November 10th, 2007

jim

Why we blog

Why we blog (Communications of the ACM, December 2004; may not be readable without an ACM Digital Library subscription (check with your local library...))

This is fascinating.

Some folks at Stanford did a survey of 23 local bloggers, followed-up by a number of interviews, to try and determine what motivates people to blog.  The top five (non-exclusive) reasons found in the survey:
  1. To document one's life ("today, I went to X and met Y ... ")
  2. To provide commentary and opinions ("let me tell you why this sucks ...")
  3. To express deeply-felt emotions ("let me tell you why *I* suck ...")
  4. To articulate ideas via writing ("I'm not sure what I think about this ... so let me talk about it for a bit")
  5. To build online communities ("OMG WHO HAS READ THE NEW BUFFY NOVEL YET?!?!?")
(Ok, the last one was a little silly, but you get the idea.)

I think the article captures a lot of what I read on blogs ... particularly on LJ, being the only site I visit regularly.

I also think about what motivates me to blog.  I think my initial motivation was for technical ("professorial") commentary.  But as I read blogs written by other people that were more self-revelatory in nature, I started to move more into expressing emotions as well.

I don't think I will ever get into documenting my life via blogging.  Too much of the "interesting" stuff in my life deals with confidential or privileged information that can't --- or shouldn't --- be shared with anyone.  But I find it fascinating how much of the "expression of emotions" motivation has migrated into my blog.

Sometimes it scares me ... especially when I find out that someone else is reading my blog.  And so I find myself torn between desperately wanting interpersonal intimacy and being afraid of it.  I try to make myself vulnerable, only to find myself afraid of it.

I suppose blogging isn't that different from RL relationships after all.