With over 150 million blogs in existence today there are so many questions about what makes people read and write blogs.
What makes us as readers search that huge crater of blogs for what is interesting to us, find what we want to read and weed out all the rest?
And what is it about blogging that rocks our micro and our macro worlds?
Why blogging sucked in 1992
Internet access and availability probably had something to do with it.
Connecting to the internet before there was wi-fi went something like this:
“Get off the phone! I need to use the internet!”
In the early 1990s I actually had internet access. This may not have been as big a deal as landing a man on the moon but it was pretty damn close. My access was due to a special internet work station that was stationed in my high-school library, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, as a benefit offered to experimental schools in Israel.
At that point in time, there was really no one to be in touch with anyways and simply nothing to browse even if I had wanted to since the internet was a tool only being used by Universities and government agencies. I basically wrote emails to my two friends whose parents were academics, via their parent’s email accounts (Yikes!).
I remember booking the work station for a half hour and sitting in the school library waiting while the dial up connection made that crinkling static noise followed by the high pitched wail and then that last stretch of silence knowing that soon I would be connected.
It’s little wonder that the world of blogging was not flourishing in 1992.
Those were the good old days.
SEO’s, Chinese language keyboards and Kosher internet
Our present day framework of services and technology allows us as blog readers to function within our extreme realities. We can read a blog post on our smart phones, while waiting for our doctor’s appointment, after Google-ing it easily since it is an SEO enhanced site and showed up first on our search result of “Salsa dancing in Manila”.
Our limitations are only based on our own skill, desire and ability to find stuff. One such limitation is the fact that I cannot type Chinese and even if I could, do not own a Chinese language compatible keyboard. Therefore, I find that I am less inclined to read blogs about the woes of teenage life in Beijing (damn you non Chinese compatible keyboard!). But that’s just me.
Other people who have one or all of the following:
- young children browsing the internet unsupervised
- religious inclinations
- overall social sensitivities
may choose to limit their internet access by choosing a service provider that intentionally blocks certain types of internet content and limits their exposure to internet sewage.
Jews call this Kosher internet. Yum yum.
This kind of chastity belt internet service means that people are willingly limiting their search results and what they can read or see at home. Now, I may be pro choice but those people who willingly choose not to watch porn or midget wrestling, not to read heretical ideas and thoughts about promiscuity and not to go on a black Friday shopping spree are also cutting off their connections to provocative blogging characters who shamelessly self promote, have no fear, no boundaries and close to zero regard for social constraints. (No no. Not me, OTHER bloggers.)
In case you were wondering, not being able to read my blogs is a bad thing.
How is a blogger born?
Yes, bloggers are regular people, just like me and you.
The earliest bloggers were born in the late1990s, after struggling with HTML for dummies, HTML for idiots and HTML for complete and utter morons, when along came the emergence of web publishing tools. These user friendly tools such as WordPress (which I like to refer to as Nerd-press), allowed most non-techie people with no knowledge of HTML and FTP, to be able to post content on the web easily and freely.
Enter bloggers, stage left.
Blogging does not require a degree in journalism nor does it require expertise in social media and networking. All it requires is basic writing skills, a web publishing tool and hardware to write it on.
If a blog is written in the woods, does anyone read it?
Yes, little Sara in New Jersey may be having a hard time with her burgeoning puberty, but chances are that the only ones reading her blog posts are her parents in conjunction with her therapist and school social worker and her best friend (who really only read parts and bluffed about the rest).
Obviously, there are many well read blogs with writers ranging from professionals and senior level executives to socially and intellectually provocative personalities, all of whom use the blogging platform to promote ideas, events and organizational philosophies in a more casual, yet public platform. A blogger’s overall writing skills, personality, topics of discussion, where and how they publish, and how they promote their writing are all factors in who the audience is and what the volume of readership will be.
Let me demonstrate for you where blogging fits into the overall picture. In this case, I will use the example of posts during a war in Israel:
Twitter: Just heard an explosion
Facebook: Why do I keep having cravings for Burgers every time I have to run to my bomb shelter?
Media publications: 2 Rockets fired at Israel Monday morning but can’t tell you where or by whom. All we can tell you is that right now it is Monday morning.
Blogging: How me, my children, my neighbors and my cats felt about bombs falling in the South on Sunday Monday and Tuesday, if Tuesday ever comes, and how these thoughts are connected to my solution to world hunger.
Blogging is open 24-7. So is the Gap
In many ways, the Web is our online 7-eleven convenience store, open every day including New Year’s and Christmas. While the world over is singing Yuletide carols you can still go online to buy new button-down fly, casual fit, boot leg jeans from the Gap, sign up for the cheese of the month club and email your aunt in Florida to thank her the new new doily she crotchet for your bed stand.
Blogging is one of my basic needs. Something which I want to be able to do whenever and wherever the need arises, 24-7. My busy schedule is not that flexible and definitely hard to predict when I’ll have time but every once in awhile I do find myself sitting on my bed, laptop on my knees, in a tank top and leggings with my glasses on, nurturing an idea that I want to get out. It is cathartic in many ways and it personally gives me a platform to share my ideas, thoughts and feelings openly. I am able to reach out to other people and express myself, to laugh at myself, make other people laugh at\with me, to make myself heard, find empathy, sympathy and support and finally to screw over publicly anyone who has dared to cross my path….in a nice way, of course.
The need to blog is often times criticized and compared to the need to defecate. To these anti blog-ites, I would just like to say:
Sometimes my blogs may just be a lot of verbal diarrhea but other times it is a good, solid, well written piece. Either way, it has to get out.