What am I blogging for?
I’ve asked this question before and given an answer in a semi-tongue-in-cheek fashion.
Now two recent posts, one by Kim Tracy Prince at House of Prince called “The Cranky Veteran Post” and another by Jennifer Brown at Tribal Blogs called “Did Facebook and Twitter kill the personal blog?”, have me thinking again about this question.
Yes, in the post above from three years ago, I said I was blogging for YOU. However, that’s not entirely true. I didn’t get into blogging for altruistic reasons. I started blogging because I wanted to talk about ME.
That said, what makes MY story particularly interesting? Am I like the commenter in Jenn’s post who is writing just for family and friends? Do I need to find “a niche” or rediscover a niche I already was in, but then backed out of, a la Just A Reading Fool and Unfinished Rambler, to gain more followers? Or if I do, will my readers be like the commenter and just skip over my posts because they are just one beat posts: like the “mommy bloggers”? Or are they skipping over my posts now because I’m too eclectic, too unfocused? Or if I find a niche, like I did when I was writing a “humor blog” and a “book blog” and a “running blog,” will I become like Kim imagines her blog becoming, or am I already there: floundering “on in relative obscurity while New Blog of The Week gets a fucking 2-page spread in the New York Times Style section.”? And maybe the follow-up question to that last one: Do I really give a shit if that New Blog of the Week gets the exposure and I don’t?
In theory, I like to think what makes MY story particularly interesting is that it’s not just MY story. It’s the story of Everyman, or at least that is the concept: that I am an unfinished person, struggling with integrating my body, mind and soul into one complete finished person. But by setting myself up to be “Everyman,” am I not being in the slightest solipsistic? Look at me, the example of unfinishedness and my struggles. Don’t you relate? And what if you don’t relate, then what? Then is it just my story and I am writing just for family and friends…or worse yet, just to hear the sound of my own voice? Echo, echo, echo.
When I had niche blogs like Just A Reading Fool and Unfinished Rambler, I did have, and was gaining, more “followers” with each of those blogs rivaling the numbers I have now. The thing is, though, did I get more comments then, which for some is the benchmark of blogging? No, not necessarily. Yes, sometimes, but then other posts, just like now, tank.
All this said, I’m not returning to a niche blog, because I’m not just a reader, a funny guy (well, sometimes I am, although admittedly more often on Facebook where I can be taken in small doses) or a runner (which I haven’t been in more than a year, I’m lucky I’m walking). I’m sometimes all of those things and sometimes none of those things, especially in the running category.
Kim’s friend Lisa might have said it best when she gave Kim a new goal, a “mantra” in Kim’s words: “write well, do what you love and raise well-adjusted children,” except for that part about the children doesn’t apply to me since my wife and I have chosen not to have children (a whole other blog post for a whole other day). We have a hard time enough raising a well-adjusted cat…but I digress as usual…maybe I should restart Unfinished Rambler, after all…my point is…
…wait a minute…
…what am I blogging for again? Or, to put it more accurately, while using a conjunction at the start of a sentence, which isn’t correct and then a run-on thought in the middle of it, which probably isn’t correct either, for what or for whom am I blogging?