I am the sort of person who needs to have a good reason for doing something. I, of course, think that everyone is like me so that’s why I need to tell you why you should care about what I think about blogging. I have been blogging long enough, I think, to proclaim myself an “experienced blogger.” It has been about eighteen months; not nearly as long as some more established bloggers but definitely long enough to have a real grasp of what blogging is all about. I have spent these eighteen months, not in recording half-hearted, or trivial scribblings and jottings just to fill pages, but with intense concentration and carefully thought out, posts. Sometimes, I struggled with them. The mistakes I have made since I first began blogging would fill a textbook and this experience alone is valuable, especially for others who do not want to make the mistakes I have made.
I am no longer a “newbie.” I have the aforementioned experience. Second, If you are a new blogger, or if you are thinking about starting a blog, this post will give you a sort of realistic glimpse into this very popular venue of personal expression so you can decide early on what you want to accomplish or even whether or not you really want to become actively involved with blogging. Even experienced bloggers may find some interest here by getting a chance to compare their experiences with mine and use this as a measure of how much better they have done or what more they might like to do. So, now that I have your attention, we can have a nice conversation about the “blogging experience.”
I never thought of myself as a “blogger.” I never even intended to get involved with blogging. I thought this was for people with no social life, or no outside interests; people with a lot of time on their hands; people who are somehow socially challenged, misanthropic, agoraphobic, or even lycanthropic (people who think they are, or may actually be, werewolves). I wanted none of that. In fact, there may be bloggers who fit these categories, but there are, I am certain, teachers, politicians, professional people and neighbors who may easily fall into any of these categories, also. It doesn’t mean that teaching, politics, professions or other pursuits peopled by anti-social types are not worth pursuing. For that reason, I decided to give blogging a try. I was interested in Internet business and I liked to write, so, blogging was perfect for me in the time I had available.
I have since learned, that blogging is so popular and so fascinating because so many different kinds of people are now blogging. Besides the antisocial types, there are very friendly and sociable types and everyone can produce successful blogs. It is truly a populist art form and that means that there are so many types of blogs being created that the field is a “content-rich” reservoir of creativity. There are some poor blogs, yes. There are also some extraordinarily superb blogs. There is everything in between. Blogging is accessible to everyone, both to create and to enjoy.
When I stop and think about some things I have learned about blogging, I think first about the commitment one makes when becoming a blogger. Blogging is not like writing a term paper for school where you can write one paper and be done with it. It is more like being a newspaper reporter, only, with self-imposed deadlines. Once you have a blog and people discover it, you have a sort of social obligation to continue managing your blog until such time as you decide to shut it down and remove it from circulation. Of course you do not have to manage your blog but to the extent that you manage it and give proper attention to developing your blog, you will be successful as with sports, arts or any activity requiring effort and skill.
That is the second thing that I learned: The more effort a blogger expends, the more serious he or she is about creating meaningful posts and upgrading the blog with widgets and apps., to improve functionality for the convenience of visitors, the better the blog becomes as evidenced by positive comments and increasing traffic. Blogging is not particularly difficult, but it does require work; sometimes considerable work. It requires time as well: With experience, writing posts and handling the other chores of managing a blog (such answering comments, deleting spam comments and adding advertisements) becomes easier and less time consuming, but still, a certain amount of time must necessarily be spent in performing these tasks.
Another lesson learned is that blogging is fun. If you enjoy writing and creating; finding new ideas and training yourself to be more observant so you can come up with new angles and uniquely different ways of perceiving a subject, you will enjoy the blogging experience. You will have FUN.
Is there a certain personality type that is especially well-suited for blogging? I was reading comments on a blog recently, in which a blogger mentioned that she believed that an extrovert would be well suited to the demands of blogging because of the social nature of this Internet art form. She felt that a “people- person” would respond better to readers than less sociable types and be more comfortable in dealing with visitors, in the same way as, perhaps, a retail shop owner would be in dealing with customers in a physical store. I don’t disagree with this opinion but that is not the whole story. The blog is a public forum and (hopefully) thousands of people will visit your blog. I think it makes the experience easier and more pleasant if you like people and enjoy interacting with them in the way that many successful bloggers interact with their readers.
Blogging, however, is a bit different than simply exchanging e-mails or socialising in a physical setting: it is virtual socializing, meaning that while the people are very real, you can’t see them. There is a vast difference in having 15,000 or 50,000 or 500,000 visitors attending an event at which you are appearing on stage to greet, inform, entertain them and answer questions and the same number visiting your blog when you can comfortably have the same interaction while, say, sitting in your pajamas, cup of coffee or whatever in your hand. A true extrovert could manage the first situation and love it without melting into a puddle of embarrassment because of stage fright. An introvert or simply a more shy individual would definitely shrink from this kind of social interaction and avoid it at all costs.
The virtual nature of blogging allows both extroverts and introverts and all personality types to easily manage the social aspect of blogging with the least discomfort. There are good, creative thinkers representing all personality types who can successfully manage a blog and its social dimension. There is one important point that I want to make: I think it IS important that a blogger should like people, even if they do not prefer to mingle with crowds. The reason I say this is because I do think one’s personality shows through one’s writing style and choice of subject matter and words. The way you express yourself can give clues to the reading audience about your personality and whether you are a friendly, civil sort of person or a rough, vulgar, misanthrope. That does not mean that if you are not a nice person, your blog will not be read. Blogs do tend to attract like-minded people, but, generally, people respond more positively to positive people. The suggested guideline I would give, therefore, especially, if you do not yet have a blog but are thinking about it, is this: “If you hate people and find them annoying, choose another activity like scatology or buoy maintenance or searching for comets and asteroids from exotic desert locations.”
Another thought that has occurred to me about blogging is that there are all sorts of blogs that show tremendous variation in degree of polish and sophistication. Some are quite elementary and even crude. Some are as casual and unpretentious as an unself-conscious chat with friends. Some are so well crafted that they could be excerpts from a Doctoral Thesis. The range of writing expertise is “huge” and if we were talking about painting, it would be the same as some people painting by numbers and great artists, producing masterpieces.
Blogging is so universally accessible that we share our field with brilliant professional writers, journalists and business executives (and some brilliant “ordinary” non-professional writers) and barely literate, sometimes rather inept, unskilled “non-writers” who manage somehow, to communicate in the written word despite their lack of expertise. The beauty of this mix of people with different backgrounds and skill-levels is that there is nothing wrong with this. It is “all-good,” in the sense that blogging is a truly equal-opportunity art and regardless of the results, there are readers of every skill level, also, who will gravitate to the style, subject matter and level of writing that they are most comfortable with. This is, indeed, the “Marketplace” and the reading tastes of “blog consumers” help to shape the marketplace and the art.
That is what I like about blogging. No one needs is excluded. Anyone who wants to can have a blog and can even succeed wonderfully if they pay attention to common sense principles such as discussed in my previous posts and articulated by other bloggers. Something else I like about blogging (as long as I am on the subject) is that whenever I discover something really interesting and even life-changing, I do not have to bore my friends who may not be interested (although, it seems reasonable that if people are your friends they should share some of your interests)—anyway, I do not have to find someone to excitedly share my discovery with—I can blog about it. I may bore someone, but of all the people who will read about it, some will think: “Hey! that is really ‘cool'” or: “AWESOME!” When you have a blog, you always have people to share marvelous things with. That in itself, makes it all worthwhile for me; it can make blogging a great adventure for any untitled, Persona Non Grata who wants to be able to say: “Oh me? I’m a blogger- I blog.”
It is now, unquestionably, a most respectable occupation.