Thursday, January 20, 2011

Why Do This?

When I published my 100th blog entry, less than two years ago, I wrote a piece about why I write this blog and now that I recently posted my 200th entry, I thought it might be interesting to revisit the topic.

Nothing has really changed in terms of why I spend some of my time this way. Clearly, it is for my own benefit and the fact that along the way I've had thousands of visits to my blog, is gratifying but incidental to "the mission." How do they arrive here? Some friends tell me they visit (while others pointedly say they never have as they don't "do" that sort of thing, which is ok with me too). But mainly, people land here from Google searches, some from Google Images as I frequently include photographs with my entries even though they may not be called for by the piece.

Long ago I decided not to activate a comments feature on the blog as it was not my objective to get involved in public discourse. However, there is an email address in my profile and from time to time I receive email about my pieces, particularly the more political and economic ones where I have a viewpoint and recognize that others have their own and I have always responded. My favorite email though was from the adult daughter of a friend of mine I mentioned in a blog, she saying "It's always so eye-opening to see your parents in a different light....I was extremely touched by your piece....[and] thank you for sharing that. It meant a lot to me." Even though I mostly write for myself, it is nice to know that some of what I do in these virtual pages might benefit or interest others.

Barry Ritholtz who has been blogging for more than ten years under the rubric The Big Picture, recently wrote an interesting piece on why people might blog, and I was fascinated by his observation that his own blog would be the same whether 100 people visited it or 100,000 daily. Clearly his visits would be closer to the latter and mine to the former as his blog is financially oriented and he is well-known in his field.

But, we have many of the same reasons (not all) to blog, and here are his:

1. You have something to say
2. You enjoy the craft of writing
3. You want to figure out what you think, and do so in public
4. You want to be part of a larger community of like minded individuals
5. You have a hobby or interest that you are really, really into
6. You want to maintain a presence on the Intertubes
7. You have an expertise and you want to share it
8. You have an eye for content (text, graphics and video) and you enjoy leading other people to them
9. You want to create a permanent online record of what you are reading, looking at or thinking about
10. You like engaging in debate with total strangers

The first three would be among my major reasons for doing this, although the others, except for the last, enter the equation as well. I guess I would have to add family history to the mix too.

In regard to "making an online record," I finally figured out how to get a PDF onto Google Sites so this is a link to a 1984 Publisher's Weekly article during my salad days. It is amusing (to me) to read about my vision of specialized publishing at the time and what the future might hold. It is pre-World Wide Web, so it has to be taken in that context. It was also amusing to share that particular issue with "Mr. T."

So, on to the next hundred, but for a while I am taking a break.