Selfish Act: Blogging

A couple of years ago I impulsively blurted out the fact that Blogging is an inherently selfish act. This occured about 2 feet in front of James Keller, who at the time was working at YRG. This elicited a shrug and perhaps a bit of a sneer, because this of course could have been construed as a criticism of a sort.

I said it again today, over a beer with David Burn, who roundly challenged me on the point. I realized that of course that I hadn’t really thought through what I was trying to say, and I was startlingly close to the yawning precipice. Though still driven by the same undefined belief, I needed to think fast.  Thus ensued an interesting conversation on the nature of what we’re all doing blogging…

Things have changed for everyone in the last couple of years.  Blogging is ever more prevalent and an accepted outlet for many. But I still feel we are all in some way “selfish” in what we are doing. It now just becomes a matter of defining selfish, as it may mean vastly different things depending on who you ask.

(I want to challenge the reader to keep an open mind here on the term “selfish”. I don’t mean it in the common “what’s good for me over all others” kind of definition, but more the “pointed at the self” kind of read… If you have a better term, I’d love to hear it.)

Blogging has become micro-blogging, and we all jostle for position on Twitter’s many access points as we go through our day. What are the different motivations that drive us? Some of us seem to want to share the nice sunset we saw, or that a certain deli has the killer reuben. Others are more direct, dropping product names or @handle-ing to show we are in among the Twitterati… Some just provide such waves and waves of value that I feel I will never be able to keep up (Amber and Bram, I am talking about you)

I blog here, so I get to bloviate, and to think once in a while. I bet you do too. It also gives me a buzz if someone actually reads it. (Thanks Mom…)

What seems clear is that there is an entire spectrum of motivations and styles, likely as individual as we all are. What is left though is an interesting view into motivation.

What drives you online? Why do you do this? What is your motivation? What is in it for your self, online or otherwise ?

Let’s circle our desks and spend the rest of the hour in discussion.

2 Responses to Selfish Act: Blogging

  1. @JeanAnnVK October 4, 2008 at 4:39 am #

    As you know, I have three blogs (which must make me positively egotistical! 🙂 ) and though they are hard to keep up with at times, I love expressing myself creatively and I ADORE it when people leave comments…

    In a virtual world where we really don’t have a physical body to mark our spot, our blogs function as our marker. It is much different than a static website (more like a business card) in that we update and interact with those around us.

    So, unless you are in Second Life, you really don’t have a “YOU” out “THERE”…and maybe even with Second Life…which is fantasy land…your blog is your shot at authenticity in a way that I am not even sure is possible in real life. I mean, it cuts away the bullshit of the day to day and gets right down to what’s on the table…and the chances of building a community based on WHO YOU REALLY ARE seems to me to be higher.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that comment sections in blogs are also a great place to be WHO YOU REALLY ARE! Great discussion!

  2. Zane Safrit October 4, 2008 at 5:26 am #

    Blogging like all self-expression or creative acts is selfish. I can’t think of any blogger who’s forced to blog with the proverbial or metaphorical gun-to-the-head.

    Having said that, the selfishness is what’s shared universally. It’s part of that which connects bloggers to their audience. The ‘I’ that’s expressing is understood/empathized/identified by the ‘I’ that’s reading.

    And it grows from there with good content, useful content, insightful content, amusing content…content that expands our world just a bit, horizontally or vertically.

    It’s why bloggers and our community are a bit impatient when we sense dishonesty or inauthentic content or authors, stealth bloggers, etc. This (warning: going maudlin now) very unique and precious tool that allows us to connect with a lot of people by sharing common experiences…should not be abused by those who can’t or won’t be honest. And we can’t let them ruin this ‘moment’ for us.

    Yeah. Blogging’s selfish. And isn’t it great.

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