I was having a discussion with a few mates in the pub this evening about my blogging 'antics.' They've berated me for blogging before, but as it's becoming more and more widespread I can see them getting more interested in my motivations for 'blogging.'
One of the friends commented that it was purely the fact that he knew me that made the blog interesting. For someone that didn't know me, the blog would be pretty dull and of no consequence. At this point, another chipped in saying - "Only bloggers read blogs." Is this true? I don't know, but I don't think so.
My motivation for starting the blog was that it was a place where I could share my technical insights. Not profound insights such as the advent of structural-object-abstract programming methods that I've just decided are going to be the Web 3.0 - but short howto's and the like, and to publish a few 'Gotchas' - problems that have few symptoms and a nice easy solution - but take hours of work to solve. I blog advice - There's nothing quite comparable experience.
(un)Fortunately, which ever way you personally look at it - my blogging has branched out to cover all sorts of things. From the time when some guy smashed the window of my car, to re-living and walking through my car accident in 1999, to a short article on why to avoid Red Hat's bundled openLDAP implementation because it's crap.
I think it's an interesting concept, for non-bloggers and bloggers alike. Who reads blogs? If you have a regular commentator on your blog, do you add him to your blogroll as a thanks for lifting your self-esteem by having him visit your blog? Do you think you have a regular readership, or just random visitors popping in and out after being directed from Google?
I don't think it's a negative thing that bloggers read blogs. It's great. From the attendance at the spontaneous meet-up last Friday, it's clear to me that there's a nice little community of bloggers in Birmingham. However, this is a meeting of a cross-section of the readership who it's worth meeting face-to-face in order to better your own blog.
Is blogging journalism? Is it art? Is it a cry for help from some pathetic moron wanting to share his story with the world? Is it 'new media'? Does it matter?
I blog tech because I think some people read it and it helps them - and also as an easy reference for me. I blog 'about me' as a way to vent some thoughts and get some feedback from an audience who I think would be interested. This audience is dynamic, therefore I categorise my posts different to respect that.
When doing my Psychology degree, one of the things we covered was 'online personalities and freedom of information.' This blog is in the public domain. If it were a diary, having it leaked would immediately bring headlines of 'scandal and gossip.' My blog is sort of a base for my online identity. 'andylockran' lives here. I happen to pop up on a mailing list or a forum or IRC and you want to know more about me. Much of it is here. It's a bit like 'CV 2.0.' The web is my field - if I don't market myself well on the web, how the hell can I expect anyone to be able to trust me to market their products on the web?
The best thing about it for me is the feedback, both positive and negative. Setting up a blog exposes you to both - and it gives you the opportunity to have a voice.