Saturday, 17 May 2008

The Truth About Stats and Blogs

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, Bête has been inviting bloggers to complete a blogging questionnaire. See his post here for further details.

While it will be interesting to see the results, I don't expect many surprises. I think the questionnaire findings could be condensed thusly:

Q: Why do people blog?

A: Validation.

I mean, yes, there's attention seeking, yes, there's the desire to be discovered, published, yes there are those who write just for fun and those who are touting for cash. But the common element all blogs have is that they are the one place where the author can be an expert in their chosen field, even if only upon themselves. Blogs are where people are free to say "look at me! I know a lot about this! I am a good writer/wife/mother/artist/lover/cook/waiter/person" and have it backed up in comments. Even if what they are posting about is something "bad" they can rely on their readers to tell them it's ok really.

Still, it has made me think about it all. I was musing on the origins of my desire to blog and a far distant memory resurfaced. When I was a very young girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old, I was learning to swim in our village pool. It was a small outdoor pool so we only swam in the summer months. I could manage to stay afloat, but only with the use of my inflatable orange armbands. My mother had been slowly deflating the armbands a little at a time over the course of the summer, until I could swim without them, really, but needed the pyschological comfort of having them on my arms.

Then one day a classmate of mine managed her first width, unaided. She swam! There was a flurry of acivity when she reached the other side of the pool, the grown ups crowding round to tell her how clever she was, heaping praise upon her. There may have been talk of ice cream.

I watched this wonderful reaction, chest deep in water, from the other side and definitely wanted a piece of that. I tore off my armbands and launched myself across the pool, flailing and splashing, until I reached the other side, width completed.

I don't think my motivations have altered that much with time.


Helga Hansen said...

The big question is... do you still get rewarded with ice-cream when you've achieved something you weren't able to do before?

As for blogging... I'm quite selfish, really... I blog for *me*. Yep, not-so-little-old me. I'll admit to making use a a stat-counter on my blog, but I use it more to look at where all the visitors to my blog come from. Not in a snooping sort of way - just a "how did you get here" sort of way. I'm always bemused at the words people have used when Googling, and I do sometimes wonder what they thought of when they clicked on a link through to my blog!!

Anyway, I'm off to have some ice-cream. You want a scoop?

Tom Allen said...

I admit that I've turned into a complete and utter attention whore in the last couple of years. I mean, hell's bells - if I just wanted to keep a journal I'd use a Word doc on my laptop, or I'd set my access to private-online.

The fact that people will write to me privately to ask my opinions and advice is a huge ego boost; not that I really needed it, but it's one of those little perks - like getting the ice cream - that adds to the pleasure.

So, does admitting that I enjoy the attention make me a bad person? I dont' know. 2 years ago, I never thought that I'd enjoy it, at least, not this much. But I like to think that it's not shameless and pointless attention seeking; I've had a lot of good posts that discuss relationships and intimacy that people appear to have benefited from (at least, so it seems by their comments and emails).

But it's also helped me to hone my own writing skills, and I've learned to look at a lot of life situations from a perspective of "how would this look if it weren't happening to me?"

Ro said...

I've always said that, with very few exceptions, those of us who blog do so for the feedback we can get. We are all comment-whores to a greater or lesser extent.

That doesn't mean there aren't other valuable aspects to blogging but, as Tom says above, if we just need to write to get stuff off our chests, why bother going to the trouble of uploading it like this? When my marriage was falling apart I found writing very therapeutic but I kept what I was writing in Word files, long since deleted.

No, it's that feeling of being a valued part of a community, of feeling that you can make someone else laugh, smile or think, that you can be part of a dialogue that's so important.

I don't think that's so much a bad thing as a human thing.

Walker said...

I qlog becuse i want to proove I cun't speall or tip wituot speall cheque.

bittersweet said...

potential ice cream works for me, every time.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I blog because I want to know,

"you like me, you really really like me".

Suzanne Portnoy said...

In 2003 I blogged on a subscription only site to try and motivate my journalist bf to pick up a pen as he said he was 'blocked.' I thought that having some competition in the house might piss him off enough to start writing again. Then, completely by accident, a publisher expressed an interest in my blog and not in my bf's novel so that really screwed up my plan. I quit blogging for a while after that and didn't pick it up again for 2 years. By that time, the whole blogging landscape had changed and it became much more about marketing me and my book. Then it became about getting feedback and now it's more about feeling like I'm part of a community as well as a scrapbook that records my thoughts and actions.

Luka said...

Helga - I reward myself, and therefore have whatever I want. Sometimes that's ice cream.

Tom - at it's best blogging can indeed be a symbiotic relationship.

Ro - no, it's not a bad thing, and it reinforces my conviction that it all boils down to validation.

Walker - you are funny and make me smile!

Bittersweet - then I know how to tempt you...

Anonymous Boxer - rest assured I do really, really like you.

Suzanne - hello! Yes, the scrapbook analogy is a good one.

bittersweet said...

a little rum & raisin, and i'm all yours :D

Luka said...

Bittersweet - *swigs rum* - where do you want the raisin?