Monday, 18 August 2014

Why do people blog?

Blogging is in the news!  
What a storm over the weekend following the release of Nicky Hagar's book.  After a conversation with a colleague about blogging last week, I had a few thoughts.  The conversation was around why she kept her blog private.  I was thinking that blogs should be about putting yourself out there.            

  • Expressing who you are and what you think.  
  • Putting your personality into print, and pictures, and videos and as Allanah King  says it, putting Bling in Your Blog so people will know what identifies you from others.  
  • Connecting with the world.  
  • Putting your opinions on the line.  
  • Putting yourself up for critiquing.  
  • Not being aftraid of making mistakes.  
  • Learning from your mistakes. 
  • Asking for feedback from the world.  
  • Blogging is kind of like the news with your opinion attached. (I suppose all news is really just that, with someones opinion attached.)  
  • A blog can get you feedback.  
  • It can help you learn - how to read and write are just two of the ways.  
  • It can help you formulate your opinions.  
  • It can help you change your mind.

Over the weekend I began to think there were a number of occasions when it would be good to keep your blog private.
Firstly for privacy reasons.  No, I mean that, maybe you dont want people to recognise you and come and hunt you down or stalk you for anything you might have said that they disagree with.
Secondly for reason of private reflection.  Reflection is how we learn from our experiences and also sometimes we want to keep those experiences (and reflections) private.  For example, maybe someone has been an a...hole at work.  And you just need reflection time and thought to get over it.  Or you may want to take it further and you dont want to prejudice your options.
Thirdly, maybe you are trying to grow an idea or a community, and you don't want people to see the tender seedling of your idea/ community at its young and vulnerable stage, before it has grown into a massive oak tree of an idea.
Fourthly, blogging can be just like an eportfolio which can be a showcase, process or accountability.  Maybe you just show the bits of it that you want to, to the relevant people.
Fifthly, I guess that blogging can be like a private journal - but does that make it a blog?  Stephen Downes says that a blog has always been more than just a online version of a private journal.  Blogging is after all short for Weblogging.  So shouldn't it be out there, on the web?

Once again, I ask you graciously for feedback.

Downes, S. (2004) Educational Blogging


  1. Hi Leigh, have added your blog to a new blog I've made that I'm going to use to demo to colleagues the why to and how to of blogging. Have used a screenshot editing tool to capture pages as I made it with annotations of the steps involved - fireshot is a great tool - to create an instruction set that will hopefully make the process clearly visible. Your wisdom is soooo worth sharing.

  2. Kia ora Leigh

    I write this comment for a number of reasons. Your request for feedback is among them. I used to write blog posts and regularly. As you can see, my blog is a sort of educational blog that started off, in an exploratory fashion, when I took part in a blog challenge way back. Over the few years that I posted regularly, I gradually became aware that blogging could have spinoffs, some of which you mention in your post here. I felt uneasy about these.

    I was a teacher (now retired) and was dismayed at the incidence of teachers (among other employees) who were suspended or who lost their jobs through expressing their (honest and candid) opinions for all to read in their blogs.

    Latterly (about 2010) my own blog was blocked at my place of work and when I made correct and open enquiries as to why this happened the block was lifted quickly with an unapologetic comment that my blog was educational and seemed to be mainly work-related in nature. I thought long and hard about this and wondered, "what if it wasn't work related? What then?" I thought of why it had been blocked in the first place for I could think of no reason that anything I'd posted there should have been in any way seen as not coming from a professional employee.

    I was also aware that a significant set of people in the Ed Ministry "loop" in Wellington were regularly accessing my blog but never left comments/contributions that I could detect even using analytics, which I operated on my blog all the time. This was no small cohort - about 400 different Internet access points with not a sigh of recognition in a comment.

    Eventually I stopped posting, my last post being an appeal for the Christchurch earthquake which happened early in 2011.

    So, you see, though there was no occasion where anything I posted brought about any reaction (that I know of) from my employer (or any other party other than the non-spam comments that still remain where they were posted) my blogging came to a halt through a growing suspicion that maybe some day I might have posted something that caused some controversy at work or by my employer. I may have been over sensitive (I don't think I was) but I was also aware that I covered a very eclectic range of subjects in the posts on my blog.


    1. Well thank you for your feedback on why you blogged. Sometimes I, too, feel noone out there is listening, I am lost in my own world of wonderings. I do find, however, that the reflecting does help me learn so on I go. I have a bit of bloggers block at the moment. I have started a number of blogs recently that have gone nowhere. I do think that there is a bit of "other people are more interesting than me" and there are so many interesting blogs out there but also some very dull ones. So, once again, I reiterate, I do it mainly for me, to reflect and therefore think. It can have a kind of purgative effect as well. If I am in the mood to vent, I do need to draft up my comments first and sleep on them.
      Somehow, blogging feels like being in a room full of people where nobody is talking to you, so you spout off on your own. If people glance at you, they think you are a little crazy, and they might be right.