Why I Don't Blog - A Narcissistic Look At My Own Writing

It seems somewhat strange, all things considered: I write hideously long articles which are meant solely for reading over the internet, and yet, I don't possess a blog. My presence on the internet is limited to a very basic series of websites, which get updated sporadically, and a series of forum accounts. So, why, when I write such pedantic and long-winded articles, do I not keep a blog in order to archive them on?

There are a number of reasons. There's one obvious one that I can get out of the way immediately. You see, the blog appears to be a very introspective medium, one that seems appropriate for accounts of people's lives. It's meant to be updated at (somewhat) regular intervals with whatever is going on in a person's life, or their opinions. That turns me off immediately.

You see, I subscribe to the philosophy that you should keep the internet and your own personal lives between a barrier. My daily life is nowhere near important enough to be describing in any great detail in any case, and I wouldn't want to meet the person who would read through a blog describing my daily life. As for my opinions, while I am a reviewer of sorts, I doubt that anybody would be inclined to read my reviews if they were presented to a blog - they're nowhere near passionate enough.

But say for a moment that my material wasn't inherently unsuited to the blog format. Would I use a blog then? No. You see, when I write a 3,000-word article on space warfare, or a 2,000-word article on the history of IBM's mainframe operating systems, I want it to be read, and I've found that if you want your articles to be read, it's far, far more efficient to post them to a series of forums rather than presenting them to a blog.

When you post an article to a forum, you don't have to explicitly advertise your blog in order to get people to visit it. In order to get people to read a blog, you must inform people that it is there, which is not only more difficult than calling upon a pool of people that you already know that frequent a forum, but also smacks of bad internet etiquette. Then, in order to maintain a pool of people reading your own articles on a blog, you have to maintain it with frequent material. As somebody who writes sporadically, and somebody who already has articles that are unsuited to the blog format anyway, I prefer taking the more efficient approach of posting an article to a series of forums rather than having the personal satisfaction of having people read my website. I'm not looking for advertising, I'm not looking to get paid, I'm just looking for people to read my articles, and the bigger pool I can call upon, the better.

It isn't just page views I want either. There's something which a forum can offer me which is almost completely absent from the blog model - discussion. At the time of writing this, my article, "Space Warfare: Almost Everything You Know Is (Probably) Wrong", has 3586 page views, and more tellingly, 204 replies. Even the most popular of blogs would likely struggle to get 204 comments for an article encompassing over 3,000 words of the most pedantic writing possible. Even my article, "Why Ford and General Motors Deserve to Survive", which contains material which wouldn't be out of place on a blog, has far more comments and far more discussion than the same article, presented to a blog, would ever get.

It's telling that I got these sorts of results from posting my opinions to just one forum. Being more deeply involved in more than one forum at a time would give me additional scope for responses, and from a far wider selection of people than would ever read my blog. That's a lot of discussion, which gives me the opportunity to argue my points, figure out where I need to do additional research, et cetera.

So, now that I've expressed my opinions on the more traditional blog format, you can probably tell a lot of my opinions on the Twitter model already. Here's a form of blogging which is even more focused on the audience who have to express a play-by-play account of their lives. With a Twitter account, you get messages which are 140 characters, maximum. That's less than a text message. For somebody who routinely writes articles which are over a thousand words long, and even text messages which exceed 200 characters, I don't think I'm that interested in adopting a technology which tethers me to such a small arbitrary limit. Most of my Twitter messages would end up being links to my more substantial arguments, and where would the fun be in that? Using a character-limited technology in order to advertise gargantuan essays and reviews? Seems a bit Heath Robinson for my liking.

140 characters? I've probably had shopping lists longer than that!

I can't see myself liking the whole "follower/followed" model either. I'm not doing this to become an internet celebrity - I'm doing this to discuss or detail various issues. The problem is, of course, that it seems a bit close to social networking for my liking, something I already dislike (see "A List of Computing Predictions" for further details).

In conclusion, I can't really see the appeal of the blog. Maybe it's the pedantry of my articles, or maybe it's the fact that I don't see the internet as a proper social technology, but frankly, I'd rather just post my articles to a load of forums, get more responses, get better discussion and avoid the blog model entirely. Collaborative efforts just seem so much more in line than the internet's purpose than the attempted creation of internet celebrities. Don't you agree?

Holy shit.

You just said everything I wanted to ever say to anyone who asks me to get a xanga/blog/livejournal/myspace posts/etc, etc...

Minus, of course, "having written articles suitable for forums and not a blog" (since I hardly write much at all).

Yeah, I don't have much to say, honestly, because I see no appeal of a blog or anything like it either. I have no idea why people do it. I have no idea why people want to do it. Forums, I can understand (hence why I'm on them), and to be honest, I don't think there's anything that effing important that it should be in a blog or anything.

Friends of mine did it because some "people" out there actually read it when it was like...talking about a trip to Bestbuy and how some guy there was sucking at guitar hero and blaming it on TV lag, and how they bought pokemon emerald...etc. Nothing particularly special or interesting, honestly. I used to read them when my friends wrote them because I had nothing else to do (read: 7th grade) but even then, I never thought it was a good idea.

the irony of this entire thing is that you make a thread of it. forums threads are not unlike blog posts, because they too are places you can leave you verbal diarrhea and let others comment on it; though with much broader input as a forum is a community and not a one-manned website.

personally, i don't blog or twitter or whatever the next new thing out there is. i don't look at other people's blogs unless they have an interesting article or post, and even then, i don't follow any blogs.

for me, they pose questions that i have a hard time answering. why would you bother giving out information about yourself to a share of imaginary readers? what would make people stumble onto your site for your specific input on a general situation? what makes you think your opinion is better than the average joe's?

i see people managing blogs as a pretentious folk, trying to win the favor of the general public in some sort of way; and not realizing that the favor of the general public doesn't equal that you're good or better than anyone, but that you have lowered yourself to the level of the general public.

that being said, i have many opinions on many different things, because my spectrum of knowledge is broad. but that doesn't mean i want to give it out or share it with people who quite frankly don't deserve to hear it. i think my my opinion deserves more dignity than to be thrown to the general public as a bait for favoring my entire person.

for everything else, this guy pretty much sums up my problem:


I agree, that's why I hate social networking sites because they usually attract wankers who think other people actually give a shit their life (not saying all social networkers are like that) and I've made a personal oath to NEVER visit a social networking site, I don't web log (I refuse to abbreviate it, it's such a stupid word) because I can't be fucked to type one and I'm certain that no one actually gives a shit my day to day activities, especially given the fact that I barely give a shit about them.

EDIT: i think this guy deserves a pulitzer, he's brilliant

I can see what you mean, but honestly, I'm more of the opposite situation. My own...okay, I guess the word would be "blog"...only serves two purposes, a travelogue (when I'm guaranteed an audience) and a personal recollections account/diary.

I actually bank on Livejournal's reputation of housing a massive population of whiny kids and fangirls. It makes writing for my own benefit that much easier, and when I gush a little too much about something, I can rest assured that it will just be written off another example of LJ's poor quality writers and dismissed, my slight exhibitionist tendencies satisfied and my reputation none the worse for wear.

So, I agree on one point. If I wanted people to actually take me seriously about something, I certainly wouldn't use a blog for the purpose. Otherwise...eh, who cares? I write for myself, and a blog has always felt like the perfect place to do that.

I've considered a blog. Like you, I don't think my writing style would suit it very well. I don't bother keeping people 'up-to-date' on what I'm doing. There's really no point, and as a highschool student, it's not difficult to work out anyway.

Forums are good for word-dumping so long as it's structured. Articles and rants rather than train of thought vomit across the screen. On forums, people don't care about your every little whim. What's wanted is something worth biting down on. Especially here. Blogs do have their place. If I was going overseas on a journalistic trip to a not-so-fortunate part of the world, I'd likely keep a blog so that my readers could know the details of the situation, and if something did happen to me there'd be a backlog.


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