Saturday, March 21, 2015

Why blog? Reasons #7, #6, and #5: To become famous, to inspire ... and sometimes to gripe

This is the fourth post in a new series I'm calling "Why blog?" In each day's post in this series, I examine one or more of the top 10 reasons people (including me) blog ... and what I have learned as a professional blogger and a corporate liaison to bloggers.

My last post looked at Reasons #9 and #8: Because it's there ... and in order to inform, or demonstrate (or establish) expertise. But in answer to the question "Why blog?" today's post examines, David Letterman countdown-style ...

Reason #7: To become famous.

Jorn Barger was an influential
early blogger, but his "Robot
Wisdom" blog no longer posts.
There are a few people who, because of the quality of their blogs or their expertise at whatever they are writing about, and also because of how they've leveraged their blogs to establish their name as a guru in whatever their subject is, have become famous in doing so. More power to 'em.

But, let's be generous and say there may be 1,000 such people out there for whom this is the case. Which doesn't sound like bad odds ... until you go back to what I said about there being hundreds of millions of bloggers. All the sudden, your odds of becoming famous by blogging plummet to at least 1:100,000. Not quite so great. Stick to playing the lottery, it's a lot easier.

I actually can't think of a whole lot of people made famous by their blogs. Matt Walsh is probably one, and I'm not sure he's a good example. (He describes himself as a "blogger, writer, and professional sayer of truths." He's far-right in the rather caustic vein of Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity, and it's possible his fame — he's said to have some 40 million readers, though I wonder about that — comes as much from how "out there" he is as from his actual blogging skill. But I haven't read that much of him so I probably should stop there.)

Reason #6: To inspire.

Okay, this is a very noble, altruistic reason, right? There are bloggers out there who blog simply to uplift the human spirit. They are good writers, and they have the gift of encouragement. They have the ability to paint a vision of the way things should be, and to stimulate us toward that vision. In a world full of preachers, these are the Joyce Meyers, the T. D. Jakes, the John Pipers, or the Joel Osteens of the blogging world.

If you are a very inspiring person, with an uplifting message to share, by all means, please blog! We need you!

Reason #5: To gripe.

I rated this reason ahead of reason #6 (to inspire) simply because I feel more people are using their blogs to gripe than to inspire. There's something in the human spirit that has a need to kvetch. I've even succumbed to some of this myself. For instance, see my blog about the silverware tray on my dishwasher, titled: "Hell needn't be hot -- mere bad engineering will suffice." Yes, I wrote a whole blog post, just to grip about the silverware tray that came with my dishwasher!

And, surprisingly enough, it's actually one of my top 10 most-read posts! Go figure. I'm hoping this is because I tried to inject some humor into the situation when I wrote it, and not because people simply can't believe I'm wasting my time griping about a plastic tray in a dishwasher.

Hmmm ... perhaps "to make people laugh" should be another reason?

In tomorrow's blog, we'll look at reason #4 ... Why blog? To practice writing.

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