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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.

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MmeLindor Wed 14-Nov-12 20:24:56

good thread - I was talking to SGM about this. You should do a bloghop where we can share the blogging love.

borninastorm Wed 14-Nov-12 20:34:42

I actually wrote a blog about this the day after blogfest because the actual event made me want to understand why I blog.

Here's my why I blog post

I've got to admit that Blogfest, Liz Jones and a lot of the other speakers really got me thinking.

Mintyy Wed 14-Nov-12 20:40:10

Lurking with interest.

DillyTante Wed 14-Nov-12 20:40:52

Great idea MmeLindor, I will do. I remember reading your post Borninastorm, I'm going to have another read in the context of this thread though.

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DowagersHump Wed 14-Nov-12 20:56:31

I don't blog but I just wanted to say how much I enjoy and value your blog Dilly - and those of MmeL and SGM.

I don't know if that helps but I'm always pleased when I see that you have written new blog posts in my inbox

MmeGuillotine Wed 14-Nov-12 21:07:23

I think I'm quite proud of blogging but I must admit that I used to think that any criticisms of blogging didn't really relate to me as I write about history rather than my life and children. Not that I think history blogging is superior, just that it's different and not as prone to accusations of 'self indulgent navel gazing' as parenting blogging.

HOWEVER, since attending Blogfest I've decided that actually that's bollocks and we're all in this together.

Anyway to answer your questions:

Why do you blog?

Because I desperately NEED to write, because I'm trying to iron out any Aspergery formality of language, because I desperately need to talk about history, because I want to sell books.

What do you get from it?

Book sales, free books, strangers recognising me at gigs/in shops/on the street, vague recognition from people I admire, space in my head once the words have been vomited out on to the page, notoriety, a bit of extra cash.

Is it trivial and is that ok sometimes?

I veer between trivial matters written about very seriously and serious matters written with a vein of triviality. This is very definitely okay.

Why should people be interested in what you write?

They probably shouldn't.

Do you care if they are not?

Not in the slightest.

If you blog just for you why do it publically?

I don't just blog for myself but also for other history enthusiasts.

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

Er, more history stuff. I love it when people comment to say that they've become enthralled by a historical woman that I've written about and gone on to read more about her.

Do you feel defensive about blogging?

YES, well, mostly. I don't like it when people who don't know the first thing about blogging just write off all blogs as being the same or get them confused with online diaries, which most blogs don't actually seem to be or when people assume that because they read one boring parenting blog then all blogs are a. boring and b. about parenting. It's just so yawn yawn yawn.

stourvalleyspa Thu 15-Nov-12 08:54:03

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pebbles77 Thu 15-Nov-12 10:37:35

Oh DillyTante - I love this. I hope you don't mind but I've answered your questions in a post as they really made me think

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 15-Nov-12 11:35:00

Hi dilly, I too am feeling a bit existential about blogging so, I thought i would explore my feelings here!

I have always wrote- I think it's part of who I am, it's the way I make sense of the world etc etc. I find i express myself better in the written world than in the real world where I don't have so much voice.

All writers, artists etc at some stage grapple with the things you ask - am I being self indulgent? Who cares what I think, is this making a differnce, why me? Etc, but you are only you and can only do what is right for you. Writing is right for me - even if it's trivial or dull for the reader!

However, why blog is a slightly different question, and tbh I'm still not sure.

Some advantages for me; well, it makes me finish, polish and edit pieces instead of starting and dropping ideas. I have people reading and commenting and that feedback is wonderful. It is giving me confidence, courage and discipline - all good. I don't think it's any different from columnists such as Liz jones so I dont feel defensive - except its for free and therein lies the big problem for me. Is it distracting me from making some money from writing - maybe - or is it helping me on that road? I'm not sure...

DillyTante Thu 15-Nov-12 21:41:21

Thanks for the replies. I'm drafting a post myself.

Thisisaeuphemism I really like your blog smile

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DillyTante Thu 15-Nov-12 22:27:26

Here's mine, not massively eloquent I'm afraid, but I feel better for writing it. I feel like actually I get a lot from blogging, so tough tits what anyone else thinks! (Obviously in reality I care a lot and want everyone to worship me smile)

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FlipFantasia Fri 16-Nov-12 03:06:32

dilly great thread! Lots of food for thought. I've been lurking on this forum for ages but this is enough to make me delurk...

I've been feeling all angsty about blogging - I do it anonymously and only my husband and a couple of friends know I blog. I enjoy it but never seem to blog as much as I'd like to. And I'm beginning to think that my "dirty little secret" vibe is part of the problem. So this thread is very timely as I think I need to reassess why I blog (and figure out why I don't blog as much as I'd like to!).

I'm going to ponder on your questions and blog about it. But first I'm going to wander off and read all the other posts here smile

BlueyDragon Fri 16-Nov-12 05:07:37

My blog is a very personal one to capture what's happening to me following my cancer diagnosis. Writing down what I'm going through and how I feel is both cathartic and instructive for me. So, for example, the last chemo cycle brought on some hellish side effects. Now I'm feeling better I can look at the posts from that time so that I don't minimise how horrible I felt and consequently have better conversations with medics and family. I also wanted a record, for me, for when this is over.

I could have achieved the same result with a diary. However a couple of people asked me how the cancer was picked up in the first place. I have bowel cancer which is rare in someone of my age and lifestyle (late 30's, regular exerciser, healthy eater, worst body crime a fondness for large glasses of wine) and I figured anything I could do to raise awareness of what to look for was a good thing. Blood in your poo and/or disturbed bowel habits for a prolonged period are the usual ones, in case you want to know, and please, please, please do not be shy of talking to your GP in plain English if you are having these or any other bowel symptoms. This isn't a cancer people talk about; no-one grows moustaches or wears pink ribbons for bowel cancer. Maybe we could have brown ribbon day instead? Everyone buy chocolate cupcakes? grin I am not shy about talking about it, so my blog is my way of raising my voice for others to hear if they want. Once they've heard me shout, they can stay around to see what happens. Whether that's for voyeuristic reasons or because they want to get some understanding of the roller-coaster ride is neither here nor there to me, although I do try to convey as much of the experience as I can in case I can help someone get an idea of what's coming for them.

Having said that I don't mind talking about it, I haven't publicised my blog to people I know. I've tried to be very honest not only about what's happening physically but mentally too, and whilst I'm happy to share that with outsiders in a forum that isn't designed for instant discussion, where their "relationship" with me is not important for my wellbeing, I would rather DH and my friends and family knew how I was feeling directly from me in a fashion that allows them (and me) to deal with the implications. That sounds very dismissive of the few who do read my blog, but it's not, it's a recognition of the voice I'm using to blog and the difference between speaking publicly about an experience and speaking with those directly affected by that particular person's experience. Hence whilst my blog is on Bloggers here, I use a different pen-name for it. I have just completely outed myself though.

Thanks for the thought provoking thread, Dilly.

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.

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...

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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.

Thisisaeuphemism Wed 21-Nov-12 10:57:38

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

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!

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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.

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