Every blogger has asked themselves this question: Who do I write for? Especially new bloggers with no or few readers. When you have been around in the edubloggersphere as long as I have, you periodically see the same type of questions and reflections around this question pop up. There is talk about the stress of producing a certain quantity and quality blog posts. Who is receiving regular or no comments, Whose blog posts is being re-tweeting? Who is being responded to from edubloggersphere gurus, who is IN and who is OUT? Who is being listened to and who is being ignored? and on and on and on…
I believe that this is a valid conversation and discussion. Those are thoughts that most bloggers have or will be confronted with at one point or another. I don’t think that there is a right or wrong answer to those questions. It seems to depend on your personality, the purpose of your blog and the intended audience. When Scott McLeod says in his blog post Reclaiming my Blog that
The interesting thing to me is that I’ve missed it, that I actually have felt sad that I haven’t been posting more
He is reclaiming his blog and his writing for himself, not for his readers or potential feedback. He misses writing. I think that is the point.
If you start out with writing… because you want to be recognized by others…you want to be heard… you want to be on the inside…the only satisfaction you’ll receive from writing, is seeing the impact you make for others through their comments… looks like a lot of stress…since you have no control over the rest of the bloggersphere wave… You never know where it is going to wash ashore… one week it is your blog post… another week it will be someone else’s…
So, ask yourself: WHO do YOU write for?
- I write for myself, because I enjoy writing.
- I want to practice writing in order to get better at doing it.
- I blog because I want to have a record of my thoughts, my learning process, and resources that I find.
All of this I do for me, not for an audience. There are reasons I write and post for others though:
- to share resources
- bounce ideas of other educators who are thinking and reflecting about the same kind of things as I am
- make connections and communicate with others around the world, in order to remember multiple points of view and perspectives
Once you have regular readers, it seems inevitable that your audience places a certain expectation on the quality and frequency of your post. It also seems inevitable that some readers will expect you to answer their comments immediately and will get upset when you do not have an answer or time to respond to them. Each one of us has to negotiate with themselves how much you are going to allow “your readers” dictate who you are, how much time you will dedicate to blogging, and how much emphasis you are going to allow to be placed on ranking, numbers of comments and posts.
You have to make a conscious decision of remembering who you are and why you started blogging in the first place. Vicki Davis so eloquently says it in a repost to a comment left on Dangerously Irrelevant Blog
I for one, cannot live with the stress of feeling I’m in a perpetual horse race, I’m just going to live and let blog.”
I wrote this post to put my thoughts down, to help me remember why I blog, and maybe to help a new blogger start thinking, reading and reflecting about some of these issues before their start getting frustrated and feeling left out.