Why Blog? It’s a question I’ve been asked on more than one occasion and having heard it discussed again last night at the latest Cardiff Blogs event, it seemed an appropriate post to launch my new blog and portfolio with.
It’s also not an easy question to answer. I suspect no two people have the same answer, and each individual may have different motivations for different blogging projects. Personally, every new blog I’ve started or site I’ve contributed guest posts too has been for a different reason. There has always been one central theme linking my blogging together though and it’s a simple one. I enjoy writing and debate, and blogging allows me to do both of these things.
In part, I’d imagine many bloggers are motivated by the same thing that motivates many journalists. Whether we admit it or not, the vast majority of writers like seeing their name in print and knowing other people are reading, and hopefully, valuing something their name is attached to.
Some people blog because they have to, whether because of a job or demands of a university course. I’ve never fallen into this category, though both have been true in the past. Blogging has never seemed like a chore, though I suspect some of the people who are currently studying with me would disagree.
I started this latest project, to have a site and domain I could call my own and where I could write about whatever had piqued my interest, without having to clear it with anyone else or make sure it fits the broader theme of the sites. Posts are likely to be eclectic, but usually about some issue with the media, technology or my course in particular. More broadly, I also hope this site will function as a portfolio, bringing together my work elsewhere and allowing me to put one link on job applications which can then highlight my best pieces.
I also blog about politics, for anyone who’s willing to let me. I do this because it’s something which has always fascinated me and it was a way to express my opinions without boring my non-political friends to death with my latest mutterings about party funding or how we should utilise digital technology when campaigning.
But even here, my motivations have been very different. The Grapevine, was always envisaged as a non-aligned blog which provided anyone who wanted to write for it an outlet. I contributed pieces, as did my co-editor, but they had no more significance than a piece by any other author. Similarly, Devolution Demystified (now defunct) approached devolved politics from a non-partisan perspective, both because it gave me the greatest range and to suit the journalistic demands of objectivity.
However, my work for Left Foot Forward, as you may guess from the name, often had a distinctly partisan slant. I still write for them on less sensitive issues, and my bi-weekly column is a neutral look at news from the USA and around the world. My motivation for writing for LFF is quite different to any other blog I’ve written for, it’s less directly tied to my name, but it gives me access to a far wider audience than I could ever hope to reach myself and seeing your work linekd to and retweeted, sometimes dozens of times is a buzz which never goes away. (Or at least I hope it doesn’t)
I also blog, because much like Elena Cresci said at the event, I hope it will help me get a job. As a trainee journalist, it adds depth to my portfolio and shows I can write things other than news and have a vague understanding of how digital media works. Whether or not this holds true is something I suspect we will both return to over the coming months as the job hunt intensifies and competition becomes more fierce.
So why do you blog? Like me is it for enjoyment and to get my opinions out there? Is it for work/your course? Or do you have another reason, which I’ve missed entirely.