October 26, 2008

Must Blogging Have a Purpose

About once a week I come across in article that offers stats that are supposed to show that blogging is so common that it is uncommon for people not to have one. My experience doesn't support that premise. I know very few people that have blogs or at least very few that admit to it.

As a point of clarification let me say that I am referring to people I knew prior to beginning my blogging career. With the exception of two people on the blogroll I really didn't know anyone who was blogging until after I leapt into the blogosphere.

The wild and woolly blogosphere who has finally gained acceptance as a medium that can affect public opinion. One of the great social equalizers. Here in the blogospheres looks and money are far less important than the real world. Here in the blogosphere anyone and everyone can become an internet hero and leverage their blog into fame and fortune.

"Fame and fortune, that is why people begin blogging, isn't it, Jack?" Now I am paraphrasing, but that is a question that I have been asked many times. It goes alongside of you have to be a real narcissist or have an ego the size of cleveland to blog don't you.

The answer to the question of "must blogging have a purpose" is no. It doesn't. There is no requirement to do so.

The critical question is why do you want to blog. Once you answer that question than it is much easier to determine what are appropriate follow up questions as well as what answers should be given for said questions.

If you can answer why you want to blog you can address whether your blogging should have purpose. I would argue that having a purpose offers significant advantages/benefits in that it allows you to construct a plan of action. Said plan provides opportunity to set goals and check them off your list. Some people love being able to make those lists just so that they can check off their accomplishments.

As is my wont I have been thinking again about where I want this blog to go and what I hope to achieve. It is not what it once was, although I am no longer sure what I thought that it was. At one point in time I tried to create a separate blog that I would use to serve as a tool to highlight important posts.

For a variety of reasons that blog kind of fizzled out. I suppose that you could attribute it to a lack of time and lack of a clear purpose.

So maybe the real answer is that blogging must have a purpose.

What do you think?

Crossposted here.


V-Grrrl said...

I'm thinking about the interplay between a blog's purpose and a person's motivations to blog. I started blogging because I thought it would force me to advance my creative writing skills and discipline me to write regularly. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the social aspects of blogging. While I started my blog "just to write," getting to know my audience shaped the writing and the direction the blog took. Personal changes led me to completely re-vamp my blog last spring and take it in a different direction. My blog, my motivations, and my "purpose" keep evolving.

Jack said...

The social aspects of blogging can be quite rewarding.

But for me the exercise in consistent writing is my primary focus.

chosha said...

I don't think a blog needs a particular focus, but it must serve some purpose for the author or they're more likely to just lose interest. Few of my real life friends have blogs. There are some I wish did, because I know they'd be good to read and they are people who live far away and whose thoughts I'd love to tap into on a regular basis.

Jack said...

There are some I wish did, because I know they'd be good to read and they are people who live far away and whose thoughts I'd love to tap into on a regular basis.

I can appreciate that.

shavuatov said...

Hey Jack - I see you just commented on my blog - thank you!

Good question. If the purpose isn't obvious to the reader I don't think that it matters, as long as it fulfils a role for the blogger. Even if it is just a brain dump, it saves the blogger from talking to him- or herself on the train at night!

For me, I tried to start 2 other blogs with high ideals of wrintg 'important' and 'well-written' articles. They both died a death within a couple of weeks of their starts, because I was trying to be something I'm not.

My current blog is going well, because it has a purpose (for me) and people read it, comment on it and have given me some good ideas and support. I have found some out-in-the-ether-friends who I wouldn't have come across otherwise.