Friday 27 July 2012

Blogging: What the heck are we all doing?

I sit down and write a posting. You sit down and write a posting. She does it. He does it. They do it too. Who's reading? Does it matter? Does it matter if what's important is the writing? But where is any of this going and what exactly does it mean to me? Or to you? Or to her, him, or them?

The big eternal ever reaching existential question: Why? Pourquoi? ¿Por qué? Warum? Kwa nini?

Some of us sit down daily and pump out a couple of hundred words or in some cases a couple of thousand. Some of us do it once a week. Some of us wait for that singular moment of inspiration when our fanciful muse decides to lead us to the keyboard.

Our topics are varied. It can be something personal: an anecdote, a distant memory from the past, or even a current trial by fire. It can come from the news: politics, current events, or the odd and humorous. It can be about our life: marriage, children, family, or even the dissolution of said family. Finally, the tone can be serious or funny in the form of a personal observation or a detailed well referenced in-depth look at said topic.

However what is the point? What's the plan? Where is any of this leading or is there some Zen-like mystical aspect to the process which explains why any of us do it? As the Chinese proverb states, "the journey is the reward", and in this case, the journey is the writing?

I always looked upon writing as the exclusive domain of the professional writer. How could a humble lowly scribbler like myself ever hope to string together in any sort of logical order the hundred thousand words of a normal length book and get somebody at one of the major publishing houses to consider looking at it even if it was to prop up a leg to stabilize a wobbly table?

A couple of years ago, I looked at a blog for the first time in my life. Somebody wrote this? Wait. Ha ha. I mean did somebody like me write this? Just your ordinary run of the mill everyday person? I became very intrigued by the idea of scribbling my thoughts. It had never occurred to me to write and I had no knowledge whatsoever of blogging and the self-publishing of one's own essays, musing and personal reflections for the entire world to see.

On May 31, 2010, I wrote the first entry of this blog and the rest as they say is history, well my history as this is a drop in the proverbial bucket in the great vastness of the worldwide blogosphere. As I look around me, I see scores, no hundreds, no thousands, no tens of thousands of people all doing the same thing: writing. It isn't a question of who's reading, it's a question of writing. It's the writing of the mundane, the insignificant and minutiae of our lives. It may be important to many or it may be important to only a few but it is important to each one of us who writes.

Royal Pingdom - Jan 17/2012
Internet 2011 in numbers
39 million – The number of Tumblr blogs by the end of 2011.
70 million – Total number of WordPress blogs by the end of 2011.
(What? No count of Google Blogger where I am ensconced?)

Royal Pingdom - Jan 16/2013
Internet 2012 in numbers
87.8 million – The number of Tumblr blogs by the end of 2012.
exact number not given – Total number of WordPress blogs by the end of 2012.
(What? Still no count of Google Blogger?)

Wow, that's a lot of blogs. They represent a lot of words. That's a lot of people writing God only knows what and it begs the question: who's reading any of this stuff? The same stats state that there are 2.1 billion Internet users worldwide. By my calculation, that means for every one of the 70 million WordPress blogs, there are 29 readers. (2.1 billion divided by 70 million is 30 so I'm saying one person is the writer and 29 people are the readers.) Of course, each reader could be reading more than one blog and not all blogs would even have 29 readers. I'm estimating that my blog has at most two readers so it stands to reason that other blogs have some of my remaining 27. Hmmm, yeah, like Dooce has hogged how big of a chunk of the pie? Ha ha. I should be so lucky. Then again, considering how I am eclectic if not eccentric in my choice of topics with a male perspective to the world, I can in no way compete with Heather Thompson queen of the mommy bloggers. (Unless I start writing 50 Shades type of stuff. That has turned out to be a good way of connecting with mommies.)

Royal Pingdom - Apr 11/2012
WordPress completely dominates top 100 blogs
WordPress is in use by 48% of the top 100 blogs in the world. This is an increase from the 32% we recorded three years ago.

I've been using Google Blogger but if you ask me why, I'm not sure. I think it was random chance that led me to it and I haven't changed, I probably won't change out of inertia. I pay little attention to the look per se concentrating on the content. The stats services I get seem good enough so I see no compelling reason to upend my blogging life by migrating to another platform.

Making Money
I make no money blogging. Some people do. Heather Thompson of Dooce makes a living blogging and there are a few others. Nevertheless those are the exceptions to the rule and the vast majority of bloggers are like me, writing for the sake of writing and unconcerned about any monetary reward. I suppose it's odd when you think about it. If any one of us put in as much effort trying to make money, how much better off would we be? Seriously, if I stopped writing and took up some extra work, doing some consulting for instance, how much better off would I be financially at the end of the year?

It's another question to be begged. Just why the heck are all of us putting in countless hours writing stuff that very few people at the end of the day read? What is the point? Yeah, yeah, back to that Zen thing of the journey is the reward but at some point I need, we all need a reward to pay the bills. Then again, maybe you have all your bills covered and have arrived at that metaphysical and financial pinnacle of just how much money does anybody need to be happy? After you've purchased the big honking flat screen TV and paid the cable with the movie package, all you need is enough to cover a basic microwave to do your popcorn. Life is good.

Final Word
I haven't got the foggiest idea of where any of this is going. Are you going to come back in five years and find me still blathering away about God only knows what? I've heard people say that blogging is therapeutic so maybe I am using this writing outlet as a substitute for getting psychoanalysed. [Said in a German accent] "Vould you like to lie auf der Couch?"


Wikipedia: Pingdom
Pingdom is a service that tracks the uptime, downtime, and performance of websites. Based in Sweden, Pingdom monitors websites from multiple locations globally so that it can distinguish genuine downtime from routing and access problems.

Pingdom has a very strong and narrow focus. That focus lies on covering the uptime monitoring needs of 90% of the companies in the world. Instead of branching out into other areas, we will instead place all our efforts into maintaining the best uptime monitoring service available.

Royal Pingdom
Ramblings from the Pingdom team about the Internet and web tech

Books / Writing
Between the covers, between the lines
NaNoWriMo: My 30, ah, 18 days of writing madness
NaNoWriMo: Are you out of your freakin' mind?
NaNoWriMo: Hopeful or hopeless?
NaNoWriMo and an inspiring author: Dean Wesley Smith
Book Trailers
November: It was a dark and stormy night...
One Million Words
Blogging: Using Google as a research tool
Blogging: Does crossposting increase traffic?
Writing for Blogging for Money for a Living
Kindle E-books Overtake Paper Books
Writing: Stories in tweets
Blogging: Just another drop in the bucket
Dean Wesley Smith: Dean of Star Trek
Gay male romance for women
Amanda Hocking: indie author goes viral maybe this doesn't help writers
Holly Lisle: before I'm 25, I want to write a book.
Writing: November Challenges
NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month
Assembly Line Writing: churning it out
James Patterson: some don't like me, many more do
Writing: Less is more: the drabble
NaNoWriMo: Write a novel in 1 month?
On Writing by Stephen King


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1 comment:

BigLittleWolf said...

Pffft ! Et je répète : pffft!

Like most, I also make not-a-dime pursuing this, yet it is mental exercise I seem to require, and dialog that has become extraordinarily rewarding.

C'est pas trop affreux, n'est-ce pas ?

And your blather, sir, is divine.

Pffft ! (Une troisieme fois... just because.)