Why read blogs?

Why do you read blogs?

I’ve been wondering. I’m not sure why I read blogs myself!

Question mark liberal

Why not read articles by established opinionators, stories by reputed writers, whacky visuals on established ads, photographs taken by friends rather than unknown people, instructions on how to do something or solve a problem from established players in a field?

What desires in us, what needs does the blog form satisfy that other forms can’t? What is it doing differently?

Are blogs short and fragmentary and fit into a time slot as we are on the move doing everyday things?

Do they tell personal stories in a way that isn’t published in magazines and newspapers?

Is it the fact that blogs are mostly written by people just like us that attracts us? Not larger-than-life successful people or specialists?

Is it the attraction of interactivity that blogs provide with the comments section that makes us feel more involved? Do we establish ongoing relationships or hope to do so with the writers and other readers that keep us coming back?

Does blogging feel like a group effort even though individuals may be writing them?

Is it the fact that no one screens blogs that makes us feel like they are more authentic?

Is it because blogs are not considered a highbrow form yet, or anything overly serious that makes us venture into them as readers more easily than committing to reading an article or an essay?

What is new about the blogging experience from the reader’s point of view?

♣♣♣

In less than twenty-four hours, I received some brilliant responses to the post above all of which came from the heart. I urge you to read them since many of them are great compositions in their own right and extend the points I brought up above and take them in interesting directions. I thank all of you for choosing “Bottledworder” to post your thoughts. Keep your thoughts coming!

102 thoughts on “Why read blogs?”

  1. I read the other blogs and look at the photography because they always inspire me… πŸ˜€ I really just don’t have enough time to really get around as much as I’d like.

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  2. Superb questions/responses, reminding me of reasons I write. I first posted just to hear feedback about the writing. I was in the now defunct WLS group. Quickly I was introduced to ‘blogging’ as a way to connect and develop a community that fit with an at-home lifestyle. I did not anticipate this social aspect of blogging and it is one of the greater rewards. I was also, at that time, introduced to just going out and visiting blogs – sampling. I enjoyed finding so many poets, pundits and opinions. Enjoyed the reflection prompted by this post.

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  3. I read blogs because many of them provide a view point that you cannot get from professionals. I read blogs because they entertain me. I read blogs because they have inspired me and I read blogs often to see what not to do.

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  4. Great article and, you’re right, awesome comments. I agree with the folks who say meeting other writers and getting exposure to their work — different worlds, different viewpoints are just a click away. And the randomness is beautiful – each blogger I “meet” expands my world a least a little bit (and my favorites are the ones who keep it expanding)!

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  5. I like to read blogs because of the connection to a real person rather than something mediated and manipulated to achieve an effect. So the authenticity,item has a big tick from me, along with personal experience.

    I am interested to see people saying they read blogs because they write them. For me it’s the opposite. I write because I read. It was a while before I blogged even though I had been reading for a long time, and indeed blogging intermittently for a fair time. Reading eventually gave me confidence to try my own. The experiences and insights and opinions stimulated me to thinking and wanting to share my own thoughts. It’s an opportunity for a conversation or piece of self-expression which might not exist in my “real” 3D life.

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  6. I’m going to have to agree with the most recent comment – it’s a way to get to see inside someone’s head, how they work and what not. Reading yours is a way to figure out your philosophy and what not. Very good question.

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  7. I feel like blogs are a way to get to know people, especially fellow writers. Sometimes they are able to express an experience or piece of advice in a way I hadn’t considered, or even in a way slightly different than I would have approached it and it opens up even better pondering. I get to meet great people, many of them with very different beliefs than me and yet with blogging I’m able to find the common ground and realize that even though we might not agree on everything there’s something we can come together on.

    Thanks for posing the question!

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  8. very interesting – the questions and responses – advisable variety of queries to anything we do / read / hear / engage –
    the images are “at the ready” through trusted bloggers – not a stack of heavy art books for triggering each morning
    i do read more books than blogs – but scan texts of blogs in a similar way to artistic images – like a portable compendium of book-parts – little vitamins of words before plunging in to more sustained meals
    -and the respect of attention – if anyone is going to read me, it becomes dialogue, and i must listen
    (are some of my thoughts)

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  9. I like good writing (hence, why I follow this blog), thoughtful and/or funny writing, and to hear people’s stories. I think the world of mainstream writing–and I’ll take straight news writing out of this equation, and keep it to creative non-fiction and personal essay and the like–is an incredibly closed world. Much of the writing is fantastic, but it oftentimes it is just the writing of a narrow group with similar life experiences over and over. When OpenSalon was a robust site, there were a couple of bloggers I read regularly writing movingly and well about caring for elderly parents. There was a blogger who owns a secondhand bookstore doing a masterful job chronicling the end of the bookstore era. In a mainstream publication, every other essay seems to be about the breakup of someone’s rather tepid relationship, because of the world has been chopped up into narrow demographic slices, of which only a few are targeted. You can find a range of voices and experiences and insights in blogs are that aren’t in the mainstream markets. Also, you can follow a story or experience as it unfolds. Oddly enough, I believe this also extends to professional writers, who might keep blogs because it allows them to stretch their wings and communicate to and with their readers with fewer limitations. I personally prefer the reading to the commenting, but that’s because I find the community part of blogging can be extremely time consuming. I usually limit myself to a “like,” and comment only when I feel strongly about something. And I do feel strongly about voices not being dismissed because they don’t fit the traditional mold of “writer.” Obviously,the trade-off is most bloggers don’t make any or much money :). And this comment seems to have turned into it’s own little mini-essay. I guess I’m feeling wordy today.

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    1. This is a brilliant comment. I have felt many of the things you’ve talked about. Literary writing is its own industry just like the popular genre industries except that the popular genre ones have no pretences– its profit based, hence somewhat less closed off. Thanks for the great insights.

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    2. The “breakup of tepid relationship” bit was such an apt observation! The other topic of concern is identity and confusion. πŸ™‚

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  10. I like reading blogs simply as a way of interaction with other people. It’s interesting to read their thoughts, and some of them have really great or funny content. It holds my attention too, which is more than I can say for many things!

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  11. On one level, I read blogs for the same reason I read anything else, because they’re entertaining, thought provoking, or informative. As you wrote about in your blog yesterday, they’re another writing form/genre. On another level, I read and comment on blogs for the personal, the community, the social opportunities to have interactive discussions on subjects that are of interest, with people I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to sit, chat, and enjoy a cuppa. πŸ™‚

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  12. I read a post last week by someone who had been chatting to a professional blogger. The professional didn’t understand why anyone would want to read a “vanity blog”, but all the points you raise would be a really good answer to him. It is still a social arena. We can go out and meet like-minded people, those who have skills we would like to acquire, a lifestyle that interests us or a writing style we enjoy. It is a true social experience, from the convenience of the internet.

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    1. I totally agree with you. I write a “vanity” blog, and I think my readers would probably tell me that reading about the crazy in my life either makes them laugh or gives them that moment of connection, that “YES, I can totally relate!” feeling that so many of us crave. It’s nice to know we’re not alone, that we’re navigating the waters of writing or parenthood or humanhood or whatever together. I know the blogs I frequent invoke a similar response in me.

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        1. I know there is a sort of derogatory phrase called “vanity press” for certain types of bogus publishing companies, …..but vanity blogs?? Never heard of it…I guess learn something new every day. Another reason to read others’ blogs! πŸ™‚

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      1. I also think of “vanity” blogs as being self-indulgent. I’d consider my blog a vanity blog even if I got off my ass and scouted around for some advertising. Thank you for your post; it spawned a post of my own, which you can check out here if you’d like. http://wp.me/pDVfO-GD

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  13. I was considering a post about why people follow certain blogs… I think its because we can find kindred spirits in fellow bloggers. For me, its a way of interacting with people I would never be able to meet in person from so many different backgrounds and areas of the world. Since retiring from the world of work, I still crave the human connection. Reading and commenting on other blogs fulfills that need.

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  14. Very thoughtful. I’ll try to answer from my point of view.

    *Blogs that I read are honest blogs by honest people. It is my view that the world craves for honesty. For a change it’s good to read something that’s not selling a product, promoting or running down something/someone. Blogs are honest ideas let out in the imaginary space we call blogosphere. You may not agree with all of them. But atleast they are honest.
    *The world craves for interaction, for meaningful conversation, for stimulation. For instance, it’s 3:30 in the afternoon and I have not met any new people today, nor have I ventured out of the house, but on the web, on the blog, I’ve interacted with people from Australia, Cambodia, somewhere else in India etc. I may not know them, I may not know what he/she had for lunch today, but atleast I know what an honest individual thinks about a certain issue.
    *and, I’m also here on blogosphere to make friends. And I’ve succeeded. Somewhat.

    Have a nice day!

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  15. In response to your first question, you can simply do both. I don’t stop reading the good old fashioned writers just because I’m also reading blogs ever now and then. I mean blogging is cool, but now then Isaac Asimov is better IMO xD

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  16. I read blogs because they are written by ordinary people, and for the most part, are well written and intelligent. It gives me hope to see that there is some intelligent thought going on in the world and we are not all sinking into an illiterate bunch of reality TV and soap-watching sponges with no culture.

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  17. I think the reason is, as you said, that blogs aren’t written by professional writers, or at least not “professional” as most people define the word. You are getting the views of what newspapers used to call “the man in the street” – everyday people who aren’t afraid to express their opinion on whatever subject catches their interest or arouses their ire.

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  18. Hmmm, all of the above and…because I am so often surprised. I LOVE surprises and, unlike a newspaper or magazine that I choose and have certain expectations of, when I go to a blog to check it out because they liked mine I might find something totally unexpected…something I wouldn’t otherwise have read or looked out for but unexpectedly find myself fully engaged in. Blogging broadens my outlook.

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  19. Good questions! I never read blogs before I started writing one. As people started visiting my blog, I’d check out theirs to see what they were like. It’s opened up a world of diversity that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. For instance, I’ve always read novel-length works, but with some of the writing challenges, I’m reading more short stories and poetry. As I visit blogs more regularly, I become familiar with their authors and it’s the ‘knowing’ them that keeps me visiting (that, and the fact that I’m interested in what they write about.)

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    1. And a good comment too! I think we are (were) brought up to read novels, but blogs wouldn’t have featured then. So now many of us (including me) are coming to the “party” later

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    2. This. I wasn’t much of a blog reader initially, but that changed when I started writing a blog. I have a fairly strong sense of etiquette in the web 2.0 world. When someone takes the time to like, follow, or comment on something you’ve shared, I feel that a person should return the action (or something of a similar nature), so I try to make sure to do that. I enjoy opinion a lot though too. I like a friendly debate. I like the give and take of information without pretentiousness. I like feeling like the things I’m reading about are coming from a real human being who I could know in th real world and actually connect with in some way.

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  20. I think the interactivity has a lot to do with it. For myself, there is a desire to find a like-minded sort of community, too. I think creating, particularly writing, sometimes has to happen in a bit of a vacuum. But I also think that being part of a writing community can help enrich the experience.

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  21. It is a good way to hear from other people. I like publications too but it is interesting to read what other people have to say, Readers read, writers read…I just hope it’s something interesting.

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  22. It’s certainly changed over time but I’d have to say that I read blogs because I write one. Otherwise I would never have started. For the longest time I wrote but didn’t read, or would try sometimes to find blogs or writers that I enjoyed, but just didn’t seem to be very successful with it. That was okay, because the main reason for my blog was to get me writing anyway and that seemed to be working.

    I’m not sure how long ago it was, maybe six months, suddenly I tapped into some writers who I really enjoyed. Talented, inspiring people with a diversity of styles that were easy to appreciate and enjoy. They had things to say. One good writer, led to another. Now I’ve become part of a community of talented, caring and supportive writers. It’s both amazing and quite unexpected. As part of a community I also make sure now that I consistently read others. There’s a very reciprocal and rewarding exchange.

    I also like the independent (as in “indie”) aspect of blogging a lot. You write and you read. No one in the middle filtering, making the calls or creating the scene. It means that the quality of content can be quite diverse, but a lot of amazing thoughts get out that would never make the mainstream. There is a very raw and authentic nature to a good blog. I love that it’s writers just writing.

    The immediacy is pretty cool too. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about blogs and the community. Great question. Thanks!

    Chris

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  23. Ahhh, a very good discussion starter, I started reading blogs and blogging since i came across a relationship blog while I was searching for the stuffs needed to prepare for a Nepali wedding. The blog I landed in was very interesting and it got me hooked. It was an honest blog which lured me into reading more. Thus my answer would be, I read blogs because it lets me peak into people’s mind and their circumstances and in turn helps me to understand my own circumstances better. Also it lets me know that I am not alone and there are many like minded people around.

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  24. I read what strikes me and I follow what feels kindred or makes me curious. Sometimes I think maybe there is potential? I read what I like, but thank you for making me ask the question why?!

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  25. everything you questioned and answered it is more appealing to me to get to know the author this way than some “celeb” that I will never know the true reason for writing what they wrote unless filtered through a publicist. thanks for the thought provoking article.:)

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  26. Readers like to read. Writers like to write. Artists appreciate real art. All are people. People crave interaction. To be heard, understood, accepted, or even argued with. Life is full of love. Love is defined differently to everyone. Shared or expressed differently. Readers read what writers write and writing is an art form. All is love. God Bless!

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  27. I read blogs because it’s pretty much the only way I get “grown-up time” since the majority of my time is dedicated to my five children, farm, and husband. Also, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people, which are few and far between in my *very* rural neck of the woods.

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  28. I read blogs because I want to hear from everyday people like me. After all we are the consumers, we are the readers, we are the ones that use the products or whatever. Sure the experts have their opinion, but I want to hear from ordinary people that don’t necessarily have an agenda.

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  29. I think that when you find a really great blog, written by a person that loves what they’re doing and has spent time developing their abilities, it’s more fulfilling than the perfectly crafted blogs by established writers, journalists, etc.)

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  30. Your questions give a glimpse of how blogging shows some what they have in common or just the opposite in some cases . I still see the same question from others that I ask myself everyday . The same as your’s . Why ?

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  31. I read all kinds of blogs for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes they are written by reputed writers or journalists whose work I like. Sometimes they are written by professionals or colleagues whose work or ‘thinking’ I respect or admire. Sometimes I just stumble upon interesting blogs on my way to somewhere else. And when a blogger visits my blog and comments and/or ‘likes’, i am always curious about what they have to say. So I visit their blogs. If it resonates, or provokes, or challenges, or interests me I follow them. To me, it is not ‘blogs’ that I am reading as much as an opportunity to expose myself to the varied thoughts and perspectives of individuals from all over the world — expressed in many different ways: prose, essays, poetry, drawings, photography, recipes etc. etc. it’s fabulous!

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  32. For me it is “the attraction of interactivity,” as you so eloquently put it. I read plenty of ‘professionally written’ articles during the day but have no desire to share my thoughts with the too distant author. But here – well, I know that you will actually read and think about what is written in this little comment box. Just like I do. That is what keeps me coming back to the ‘Reader’ on a regular basis.

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  33. They’re not a business keeps PR to not offend, but with an effort to improve the business image. Blogging, when it’s done by a person without the constraints of a business name, has the interest of the reader and the writer alone. In a business, there are usually investors and stakeholders who want a particular outcome, so it’s a group effort. And the more people in a group effort, the less individual it is. I like individualism.

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  34. All of the above – sort of, but mostly this one:
    “Is it the fact that blogs are mostly written by people just like us that attracts us? Not larger-than-life successful people or specialists?” – Yes, yes, and yes!!! This really resonates with me! I like learning from like-minded writers. Each blogger I read is an expert (or purports to be an expert) in their area. It’s like having a support group of writers with a leader. The blogger is the leader and all of the followers are the students. Also, reading other blogs validates me as a blogger because I see their trends are similar (or different) from mine, and it solidifies my own identity, when I see similarities and differences in other bloggers.
    And of course – the one about our ability to comment…:) — but that’s superfluous for me to state that. It’s obvious, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

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  35. Truthfully, I enjoy reading blogs because they just seem so much more….real, authentic. You feel that human connection that you don’t tend to feel with someone who’s ultra successful, and a little more unapproachable. And most of us who are out there blogging are putting our hearts and souls out there for ourselves, and no one else – we do it quite simply because we love to.

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  36. You ask a lot of really great questions. I often ask myself why I do it, too. I could be reading a magazine instead. I definitely like the interactivity and the shared experience of it. I think there a lot of personal stories I enjoy, too.

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