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The question most frequently asked about blogging is why. What is in a blog that makes it something unique that people find attractive enough to want to write about their daily lives to the whole world? While there are many reasons bloggers do what they do, I’m looking specifically at what satisfaction is gained from it.
The blog I have observed over the past few weeks is very much like a regular journal posted by Jim. He talks about anything and everything he deems important enough in his life. Generally speaking, he posts about real events and thoughts on real things that happen directly in his life. His posts go back quite a ways too, about a year, and he posts daily. To me, this sounds almost addicting. It was at this point that I began to wonder what made blogging so addicting and questioned the enjoyment and pleasure factors that are involved. I finally emailed Jim and asked him why he blogs and who he blogs for. His answer was the expected answer;
"Really, I just do it for myself. My thoughts have no...order, really...they're all very disjointed and random. I don't know why anyone reads mine, it's really not that good and not as interesting as some of the others out there. Though I am flattered when people tell me they do enjoy it. I also think they're crazy, but that's not the point...My friends do theirs as a journal of sorts...but I try not to write anything too incredibly personal."
I think many people like Jim want their readers to think that they just do it for themselves and not for any real reasons. However if this were true, no blogger would write their journals online in the first place. The idea of having potentially thousands of people reading their blogs and commenting on them is enough to make bloggers post. If Jim and all those out there that really just do it for themselves they would keep it private. He states that he doesn’t do his as a journal like his friends, but upon reading a few entries, you’ll find that is exactly like a journal, and some of his posts are extremely personal. “Though I am flattered when people tell me they do enjoy it.” That kind of reinforcement from the internet public is precisely the idea I am trying to get across to the bloggers who may be in denial about doing it just for themselves.
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"Satisfaction Gained from Blogging." 123HelpMe.com. 31 Mar 2020
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Blogs also refer to any subject matter; there’s no limit. Some blogs have been created just for a close tight knit group of people, but have recently expanded to hundred of readers, and the bloggers find enjoyment upon reading the comments from their fans. Mike Wendland talks about what some specific bloggers have done, and why they've done it in their blogs. His article mentions that first there were bulletin boards, then discussion groups, then instant messengers, and now blogs. Each getting a closer group of people and more one on one interactions. "The next big thing for the Net." One blogger, Rebecca Blood (http://www.rebeccablood.net) said, "You don't have to be a great novelist or skilled writer to have a blog, you just need something to say." Wendland, I think, uses that idea as his main point about blogs. I think this has a lot to do with most of the blogs out there, including Jim’s. As with anything new and exciting, some people may have tried blogging just because it was new and wanted to try it out. They may have gotten hooked onto it because they found people out there that were actually reading regularly and commenting on it. There’s definitely a sense of satisfaction involved with that. People who have complete strangers being fans of their daily life posted are certainly going to stick with blogging. The reactions from other people are encouragement enough as well. And talking about any subject that comes to mind is intriguing to people because its free speech, a way of letting themselves open up to the world without necessarily being condemned or judged by it based on the anonymity.
The internet is also used as a type of community. In many ways the internet can be more fun than with real people, but for me it can’t replace real life. Playing online games and such is entertaining for a while, and blogging is something new enough to me where I was interested in starting my own for a while. But after attempting to get involved and become a real blogger like the rest I got bored with it. The initial excitement wore off. For me, this is a prime example of an internet fad. Bernard Lane states in an article that some people find they can communicate new ideas with blogging. People with similar interests will blog about subjects that interest each other to the point where they keep in constant informal communication with each other to keep themselves updated on what they find important. He also thinks that blogs are just a more evolved version of websites and HTML. They are much more simple in getting to the point in what they want to say. And the people reading them can give legitimate responses, if they want to. Communities are definitely formed through the use of blogging, and people find that comforting. John Seabrook's article "Home on the Net" focuses on the "community" of the Web in comparison to how a web page (or in this case, a blog) home is like that of a real home. He mentions how similar the feelings and excitement of building a real home are much the same when building an online home. In ways he thinks it is almost better because anywhere you go online you can find everything updated and from random people pouring out their hearts in their journals. He quotes from Justin Hall, a young webmaster that "The Web is an opportunity to make good our fifteen megabytes of fame." Its fun to create something online, and the web provides some fame to those blogging when people read and comment on their thoughts. I think this makes sense in regard to Jim's blog and likely many others’ as well.
But I have also found that businesses use blogging as a way to inform other companies of new ideas and information in order to keep up with the modern world. While blogging is used for social purposes, it is also used for business and commercial endeavors. This type of community is just as important.
As I stated at toward the beginning, people are often attracted to new things and try them out for themselves, then it eventually subsides. But for people like Jim who have been blogging for at least a year on a regular daily basis, it’s not just a fad. He and many like him are very much involved with blogging, it IS part of their real life, not just their online one. What is so intriguing about blogging online that it can’t replace something in real life that could be just as important or satisfactory? Humans by nature need social interaction and up until the recent couple decades of all history can that need for social contact be fulfilled without any face to face contact and still get the same results as quickly as any verbal conversation. I think as the internet progresses and people get more in tune to what they can accomplish online, blogging will be able to fulfill that desire to socially interact. That is a very probably reason for the satisfaction that bloggers attain from posting their thoughts to the world. Anyone who wishes to respond may. The forum is wider and simpler than live/verbal communications.
John Dvorak provides reasons about why bloggers blog their life away in an article in PC Magazine. Ego gratification, antidepersonalization, elimination of frustration, societal need to share, and wanna-be writers are all explanations. I believe that the elimination of frustration is a prominent and commonly found explanation for why bloggers tend to vent online. This goes back to the free speech aspect that is very appealing to young and “angry” individuals (which I have found in my observations accounts for a large population of bloggers). The forum of a blog allows for any subject matter to be explored without being judged by it. The drudges of everyday life and complications often frustrate people and to be able to talk about them online relieves peoples’ tension regarding it. Speaking to a public that has no face encourages emotions and thoughts to come out and help ease the frustration.
Overall, I have found that people blog for the simple pleasure of doing something fun for themselves. While blogging is also used for business purposes, the general population of bloggers out there are doing it for their own good. The sense of knowing that their own thoughts are being posted to thousands of people and without any drawbacks from their public is satisfying for the sake of their own well being. For some people such as myself its fun for a while, and others find it to be a very comforting way of life in order to communicate with other people.
Dvorak, John "The online 'Blog' phenomenon" PC Magazine February 5, 2002, 4:15 AM PT
Lane, Bernard "Tell someone who cares" Australian IT News May 32, 2001
Seabrook, John "Home on the Net”Wired Society (originally printed in the New Yorker)
Wendland, Mike "Got anything to say? Blog is your soapbox." The Freep: Detroit Free Press March 24, 2001