Saturday, March 07, 2015

Why Blog? (Introductory Post)

A little over a year ago, my job at World Vision underwent a fairly dramatic change. For the three years previous I had been working for World Vision's Media Relations department in the U.S., managing our website and social media platforms like Twitter, and doing (or managing) a little bit of blogging. I sort of functioned as an in-house tech guy, the one you went to with any technical question, and also managed interns and did whatever else was requested, mostly from a systems/operations standpoint.

But in January of 2013 my job changed as a result of some downsizing in our department. Because we were expected to do more with fewer staff, I found myself with two key new responsibilities: 1) To serve as World Vision's liaison to a large group of what we called "Tier 2" bloggers, pitching them ideas and providing resources as they wrote their blogs; and 2) To post or pitch content to online-only "news" sites such as BuzzFeed.

The blogging liaison role was the most challenging. Working with bloggers is a little like trying to herd cats. (I know, because I am a blogger, and I certainly don't want to be "handled" by anyone with an agenda, even if that agenda is noble and good. Hiss.)

I've so far experienced what I consider to be only limited success in this new role (new not just to me, but to the organization as a whole), but I have learned some things which have caused me to ask a fundamental question: "Why blog?"

The word "blog," of course, is a compound of the words "Web" (as in, World Wide) and "log" (as in, journal). And blogging has certainly taken off big-time the past decade or so. There are now, believe it or not, hundreds of millions of blogs worldwide. The latest stats I was able to find were in Wikipedia, which said that as of two years ago there were:
What may be the world's largest platform, Blogger, doesn't even reveal how many blogs it hosts. (This blog is hosted on Blogger, and the three other blogs I manage or contribute to are hosted on Wordpress.) And of course there are many other smaller platforms (such as LiveJournal). And there are people who "build it themselves," creating their own blogging functionality (a blog is essentially a series of posts presented in reverse chronological order, usually with the ability for readers to comment) on their own website.

And then the mother of all blogging platforms may be the microblogging technology, Twitter. Toward the end of 2014, Twitter averaged 288 million monthly users, who were posting an average of a half billion or so tweets per day. I myself created or manage a half dozen Twitter streams, with a combined "followership" of just under a million people.

And then, in addition to classic written blogs, now there are also interactive blogs ... vlogs which use audiovideo, etc.

So, obviously, a lot of people are blogging, in one form (macro, medium, micro, or interactive) or another. But why? What's the point?

I've decided to try and answer that question David Letterman-style ... counting down the top 10 reasons people blog. In subsequent posts, I'll tackle these 10 reasons one, two, or three at a time, depending on space:
I will also try to give examples, as appropriate, of some blogs I enjoy reading, in each category. So, stay tuned!

But before I dive in ... I wanted to give you a chance to share. Why do YOU blog?

240+ readers have enjoyed this series so far.

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