Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Why Blog?

I read a news story this morning that contained the line "...critics continue to dismiss blogs as mostly prosaic rambling...", which prompted me to think "what's wrong with prosaic rambling?". My blog is a combination of half-baked, unresearched essays and what one of my favorite bloggers refers to as "what i had for breakfast"-type of entries. I think prosaic rambling is an apt description.

Of course, the story was referring to the minute percentage of blogs that have large readerships and which influence thought. I was reading an article recently about the number of blogs and the growth in blogs in recent months, and while i forget the exact numbers i seem to recall that there are around 47 trillion blogs now and 100 million new blogs created every second. That works out to roughly one-hell-of-a-shitload of blogs for every living creature in the universe. Out of those, on any given day maybe 3 or 4 will have an impact on the meme-o-sphere. That means that the chance of a blog to influence people's thinking is slightly lower than the chance of winning the Powerball lottery and then being struck by lightning during a solar eclipse.

In fact, while blogs are completely public they are for the vast majority effectively private journals. You could, as some have, seed your blog with popular keywords so that it shows up with a high rank on search engines. If your goal is to generate income via blogads, that's fine. But for most of us the justification for spending time on a blog has to overcome the presumption that nobody ever reads the damn thing. My personal rationalization goes something like this: 1) i get to practice writing without any of the bothersome paperwork, 2) i like writing because it's somehow cathartic, 3) i can look back on this in a year, 5 years, 10 years and get a reminder of what i was thinking and doing, 4) blogging is an interesting cultural/sociological phenomenon and/or fad so that by participating i am part of the experiment.

I mentioned in an e-mail to somebody that, for me at least, blogging is also a way to define and explore those aspects of my life that distinguish me from my demographic. Based on my income, job, neighborhood, marital status, number of children, and age marketers would most likely target me as a customer for mutual funds, mid-level luxury automobiles, golf clubs and what they call "house porn" (those magazines that insist you just can't go on living without travertine countertops and crown molding). It's not really important to me that other people find my weird hobbies interesting or that anybody share my taste in music; but it is important to me to think that i'm making my own choices about these things rather than being unduly influenced by what advertisers and social norms dictate. Blogging forces me to think about how i really feel about these things, both in terms of what i'm willing to say and what i'm not.

1 comment:

Postmodern Sass said...

Not only is there nothing wrong with prosaic rambling, there's nothing wrong with writing about what you had for breakfast. :-)

Writing is cathartic. That's exactly the right word for it — thank you!

I just survived one of the most (ok, the most)embarassing week of my life — by writing about it. If you put it up there on the wall and slap it around for awhile, it makes it go away.