Just read this slightly depressing article about blogging in the Graun and some of the (equally depressing) comments beneath it, and it made me wonder, why do I still blog?
You can place the emphasis on a number of different words in the question: placing it on do, for example, is to assert that you are in fact continuing to blog, in spite of all the evidence of it being pointless, and you’re explaining why. Placing it on I might indicate a me-too response to the original Graun post, which is from a blogger who has come to accept that the single-digit page views simply mean that a blog now is a more private means of communication than Twitter or Facebook. With the emphasis on the why, it becomes more existential: perhaps this is pointless, and maybe I’ll just stop.
In the end, economics might dictate the end of blogging, rather than people. Once WordPress can’t support itself, they’ll shut up shop. As soon as Google decides that Blogger isn’t a profitable part of its business, they’ll abandon it like they do all their other failed experiments. Running a blogging platforms costs money.
I’ve posted before how blogging has taught me humility. That’s one of the reasons I continue. I decided to self-publish my novels because I accepted it was the only way I’d ever see anything I’d written on sale.
Some people’s idea of blogging is that “it’s a bunch of thoughts that don’t fit anywhere else”, but for me there never really was an anywhere else, and blogging has given me the outlet I’ve always needed for my head full of thoughts. From the age of 16 into my mid-20s, I kept a diary, and then I stored things on floppy disks and hard drives for a few years.
Every now and then, I would destroy my diaries, commit diary suicide, and every now and then I commit blog suicide. Frequently Arsed is just the latest in a long line of blogs that I’ve kept since 2003. I’ll have no sentimentality about culling it when the time comes. I’m boring, my blog is boring, and when it becomes so boring that I want to destroy it, I will.
I recently killed two of my semi-professional blogs, and made the last surviving one (the Media one) private. This particular cull was in response to work-related bullshit. I’ve also got a secret blog which gets zero views, and which allows me to express thoughts I cannot display here, with all the filters off.
There’s a paradox, isn’t there, in the idea of a secret but nevertheless public blog? I think a non-writer would find it puzzling. A private blog would allow me to write anything I want without any fear of discovery. But the anonymity of a secret blog allows me the edge of a potential, if imaginary audience. My Media blog is private (except to subscribers) only because I wanted the years of content to remain there against the day when the bullshit régime at my place of employment passes, as all things must. Keeping the secret blog public makes a difference, I think, to the way I write. If I really thought I was the only person who would ever read it, I might not ever get around to writing it down. And writing it down helps me to come to terms with thoughts, ideas, and emotions that would otherwise be ricocheting around my head, driving me crazy with their repetitious and broken patterns.
I put the repetitious and broken patterns out there, and then when I can see them clearly and become bored by them, I can safely delete them. You can’t delete thoughts from your head without somehow coming to terms.
In terms of the secret blog this is of paramount importance. My internet motto is, nobody cares what you think. Writing stuff down that nobody ever reads is confirmation of this motto. When you can come to terms with the idea that nobody cares what you think, you can proceed with caution. I am probably the biggest reader of my own blog, and I do in fact quite enjoy reading back over what I was doing a year or two ago. While I do still enjoy doing that, I won’t delete this particular slice of internet boredom.
So, in answer to the question: I blog because blogging keeps teaching me lessons in humility. People who can write as well as you are common. Nobody cares what you think. There is no audience. There are no comments. Sometimes this is depressing, sometimes it is curiously liberating.