It's one of those existential questions, to blog or not to blog...and with a day promising nothing in particular, the time seemed right to examine the very reason anybody blogs, much less me.
Popular blogs can have hundreds of readers a day -- the really big ones have millions -- and yet I only draw about 20 hits that aren't repeats from the same people, or myself checking my Site Meter.
Yet every morning I consider it a job to sit down and write something to put out into cyberspace. In pre-Internet years I often wrote little journal essays, considerably longer than a blogpost, but I kept them in a carton somewhere, not for publication, not for anything, I suppose, except an exercise in writing. I know lots of people in Fairhope who want to "be writers;" whether or not they actually are compelled to write, I have no idea. To "be a writer" in Fairhope is to have a certain amount of local celebrity -- to have a short story in one of the Blue Moon Café anthologies, or to have a research project in the works, or to be "writing a novel." Dreams of those book signings at Page and Palette fairly dance in the heads of the wannabes as well as the real writers.
But a blog is something different. It is tangible. Like a column in the newspaper, it goes out there with your picture and name on it. It doesn't -- as we used to say in the advertising business -- have much reach or penetration, but you wrote it, and somebody somewhere just might read it.
Blogs can be forums for opinion. The most popular ones are political, or at least news-oriented. I have a friend who used to read mine daily, but now has backed off, saying that all I'm doing is psychologically skinny dipping for my own good. There is another word for that which starts with something that sounds like "master" and is not so pretty, but he didn't say that, and neither did I. Let's face it, I write a blog because I like to write, and sometimes it helps me clear up how I feel.
Most people run out of things to blog after a few weeks. Many do not write every day. Even I usually skip a day a week, to let the day's blog get more exposure.
There is no telling who will read a blog post on any given day. Some find it through the search engines -- someone came in yesterday because of my mention of Ashton Kutcher, but looking for a remark that Kutcher had made regarding Bill Clinton having made a pass a Demi Moore (wife of Kutcher). I never heard the quote and certainly never posted about it; now I may get dozens of hits from people looking for more information about it. On the other hand, if readers are seeking information about Henry George, Marietta Johnson, or Upton Sinclair, they may well find something somewhere in this blog. Occasionally there are visitors who came in looking for such. I expect some interest in yesterday's post on Gertrude Stein, but there has not been any. Not yet.
The blog format is natural to me. I can say what I like and even leave the typos in. I never know if I'll post something literary, something about the theatre, something about Fairhope or something suggesting there is fair hope for the world. I might choose to write about something rather emotional that I want to flush out of my system. The audience, or lack of it, is interesting but not the crucial point.
Blogging can be an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. In my case, that's probably it. I think, therefore I blog.