Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why We Blog

October 3

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years I often wrote little journal essays, considerably longer than a blogpost, but I kept them in a carton somewhere, not for publication, not for anything, I suppose, except an exercise in writing.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.


John Sweden said...

I for one like your blog exactly for what it is and has been for me, a normal place of unpretensions built on a wide variety of wonderful, intelligently, written collection of observations, opinions and challenges. I mean, where else can we be inspired to write about cats, libraries, the real William Shakespeare, the Declaration of Independence, eyes, art, Paris and of course La Rochefoucauld (also one of my favorites blogs).

In my opinion your blog runs along that fine line of definition that defines the artist at work. Your blogs are not derivative, obvious, or predictable, as most “self-gratifying” fantasies are, instead, as readers, we are treated to a highly original and interesting work in progress from a fine writer with excellent, conversational, personal and literary skills.

Keep-up the good work and you will have at least one reader and commenter.

I think?... therefore I read findingfairhope.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Well, thank you once again, John. Readers like you make blogging a rewarding pastime.

Welcome back.

Thierry Beauchamp or somebody said...

I like your blog too. I think it is refreshing and interesting!Your writing style is pleasant and it easily conveys the sense of what you are feeling. Most of all I appreciate your calm demeanor and your subtle sense of humor.
I don't feel very articulate tonight ,so this post won't be particularly polished. But I do want to encourage you to keep on doing what you are doing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the world, and thanks for telling the story of Fairhope and the Organic School. You come from an interesting place, with an interesting cast of characters. Miss Johnson would be proud of you all.

Finding Fair Hope said...

I'll make you a deal, "somebody." You send me your actual name and address and I'll send you a FREE copy of Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree. This offer is for a limited time only, and only for you.

Bert Bananas said...

I read your blog as punishment for the sin of living well...

Nah... I read it because, while not always agreeing with you, I like that you come across as "fair', in the sense of even-handed. Even-handed hope. What more could a boy ask for?

Finding Fair Hope said...

And I read >your blog when I want a little jab in the ribs to make me laugh. Keep coming back.

Carl Evans aka TB et al said...

Thank you Miss Finding, I am genuinely touched by your kindness. How do I send you my address?

Finding Fair Hope said...

Contact me at timbes@mac.com and full instructions will follow, Carl. Nice to meet you!