Blogging’s raison d’etre

The Hannibal Blog is almost a year old now, so naturally I have pondered this phenomenon of blogging from time to time. I started pondering it long before I had a blog, for my day job. I then kept pondering it last fall, still for my day job, when I declared, tongue-in-cheek and not all that seriously, the “death of blogging“. But really, I was just savoring the irony that just when blogging was ‘dying’, I was starting my own blog.

Well, the New York Times has come to the same conclusion–ie, that blogging is, if not dying, at least moribund or ailing or sickly or something of that sort. But I detect no irony in the piece. It just quotes bloggers or former bloggers saying … absolutely silly things in a very earnest tone.

Thus I am told that

many people start blogs with lofty aspirations — to build an audience and leave their day job, to land a book deal, or simply to share their genius with the world.

Er, hang on. There are actually people who think they are going to leave their day jobs … to blog?

And regarding book deals, isn’t the natural order to do it the other way around? I mean, I got a book deal, and then it occurred to me that a blog might be a good complement.

As to sharing genius with the world, what’s wrong with just sharing thoughts and refining them? No need for genius.

Clearly, I am not on the wavelength of this article. But I plod on and learn that

blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants [with] 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned

Well, isn’t that what you would expect if those blogs were started by people hoping to quit their day jobs, get book deals and share genius? There’s only so much in the way of day jobs, book deals and genius to go around.

One former blogger, “sounding a little betrayed” (!), is quoted saying that

Every once in a while I would see this thing on TV about some mommy blogger making $4,000 a month, and thought, ‘I would like that.’

Sorry, but did you have anything to say? Or are you demanding $4,000  just for simultaneously procreating and having a WordPress account?

And so it continues, with more revelations:

Many people who think blogging is a fast path to financial independence also find themselves discouraged.

What can I say? Except that I clearly see blogging in a very different way. How do I see it?

  • As a scratch pad for my sloppy, chaotic thoughts, before I clean them up and organize them for my day job or my book or something useful.
  • As a hobby or diversion or outlet for thoughts that I would express anyway–just to fewer people, via email or dinner conversations.
  • As a great way to get intellectual stimulation from people like you guys who leave these great comments and emails, with eclectic ideas and book tips that I would never otherwise know about and that make my table groan under the weight of unread texts.

That’s plenty, isn’t it?

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8 thoughts on “Blogging’s raison d’etre

  1. “……..many people start blogs with lofty aspirations — to build an audience and leave their day job, to land a book deal, or simply to share their genius with the world……….”

    At the dawn of the Age of the Blog I dreamed of becoming rich through Google’s Ad Sense programme. I dreamed also of fame, and so, like the Rhinestone Cowboy, I would get cards and letters from people I don’t even know, and offers coming over the phone.

    But, after making $2.80 over one year, I bowed to Reality. After nearly five years over many blogs, I am, if anything, mired even more deeply in the hole of anonymity where I’ve always wallowed.

    So it goes. So it went.

    I predict that the Blog will yield to the Vlog.

    You heard it here first.

  2. My blog is mostly for my children. It is my hope that when I’m gone, they will have something written that will expand upon their day to day experience of me.

    • That’s as good a reason for blogging as any I’ve ever heard, Marain! Your children will be grateful.

      Reminds me, btw, of Randy Pausch, who discovered he had cancer and immediately started writing a book for his children, and giving lectures. Perhaps posterity is our (Homo Sapiens’) raison d’etre for everything.

  3. There are actually people who think they are going to leave their day jobs … to blog?

    This could have been effective 3 years ago. But thinking if you’ll do it now, there’s much risk to doing it.

    • You are so flipping funny. I wish that you, Andreas, and I were in the same book club, neighborhood, coffee klatch…anything.

      Oh well.

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