No - they don't need to read it

If you blog just for you why do it publically?
Because i tried writing a journal and couldn't do it, putting in online just makes it more tangible so i can read what i've written and feel a sense of achievement

What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?
I'm not sure, i just like to get my ten penneth worth in and if people do get value from it then im thrilled

Do you feel defensive about blogging?
Not at all, if people don't like blogs/my blog they don't have to read it!

socialistfeministscientistsoapbox.wordpress.com/

I am pleased i found this thread. I don't tend to get upset about anything Liz Jones says, because she will hate on absolutey everything and anything. But her hypocricy on this occasion took a big chunk out of my tolerence. After all, she is paid b y the DM to, well, blog!

Why do you blog?
I blog for myself. As someone who suffers from mental illness i use it as a theraputic form of self management. It gives me a sort of clarity once it's written and i can always go back and read it. I also blog so that friends and family can keep up to date and gain a better understanding. My blog is open to anyone who wants to read it. I am not ashamed pf my illness.

What do you get from it?
Therapy. It eases my very troubled mind to get it all out in the open. I also don't have to tell anyone directy about it, something which i could really struggle with.

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?
Trivial things to normal people are generally experienced as 1000x worse for me. Althugh it is something i am working on.

Why should people be interested in what you write?
Realistically, they have the choice of whether or not they read what i write. But from a political point of view it is time we all faced up to mental illness and break the taboo.

Do you care if they are not?
Yes and no. Thats a tough one. As it's generally quite a dark blog, there are some things my friends and family may find upsetting to read. But if it's a case of total strangers then i am neither here nor there.

If you blog just for you why do it publically?
Because it might inspire someone to change the way they look at mental health. It could also inspire someone who thinks they might be mentally ill to face up to it and get the help they need.

What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?
I am adding nothing of value to the world. What i am adding value to is a wealth of knowledge for those close to me or those who choose to read.

Do you feel defensive about blogging?
Again, i am usually neither here nor there. But with my mental illness comes a change in opinion, more often than not. Today i am indifferent, tomorrow i could come back and contradict every answer i have given.

If anyone would like to, you can view my blog here. Although you don't have to.

http://manicmollymorrison.blogspot.co.uk/

ThatDudeSanta Mon 03-Dec-12 14:18:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Alreethinny Wed 21-Nov-12 23:00:15

What a really interesting post, I've loved reading everyones replies and links.

So here goes with mine.

Why do you blog?
Probably the predictable answer of that I love to write. I write stories, I have words constantly buzzing around inside my head but I don't feel comfortable with sharing my words. So I set myself a challenge to keep a blog, although made a point of not telling any friends or family, outside of my offspring or husband.

What do you get from it?
Enjoyment. I love the writing process, pure and simple, the community aspect of blogging and I love to read other people's blogs. 2 of my offspring also regularly read my blog and at first this felt weird, but now I enjoy their feedback. If I drop down dead tomorrow, they will have my blog as a different perspective on their loving mother. A strange, disjointed, mundane perspective perhaps.

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?
I would say my blog is totally trivial really. When I started the blog I put in categories to blog about, one of those being Aspergers. I intended to blog about the difficulties encountered by my Dd who has Aspergers. I've got drafts, I've got completed posts, about self harm issues, teenage depression, bullying, attempted suicide, self esteem issues, a whole host of jolly topics, but I don't feel comfortable putting them on my blog yet. I have to deal with those issues as part of our family life. Its a door I'm going to walk through one day, as the information might be helpful to someone else coping in those situations, but I can't quite face it yet. Its not because I want to keep the blog all light and cheery, one of my earliest posts was part of the Mn We believe you campaign, so I don't have a problem discussing serious issues. And yes its perfectly ok to be trivial.

Why should people be interested in what you write?
Without wanting to sound uncaring, I'm actually not bothered if people aren't interested in my blog, I write it selfishly for me. It's quite an eclectic mix, it would be a totally different type of blog, if I was writing it to interest other people. Its lovely though when people are interested and I've learnt so much from reading other people's blogs, that I hope I'm able to return the favour, even if it is only suggestions for hen snacks or the scenic excursions of playmobil figures.

Do you care if they are not?
In all honesty I don't care, that sounds terrible when I write it down, but if they aren't interested in what they are reading, don't click on the blog, life is too short.

If you blog just for you why do it publicly?
I blog publicly because that was part of my challenge to myself, it takes me out of my comfort zone. I try to blog anonymously, but I'm not that naive to assume I am totally anonymous and always ask my offsprings approval, before I blog anything about them and they can veto any images used.

What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?
Probably none!
I would like to think I am contributing greatly to the world's understanding of our American/Geordie parenting experiment and increasing the knowledge of visitor attractions in N.E, to aid the local economy. Plus all my chuntering about hens, must be some use to someone.

Do you feel defensive about blogging?
Yes, because it takes time from other things. I felt very defensive about it when a friend informed me she'd found it (stalking) and that it was very 'random'. I felt narked for about a week, then wondered why she was surprised it was random, its me who writes it and she knows me quite well. Now whenever she mentions my blog, I just call her my stalker.

FlipFantasia Wed 21-Nov-12 22:23:14

Dilly I didn't know you could do linkytools with wordpress! So I've entered my link, to see if it worked, and it did - you magic blogging lady you! Anyway, I've blogged the link and will tweet it too. I'll look forward to reading more bloggers writing about it smile

DillyTante Wed 21-Nov-12 21:34:11

"Am I supposed to provide value?"

Well if you want to get hits you do and most blog advisers assume that is your aim, even if it isn't.

Trills Wed 21-Nov-12 21:33:37

Actually it's not that separate, I tell MN people about my Twitter but I dont tell RL people about y MN life, if that makes sense

Trills Wed 21-Nov-12 21:32:07

I blog under my real name, and try to keep it separate from my MN name, so it's definitely less of a "little secret" than MNing!

Trills Wed 21-Nov-12 21:31:19

Am I supposed to provide value?

What, to other people?

Er...

DillyTante Wed 21-Nov-12 21:30:41

Blog Hop, sorry, link went wrong!

ExasperatedSigh Wed 21-Nov-12 21:17:16

Brilliant thread Dilly. I am marking my place for tomorrow when I don't have a banging headache, so I can (a) write something that makes sense and (b) check out all the interesting links above.

DillyTante Wed 21-Nov-12 20:26:53

Good question Euphemism. Actually much better, especially from reading other peoples stories. It seems like people get so much from it that it matters not what the likes of Liz Jones and her ilk think of it. And through writing my own post I realised just how much I get from blogging too.

Funny, at BlogFest, and indeed within any advice about blogging, people talk about adding value, about writing about things that people want to read about. But that spectacularly misses the point that for most people it is the value it adds to their own lives that matters the most.

Anyway, I have started a blog hop so anyone who has written or who want to write a post about it can link in. Never done one before so hope it works ok!

http://dillytante.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/why-do-you-blog-a-blog-hop/

I've really enjoyed reading these, cheers Dilly. How are you feeling about it all now?

choochy Tue 20-Nov-12 17:36:13

Hi all!
I won't answer every question (brain can't cope!). Just to say, I started my blog out of frustration that a lot of blogs about living with multiple sclerosis were a litany of complaints, symptoms and all round bad stuff. That scared me. I am 39, bringing up a son, working, studying, etc. Life goes on!

I wanted to create a funny, wry look at life blog. Yes, I have MS. No, I can't walk in heels any more, but there's more to life.

However, the blog took on a more serious mode when I was suddenly sacked for having MS, and I would like to think I have raised awareness that this STILL happens in this day and age.

I am proud of my blog, I like the design and I love the discipline of sitting down every day and writing a new post.

Anyway, blogging and tweeting (thank you SO much Mme Lindor!) have been my lifeline in the last four weeks.
www.stumblinginflats.com

2under2blog Tue 20-Nov-12 11:52:05

Loved reading this thread. My responses:

Why do you blog?

Because I wrote a sortof book that I wanted to publish but couldn't, for various reasons. I decided to blog the chapters instead. I really wanted to reach parents expecting their second baby and undo all the mess caused by everyone telling them 2 under 2 is SHEER HELL!

What do you get from it?
I love writing. I'm on maternity leave and miss writing for a living so it's good practice for me.

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?
The nature of my blog means I really do hope it's not trivial to those to whom it applies. Certainly uninterested parties would find it trivial, I guess it depends on who's looking. One person's trivial is another's treasure!

Why should people be interested in what you write?
If they, like me, have two kids under two, I think they would appreciate the ways I've learned to make my life easier.

Do you care if they are not?
Not in the slightest if the content doesn't apply to them. If it does and they are not interested,I'd love to hear why. But it wouldn't keep me up at night ;)

What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?
If I manage to quell the fears of just one terrified expectant mother or father, I think I've definitely done a Good Thing.

Do you feel defensive about blogging?
I feel defensive when anyone makes sweeping judgements and criticisms about any group of people. I've read amazing blogs, I've read not-so-amazing ones. But I don't for a second laud myself so highly above everyone else to suppose that my opinion is the only one that matters COUGH LIZ COUGH.

katese11 Mon 19-Nov-12 09:47:56

Good qs! am answering with baby-on-arm so excuse lack of capitals...

Why do you blog?

Honestly? Cause I like to write and it gives me something to focus on other than feed/burp/change/shout at 3yo...

What do you get from it?

I enjoy it!

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?

Often, and definitely

Why should people be interested in what you write?

I blog about places to go in London with a toddler, so I honestly think other people are interested in it so they can plan days out too.

Do you care if they are not?

Nah, not forcing anyone to read it!

If you blog just for you why do it publically?

So that other people (who I don't know!) can get inspired re days out

What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?

See above, I guess!

Do you feel defensive about blogging?

Not till the LJ article!

PiperGeorge Sat 17-Nov-12 17:38:57

Why do you blog?

I started because I wanted to write. Anything. Just get the words out of my head.

What do you get from it?

I find it cathartic to splurge all the thoughts out, and often by writing down how I feel I actually learn something from it all myself. It helps put some order to my feelings.

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?

Sure, its my random thoughts and I don't suppose they are that important to anyone else.

Why should people be interested in what you write?

Thats entirely up to the reader - I believe people read a blog either because it provides them with information they are interested in, or because it resonates with them and makes them feel they are not alone in how they, themselves, feel.

Do you care if they are not?

I would care if they thought my writing bad or boring. That would tell me that I am not as good as I hoped. If they just are not interested, then that's personal taste and fine by me.

If you blog just for you why do it publically?

I need the feedback to see what works and what doesnt in my writing. I am learning from audience responses.

What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?

There had to be value here?

Do you feel defensive about blogging?

I dont mind admitting to blogging but I am not yet ready to let family read it - that seems harder than strangers.

Egusta Sat 17-Nov-12 09:08:19

Great thread and great blog post Dilly.

I have a food blog, so I am not dealing with issues of the day. I love reading thoughtful posts about politics, feminism etc that others write, but i just post recipes and what I feel about them.

I basically blog because it is the only thing that I have that is all mine. I spend almost every waking moment trying to be a good mother, wife, daughter, friend, employee. This is just something that is all for me.

I do not feel defensive about blogging, although i do wonder sometimes who the hell would be interested in what we are eating!

FlipFantasia Sat 17-Nov-12 02:35:47

OK, have blogged about this here Low Impact Parenting - Why Do I Blog?

I had a separate MNname set up for my blog (LowImpactMama) but I can't be bothered with it anymore - I have so little time to MN at the moment that I'll just be Flip throughout!

Waves to Bluey! I would love to read your blog if you'd link to it (although I understand if you don't as well!). Your post is eloquent and thoughtful.

Tee2072 Fri 16-Nov-12 06:14:03

Excellent questions, Dilly:

Why do you blog?

I started in order to keep my family in the States up to date with what I was up to in Belfast. Now I do it because I enjoy it.

What do you get from it?

It's fun. It can be slightly therapeutic, although there's a lot of stuff I don't blog about.

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?

It's nearly always trivial and that's absolutely fine.

Why should people be interested in what you write?

They probably shouldn't.

Do you care if they are not?

Nope. I look at my stats but mostly because I am curious how people find my small obscure blog. I do no SEO or promotion, other than feeding to Social Media.

If you blog just for you why do it publically?

As I said, to keep my far flung family up to date. But I do do it mostly for me.

What value do you think you are adding to the world by blogging?

None. grin Well, my Mac & Cheese recipe is semi-famous. Not really. grin

Do you feel defensive about blogging?

Not at all. But I also don't feel defensive about being on MN!

Off to read the blogs on the thread...

hazeyjane Fri 16-Nov-12 05:46:45

I don't blog, but do follow some blogs written by parents with children with special needs. I have found them incredibly helpful to read, when you first find out that your child has a myriad of emerging problems, it is hard and lonely. Some of the blogs I have found have really helped with this, some written by people at a similar stage to me, some written by bloggers with older children that give me hope for the future.

I should have posted this on the Liz Jones thread, because it pissed me off that such bile was aimed at bloggers, when there are so many different blogs out there, written for so many different reasons.

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