Melanie Booth over at Prattlenog was recently featured on Freshly Pressed for a post she wrote called Verb: To Blog. She explored the reasons why she believes she blogs and then asked this of her readers:
“What are your thoughts about “to blog?” Please share!”
So we did. I loved reading the answers from her 60+ commenters. Some people seem to have similar motivations as me for blogging, but others were quite unexpected. One commenter’s blog is devoted to her clothing line, one guy uses his blog to “help readers to solve their dilemmas”, someone uses their blog as a study guide for his/her course work, one woman is posting an online book. There were a couple of people who wrote non-English language blogs. I googled “Why Blog?” and came up with 424,000,000 search results.
I found an interesting article called Rumors of the Death of Blogs are Greatly Exaggerated. It contains a very nice summary of Technorati’s 2009 The State of the Blogosphere, which was given at the 2009 Blogworld Expo (from this article I learned that are things called “Technorati”, “State of the Blogosphere” and “Blogworld Expo”. Who knew? Go to the article for all of the accompanying links). One of the graphs I liked was the “Please tell us the reasons why you blog”, shown below.
So yeah, yeah, yeah…there are a gazillion and one reasons why people blog – personal, professional, selfish, selfless…it’s all good. Blog if you want to, don’t if you don’t. This question of “why blog” is critical to bloggers and those who use blogs, but it’s also exhaustively studied.
A more interesting question, in my opinion, started bumping around in my brain when one of Prattlenog’s commenters said that blogging is selfish because only 3% of bloggers comment on other people’s blogs. I started wondering:
Why and when do people comment on other blogs?
*Usually, I comment mostly when I feel that I have some knowledge, experience or opinion that can add to and continue the conversation. Social interaction, pure and simple. It’s fun to engage in intelligent debate and to share ideas with like-minded individuals.
*But I also blog to let authors know that I’m there. It is a thrill to receive comments from people, especially from new readers or from readers who don’t normally comment. Knowing how I feel when I get comments encourages me to comment on other blogs.
*Reader participation questions like Melanie’s (prattlenog) are another reason to comment. The author is asking What is your opinion? What do you think? Why do you do this? Okey-doke. I’m game.
*Lastly, and most self-servingly, making a particularly pithy or intelligent comment can actually draw new readership. Well-written comments at someone else’s blog are a form of advertisement, a sort of “if you like what you read here, zip on over to my blog for more!” Thus continues the social interaction, but now I’m the originator of new discussions.
So if any of y’all 15 or so readers care to chime in, why do you comment on blogs – not necessarily on mine, but in general? Have I covered the main reasons or are there others?*
*Note the clever comment fishing with the “Reader Participation Question” as outlined in bullet 3 above!