Blogs: Why Are They Popular?

<p>I'm late to the party (late to nearly everything, actually). I'm trying to understand blogs. I've been lurking one that is relevant to what I do, and find it hopelessly boring. It's not the content so much as the concept, layout, tons of text, excrutiating detail, writers going off on tangents, etc. </p>

<p>I got started down this road because I was trying to evaluate the concept and potential impact of a corporate blog (vs. a newsletter,which is what everyone else seems to do). But I just cannot glom the blog concept, and don't understand their popularity.</p>

<p>Can anyone explain why they like reading them? Or even writing them? What's the upside?</p>

<p>Good blogs give insight into another world. One of the best examples of great blogs are on the MIT admissions website <a href="http://www.mitadmissions.org/blogs.shtml%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.mitadmissions.org/blogs.shtml&lt;/a>. If you're interested in corporate blogs, it seems to me that the MIT blogs would be a good example of one that really works well. As my son went through the college admissions process I followed the MIT blogs. They gave me an insight into the culture of a university that I didn't find on any other college website. After reading the MIT blogs I really felt I knew what my son would experience at MIT and I didn't have that same sense at any of the other schools he was accepted to. (and perhaps it was the blogs that fueled my disappointment when he decided to "the other institute")</p>

<p>I have a blog and read some other blogs. My friends have described my blog as everything from "sorta boring" to "erudite." (It's a legal/political blog.) For me, it's fun to do something with what I read every day (love reading the newspaper and yes, very sadly, law review articles). For the readers, the ones who have zero interest in legal issues and law, it's "sorta boring." The legal nerd friends enjoy both the news and the commentary.</p>

<p>Thanks for both responses; the MIT blog looks interesting and I can see why that is so impactive. Ariesathena, why do you have a blog? Is it entirely recreational, or do you anticipate that it will have commercial value? I'm trying to figure out why blogs in general exist, and understand the attraction.</p>

<p>Here's one example of why we read blogs... shared experiences:</p>

<p>from the MIT blogs:</p>

<p><a href="http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/before/helping_your_parents_through_this_process/a_post_for_parents.shtml%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/before/helping_your_parents_through_this_process/a_post_for_parents.shtml&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>why they exist? because they can....</p>

<p>Digmedia, thanks, that helps some, though I'm still struggling to transfer the benefit to a business/commercial blog. I read a statistic the other day that said this year, only 5% of the Fortune 500 have weblogs, but something 37% intend to have them by next year.</p>

<p>CGM thanks but not helpful. I'm seriously trying to understand blogs.</p>

<p>I'm probably going to start a blog for my business as a vehicle for two-way communicating about various issues. (It'll be moderated and confined to strictly business issues, anyone can read by users must supply a valid e-mail to post.) I've been startled by perceptions on some issues and have startled clients or potential clients in return and where there is one there are probably many.</p>

<p>TheMom says that my posting style lends itself to blog writing which, via message boards, I've actually been doing for about 15 years now, starting with the SF writing & fan community.</p>

<p>The problem with some blogs is that some people have a drive for self-expression without having anything to say.</p>

<p>For those new to blogging: one young woman parlayed her blog into a major career. <a href="http://www.stephanieklein.com%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.stephanieklein.com&lt;/a> was stared by, you guessed it stephanie klein only a couple of years ago. Due to a couple of controversial entries, the fact that the author posted pictures, and because it was fun and funny in a sex-in-the-city kind of way, it quickly caught on, got mentioned in NYT, a British & Chinese publication. A lucrative two-book deal followed, plus an offer to develop a tv series for NBC. I repeat -- all this in maybe 3 years of blogging!</p>

<p>For all their gallic shortcomings, there is one thing the French do better than everyone else. Summarize a complex issue in one sentence. </p>

<p>So, here it is in the form of a link to a movie worth watching, if you like the genre.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.cinemotions.com/modules/Films/fiche/5711/C-est-pas-parce-qu-on-a-rien-a-dire-qu-il-faut-fermer-sa-gueule.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.cinemotions.com/modules/Films/fiche/5711/C-est-pas-parce-qu-on-a-rien-a-dire-qu-il-faut-fermer-sa-gueule.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Oh, despite the little TOS faux-pas, the title "C'est pas parce qu'on a rien à dire qu'il faut fermer sa gueule" translates loosely into "It's not because you've got nothing to say that you should shut up"</p>

<p>While most everyone loves to point to the handful of blogs that have reached the illusory level of being successful, the reality is that the current stable of blogs clearly demonstrates the glaring mistake of making the technology of self-publishing so easy to obtain to the lowest denominator of our society. </p>

<p>Mental masturbation, just like the physical one, is best left to the privacy of one's home. Of course, there ought to be a space for the exhibitionists and the voyeurs! In the weblogs, they found the perfect vehicle to indulge in pure hedonistic bliss!</p>

<p>Again, one famous Frenchman did not write, "Scribo, ergo sum" but "Cogito, ergo sum" for a very good reason.</p>

<p>okay, blogs, what is to understand, people like to write and hope people read what the write</p>

<p>and......if you don't understand or are not impressed, don't read them....</p>

<p>and my answer is actually very valid....its because people can....</p>

<p>Yep, and so is graffiti. A couple of "worthy" pieces and millions of pure and unadulterated garbage that deface cities throughout the world. A keyboard or a spray can of paint ... both can be weapons in the hands of lunatics who seek to share their offensive stupidity camouflaged under the thin veil of the right of self-expression.</p>

<p>Xiggi, I have to say that your posts have mirrored my impressions. Every blog I see, I find just mind numbingly boring. The exceptions are every now and then something worthwhile reading appears - usually it's something someone like Driver or Fountainsiren post, however, even blogs on subject matter I'm obsessed over strike me as boring, self-promoting, self-congratulatory, horrible writing, etc. </p>

<p>So I'm wondering why businesses are getting into blogging - on surface, it's to stay in touch with their clients, and cultivate new ones. We got started down this road because we were about to launch a newsletter, and then one of us said, wait, everyone does newsletters, why not move forward and create a weblog...</p>

<p>But the more I explore various blogs, the less attractive that option sounds.</p>

<p>LTS, the trick is to write interesting things that people want to read and possibly respond to. There...that's easy. Next? </p>

<p>But seriously, one needs to avoid the "boring, self-promoting, self-congratulatory, horrible writing," syndrome.</p>

<p>I read two blogs which I find interesting. One, written by a friend who is a singer/songwriter/musician/actor, is one of the earliest blogs online. He's been writing for ten years and it's a way to keep in touch with his family, friends, fans, etc. The other is written by two Iraqis. They are very different but I have learned a lot from both and they are part of my routine when I sit down at my computer.</p>

<p>I haven't read many other blogs but I suppose that they are popular for the same reasons that keeping a paper diary is popular with some people.</p>

<p>well, the difference between a blog and graffiti is that you have to go find the blog, type stuff into your computer and read it...with grafitti, it defaces public property and is hard to miss</p>

<p>no way are the two the same, bad analogy</p>

<p>think about comic books- i find them a waste of time, but others love them, so what do I do- I don't look at them</p>

<p>or think about certain kinds of music- if I don't like it, i don't play stations that play music I am not fond of</p>

<p>same with blogs, if you don't like it, well, don't type on your keyboard to find them....</p>

<p>I personally think blogs are great, in that people are writing, putting out their lots, whatever they are, creating a kind of global record of humanity</p>

<p>It bothers me that you equate blogs with grafitti, what would you outlaw boring blogs?</p>

<p>I actually like most graffiti. It's interesting to see, and the contributors have to have at least SOME talent, in that they have a limited amount of real estate to use, must confine their creativity, and also in most cases must complete their work undetected, and in the dark. It's fun to imagine too the physical fitness involved for some of the artwork in hard-to-reach places - bridge overpasses, for example. </p>

<p>95% of blogs, on the other hand, appear to be the strainer in the sink drain - everyone who wishes they could be a writer but have no skill or marketability and could never be published or good enough to be paid for their work now have an outlet, so, they write blogs, or at least that is my impression so far. Requires no effort that I can see other than sitting behind a computer typing. </p>

<p>The exceptions may be the MIT blogs and the like - those are mission-specific, and I'd bet there is some sort of formal editorial process or at least someone probably has to issue imprimateur of some sort. </p>

<p>No one is suggesting outlawing blogs - if people want to type themselves into a stupor, great, if they like it, I love it. I am simply trying to grasp what it is I'm missing, why these things seem to be so popular, and especially why it appears that the business community is leveraging blogging.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I actually like most graffiti. It's interesting to see, and the contributors have to have at least SOME talent, in that they have a limited amount of real estate to use, must confine their creativity, and also in most cases must complete their work undetected, and in the dark. It's fun to imagine too the physical fitness involved for some of the artwork in hard-to-reach places - bridge overpasses, for example.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>oh what do you know! A photo-graffiti blog!</p>

<p><a href="http://woostercollective.com/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://woostercollective.com/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Personal blogging: for me a way to connect with a community. To find others like myself. To hear/see my feelings & experiences reflected by others. To not feel so alone. To connect. If I'm writing, it means people stop, read my words and say "thank you, I didn't know anyone else felt that way" and reading blogs, I find people whose life reflects my experiences. Granted, not every blog pulls me in, but I'm not the one to say that those blogs aren't important for someone else. And they all are, I think, important for the persons that writes. </p>

<p>Business blogs: a way to see into the "soul" of an institution or corporation.</p>

<p>I think baseball is boring and whiney, yes I said it out loud, but lots of people love it, memorize stats, get excited when no one hits the ball, I don't get it, but don't begrudge those that play....</p>

<p>guess that is how some feel about blogs</p>

<p>think of it this way, when computers came about, it was thought that the art of wrting would be lost, and while many blogs are just not all that great, at least people are putting fingers to keypad, and among the jetsom, there are some jewels...</p>

<p>i think people writing is great.... even if its bad writing</p>