Five Reasons Why I Blog

Ariel, proprietor of The Genre Files, tagged me with this meme, which is an old one that’s crawled its way around much of the blogosphere by now. No bad thing to be made to think a little bit about such matters, so here’s the required five reasons:

1. I was reliably informed (by Ariel, amongst others, as it happens) that blogging would be a handy way to disseminate info about my writing, interact with readers and so on – all the now widely received wisdom, in other words. Seemed plausible to me then, and still does. It’s a self-evidently simple and accessible way of putting stuff out there for folk to see, and for those same folk to respond by way of comments if they see fit.

So far, though, the most effective way of getting reader feedback has actually turned out to be just publicising an e-mail address (on the Contact page), rather than having a comment-enabled blog. Which made me wonder about subsets: there’s some indeterminately-sized (but presumably quite small) subset of readers, and potential readers, who actively browse author websites, and a small subset of that subset who are inclined to interact in some way with the author. Of that little group of interaction-inclined readers, my tremendously limited experience so far suggests that more are likely to settle on the e-mail route than the comment-on-a-blog route. Is that dependent on the kind of blog posts that appear, or is it that people are deterred by the more public nature of comments and prefer the direct, private nature of an e-mail exchange?

2. I like other peoples’ blogs, and my fancy was (and is) tickled by the idea of dipping my toes in the pond of this new style of communication. Not in any expectation of emulating the success some have had in building profile or readership for their blogs (I’ve neither the time nor the inclination – nor the natural talent for this particular form of writing, I suspect – to attempt to create an uber-blog), but more out of curiosity about what it was like to participate in the blogosphere, in however limited a way.

A tenuous analogy: one of the reasons I liked living in London was the sense of being where the action was, being immersed somehow in buzz. I was not personally much involved in said buzz, but it was there, all around, and I liked its proximity. Now, I live a tiny bit of my life online, and the virtual world of the internet feels a little like a virtual London: a seething mass of activity in which I’m a highly peripheral participant, once again enjoying the occasional sense of being able to distantly glimpse somewhere where the action is.

3. Nothing to do with why I started, but a reason for persisting, is that blogging has made me much more engaged with the whole internet. I kind of knew that there was a lot of interesting stuff going on out there, but I really wasn’t doing much by way of exploration until I became blogified. Now, suddenly, I’m starting to get my head around just how astonishing it is. I’m listening to podcasts, scouring websites for RSS feeds, browsing discussion boards, and it’s slowly sinking in that this really is some kind of revolution, just like the media’s been saying for all these years. What kind of revolution, I’ve no idea, but blogging is the bit of encouragement I need to pay attention to it.

4. I have latent techno-geek tendencies. My inner geek manifests in unpredictable ways, sometimes hibernating but never wholly fading away. He is pleased, and soothed, by the mechanics of writing and publishing a blog post, of playing around with digital images for the blog, of figuring out what html tags do. Were he a cat, he would purr. He would be despondent – possibly even sulky – if I stopped blogging now.

5. I have never been able to keep a diary. One or two youthful attempts fizzled out in a cloud of apathy and inertia. Blogging is not diarising (not the way I do it, anyway), but it does feel like something is slowly being constructed. The slow, steady accretion of detail creates a record of something – one particular aspect of me and my life. Were I to keep a blog going for years, what would I end up with? Not a diary, but maybe a series of snapshots, a litany of passing interests or activities that I would otherwise have forgotten about, a vague impression of the way my mind works? Or just an ugly, shapeless mess clogging up valuable space on a bit of hardware somewhere? I don’t know, but I’m mildly curious to find out.

I’m not going to tag anyone else, which I know is playing fast and loose with the rules for such things, but this meme is a pretty old dog: lost its bark by now, I should think. Kind of fun for a neophyte like me to do it, but I’m not in touch with enough other new bloggers to pass it on.

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