Many people run a WebLog, aka. blog. A blog is a time-ordered sequence of small articles. Whatever is on the author's mind gets posted. Usually blogs allow readers to add comments, and blogs provide means to check for updates using RSS.
blog blogs blogging reasons motivation
Technical and Psychological Features
Since articles are small, not much markup is needed; the most important thing is the ability to link to other sites. This allows blog-providers to offer blog-space – just like GeoCities offers webspace, these new companies offer a blog including all the features you might want: RSS, archives, templates, CSS, notification of a WebLogTracker, etc.
All this results in the following technical reasons:
- low barrier to entry – easy to start, low cost, little knowledge required
- easy connectivity – link to other pages, link exchange with friends
- ubiquity – post from home, school, the office, WiFi zone
This, however, can also be achieved by a good web hosting provider with an easy-to-use HTML editor. And yet, blogs seem to be more popular than traditional websites. Why? Here are some psychological reasons:
- no need to reorganize the info – time-ordered sequence it is and that's it
- no need rework older comments with new comments on the same topic
- no need for careful discussion – instead of accumulating knowledge and discussing it, the main point is to write what's on your mind, now; like small-talk, you just say stuff you find interesting and hope other people may find interesting, too
In fact, even if people start out with a personal wiki, it usually turns into a blog! See also WikiOrBlog.
But what drives people to publish personal information in the first place?
- Sharing information If you've found some interesting or useful information, why not share it with others?
- Group Building. People often have difficulty finding good friends with whom they can discuss what is on their mind; the web facilitates finding like-minded people
- Reputation. In online communities, it is sometimes important to offer more personal information in order to build trust (ie. link to your blog from your signature when posting to Usenet or a MailingList)
- Fame. In a society where your basic needs are fulfilled, some start to strive for fame
- Egotism – People like talking about themselves (…though this line of reasoning slides into SuperFreudianism)
- Coordination. I can say on my blog, "I'm going to be at the Pacific Science Center. If anyone else want's to see Asimo, come on over." My friends are likely to see it, regardless of which cliques they are part of.
- Less Redundancy. Because who has the time to call up 100 friends and relatives and keep them all informed of what you are doing all the time? People almost always ask, "Hey, how you doing? What you up to these days?" Now we can keep up with each other from afar. Great!
- Plain Talk, Personal Freedom. You are held to your own standards. Your friends are your friends. You can talk naturally. You can be yourself.
- Off-Topic. People need off-topic so that they can build the human interest needed to work together in trust. But off-topic is off-topic, and doesn't belong in work mailing lists, and on some wiki. So what you do is you put your off-topic thoughts into your blog. Problem solved.
- Half-Baked Thoughts. Nobody's going to pounce on you for putting your half-baked thoughts on your blog. People may disagree, or help you see some flaws, but almost always with the understanding that they are in your house as a guest.
- Purely Artistic Self-Expression. Whatever. Draw a picture and put it on your blog. Who's going to get mad at you?
A person's blog is something like their online body, or part of their online body. (The face, or the mouth.) The blog is a visible projection of their body, feelings, activities, and mind. You don't have to be vain to have friends, and want to talk with them..!