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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why do people blog?


I know blogging means a lot of things to different people; I would guess the most common reason is sharing. We share our thoughts, likes and dislikes, with the hope that someone who shares our thoughts will respond. There are others that like to vent, and they too hope, some like minded people will agree with them, because we all like to think we're normal.

I don't know about anyone else, but I think I have found my comfort zone. I no longer think that I am the lonely liberal who shouting from roof top because no one is listening. I used to feel the need to correct every myth stated as fact, but I quickly found out that's a full time job. I then decided to write a blog that supported my views, thinking that I would get a civil discussion going. I soon found out that there's no such thing as civility in politics. I quickly found out that instead of debating the topic I wrote about; my opponents continuously changed the subject to something they wanted to discuss. I then made what I presume to be the worst mistake a blogger can make. I let the trolls get the best of me. I started arguing with people who didn't have the working knowledge of the subject I was writing about. I started writing in a defensive mode; instead of a person who has a view but is willing to have a civil discussion. The second mistake I made was not paying attention to those who emailed me encouraging me not to engage in ad hominem attacks. They wanted me the clean up my blog, so they could post again. I found my inner peace with my blog, and I hope to transform it to my VA blogs.

As Chris Cobler said on Jared's blog "A blog out in the wilderness is not quite the same as one that's part of a larger conversation. Each has its place, of course -- it's a matter of the audience that you seek" and that rings true. My blog helped me find my comfort zone because at the Advocate forum, there is a built audience, but I have to work harder to retain my readers in my blog. I don't expect to catch up with Edith Ann, and that's not my goal; I would like to have half of the number of comments she gets with each blog. Edith Ann is a platinum standard and my blog its copper right now, but I'm striving for silver and then gold. It's going to take a little while, but I've only been working at it since November of 2010.

I just submitted a blog about "Elizabeth Warren" to the VA forum, knowing full well it won't get many hits because not that many people know who Elizabeth Warren is or the controversy that surrounds her appointment. It's just something that I wanted to write about. I finally acquired the comfort zone to write about what I feel; not worrying about others might think or approve of. I've been a member of Vic Ad forum for about six years, so my reputation (good or bad) has been established. I used to get a false sense of accomplishment because I had a streak of hundreds of blogs with 100 hits or more but writing about controversial subjects was the catalyst for those hits; it had been very little to do with my writings. It took me six years to get here, but I got here.

Why do you blog? Is it to get a conversation going, share a story, or just for the fun of engaging?


SugarMagnolia said...

Interesting take, Mike. I would have to say that I was inspired to blog by the early VicAd holy trinity (to me, anyway) - Pilot, the Grey-Beard Loon and Rusty. They always had so many interesting things to share that our conversations naturally grew into my posting a blog, so that I too could share stories, have an intelligent conversation with others who had similar interests, and connect on a deeper level with those who truly "got me".

I think that political topics and religion are of course hot buttons that tend to bring out the best and the worst (from my vantage point, mostly "worst") in people. You will certainly acquire trolls when you blog on political topics, but that certainly doesn't mean you shouldn't blog about what you are interested in. Those trolls have a certain life span, and I believe you will see that either they stop having fun because you have control over how you react to them, or they become so obnoxious and full of themselves that they get banned. It is the VicAd's responsibility to make sure they stay that way, and as far as I'm concerned they are falling down on the job in that respect.

I think that as long as you can look back on your blogs and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that you said what you intended to say with no intention of compromising yourself or your principles, then you have done your best.

Edith Ann said...

Wow! Mike—you’re going to give me the big head! Platinum? Aluminum foil perhaps! The numbers have stacked up rather quickly, I’ll admit, but your numbers are on a rapid rise also. Over 12,000 page loads in 6-7 months—do the math. That’s not too shabby!

I have to agree with a lot of what Sugar Magnolia posted. I started blogging out of pure frustration, and it was The Grey-Beard Loon and Pilot who finally convinced me to give it a try.

I never dreamed folks would care about what I had to say. I thought a couple of folks would read, and that would be it. I continue to be in awe of and in gratitude to my readers. I have intelligent readers and they post intelligent comments. This is what makes it interesting for me. I love to read what others think, even when it is different from my thinking. I think having my blog away from the Advocate has facilitated that. I don’t believe I would want to contend with the trolls on the Advocate. Keeping it on my turf makes me feel like I have control. Sure!

I think you have found your comfort zone over here and I see it in your writing. Sugar is right when she said that politics are a hot button. By and large, though, you do generate some really good discussions with your blogs. And she is absolutely correct here, too: “I think that as long as you can look back on your blogs and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment that you said what you intended to say with no intention of compromising yourself or your principles, then you have done your best.”

A blog is hard work, but isn’t it gratifying? Keep up the good work. You are not in the wilderness on Blogspot, there are over 30,000 bloggers over here! I think you may find the most contentment being in both places.

Mike said...


I remember the original bloggers and their daily posts. You meshed together in harmony and it made for a great read. It was like you fed off each others thoughts and ran with it. It was spontaneous, humorous, and authentic.

This personal blog gave me a renewed confidence to just write what I feel and let the chips fall where they may.

Thanks for your interesting thoughts.

Rebecca said...

I think I blog because I'm lonely. I enjoyed it more before I started commenting on the VA forum. At one time I imagined an audience that enjoyed discussions and I wished to trigger that, but now I imagine an audience that is just waiting to attack, belittle, criticize, with no sense of understanding or soul... quiver full of tired rehearsed repeated rhetoric - no humanity - just judgement. If you don't agree, you are "evil" in their eyes.

I think I'm jaded. LOL

Mike said...

Edith Ann
I didn't know pilot and the Grey-Beard Loom encouraged you to blog; quite interesting. It's hard to believe that you doubted yourself but you certainly overcame that.

You hang around in a diverse circle..that's why you are hard to pin down..:-)

A blog is hard work because you don't want scare off the lifeblood(readers) ;yet you want to encourage others with opposing views to comment. I think that's your strong point; you host a blog that is self- policing because your guests know that you will not tolerate bad manners but you do give them a lot of rope....I am still amazed by that.

Mike said...


I hear you, because politics, abortion, and religion are usually about the survival of the fittest because everyone is talking past each other. No one listens, it's all about a predestination mindset.

Your thoughts are not being wasted because you make some very good points when you're discussing abortion, religion and gay marriage, and they're not lost on the open -minded.

You're quite knowledgeable on the subjects, which leads me to believe that you have discussed the subjects before, either in college or in your non blogging life.

I'm going to throw something out there, and it's just my opinion..I think you and Kyle are frustrated with the mediocre challenges you get from the posters.... There's not enough thought provoking challengers like maryann and Jared.

Rebecca said...

In real life I am surrounded by right wing fundamentalist Christians, so the VA comment section has been a place where I can safely vent or have a discussion without another mom grabbing her children and heading for her car. I can't talk about these things with real people - they don't exist for me. That's why I've appreciated you guys.

One of the things that bothers me is that I have a friend who sounds just like Beakus or the other "holier than thou" posters. She believes REALLY BELIEVES that if you aren't talking bad about a person, acting rude TO the person, or excluding them from gatherings or functions, then you are condoning their "bad" behavior. This baffles me because I know that by being rude, gossipy, and exclusionary, you don't change people for the better. You just prove yourself to be a nasty person. Actually, I've had many friends like that over the years.

(I could tell you the story about the Pagan in the predominately Christian homeschool community. It's a very interesting story... I'll tell you later.)

You can't change others, you can only change YOU. I think there's a scripture about that.

Anyway, I thank you guys for being an ear. If I were to have these conversations with real life people, it would be taken as an attack.

Rebecca said...

(I don't think church rhetoric is challenging)

Mike said...


I get it, although my extended family are totally opposite.... Most of us are protestant Catholics; we all go through the rituals but we normally pick and choose on what to stand fast on. I do have a nephew that strayed and joined an evangelical small church and soon became a part- time pastor..... When my mother passed away, we all went along with him leading a prayer at the services and the grave-site.... It was later when he brought in his bible to tell us how wrong the Catholic church was, that he met his first resistance. Although she was just a passive catholic, my niece lit into him saying" Danny, I knew you back when,so don't throw your righteous rhetoric our way, or I will be forced to let everyone know what you really are." To our surprise, with a flushed great big grin, he put away his bible and said" Come on Tricia, I was just kidding; let's play some 80s music."...

The point of that story is that fundamentalist usually stick with their own kind,so they don't know how to behave in mixed company..... That's a lesson for me; I can no longer write in a defensive mode because if I stray from my principles and beliefs,then it's not me.

Mike said...

I didn't mean church rhetoric was challenging for you. I meant that posters are not presenting new material that you haven't heard before.

Edith Ann said...

I've told Rebecca before she doesn't blog often enough. Neither do some of the others, but everyone is pressed for time.

Rebecca and Kyle do like a challenge. And they rise to the occassion. But it soon becomes tiresome to jack with folks who have no clue.

Mike--I do feel like I have a diverse bunch of readers and posters, and that goes a long way to make this effort fun and challenging.

I'm just glad you all blog!

Mike said...

Edith Ann

Your words ring true.."But it soon becomes tiresome to jack with folks who have no clue.".........I remember arguing with Kenneth but he kept asking for a reference..I finally got tired of that,so I wrote back "I'm not going to do your research for you" he didn't acknowledge it anyway ...A few months later he posted something outrageous but when I asked him for a link, he wrote " I'm not going to do your research for you."

BIGJ said...

There are many reasons for blogging. 1) To express my anger at certain people/things ie: State Rep. Geanie Morrison ; 2)express my ideas as usual; 3)seek support from local non-hardliners; 4) My ambition; and 5) escape from my ongoing "quarter-life criris.

Mike said...

I understand BigJ,I wish blogs would have been available when I was your age.

Edith Ann said...

Ah, Kenneth! Kenneth didn't post links because he didn't want anyone to catch him red-handed plagiarizing others' works!

Sometimes I miss the give and take with Kenny. But then I drink some more caffeine and wake up...

Mike said...

Lol,But that's even worse;plagiarizing lies....He would be guilty on two counts.