I Blog

Filed as Features on December 28, 2007 10:23 am

Recently, while on my back in the dentist chair having my teeth scraped and cleaned, my new hygienist asked me what I did for a living. I have my pat answers such as “web publishing”, “online media consultant”, “web consultant”, or the traditional and simple “writer”, but this time, a little twinge hit me.

In between the fingers in my mouth I said, “I blog.”

I think it came out “I blog”, which is what “I blog” would sound like with or without fingers in your mouth. Still, he sat back, removed his fingers and sharp instruments, looked at me oddly, and said, “You do what?”

“I blog.”

“Blog? Like those things on the Internet? Where people gossip and air their dirty laundry? Gossip, conspiracies, political babble, and such?”

“Um, not exactly like that, but exactly like that.”

“Really?”

“Yes. In fact, I’ve published a book about blogging.”

“Really?”

“Blogging is an amazing industry and communications tool.”

“Really? And what does your husband do?”

“Oh, he just works on airplanes. He’s a structural engineer. A representative of the FAA and specialist in commercial passenger plane to cargo plane conversions, among other things aircrafty. He likes to tell people he’s a glorified hole fixer.”

“Now that sounds interesting. How long has he been doing that? Where has he worked? Has he done military work…” and he was off with 400 questions about my husband’s work.

I never said another word about blogging.

Sound familiar?

Is Blogging Boring?

I don’t think blogging is boring. When I get together with other bloggers, we can’t stop talking about blogging. It’s all about the content, frustration with the backend of the program, Plugins, Themes, competition, comments, comment spam, content theft, page rank, Google, who wrote what about what and who, and who knows who, and how can we do X, Y, and Z. It’s a non-stop chat up.

Outside of bloggers, I stupefy people with my job description. Even if I say I’m a web consultant, they still find nothing to ask me and little interest in what I do. So I spend a lot of time asking them about what they do and talking about my husband’s more fascinating work.

Is blogging boring to other people? Or do they just not understand it? It is a little odd. You work hard, long hours, tied to the computer, and literally have nothing to show for it. There is no physical product, and for many bloggers, no boss nor office. Paychecks come in bits and pieces, not every two weeks on a predictable schedule. There is no benefits package. No health plans or insurance. We sit in front of our computers in our underwear anywhere in the world for hours on end, and we call it “work”.

When they ask what I blog about, if I say “technology” or “online communications”, that sometimes brings in a few questions, usually with questions about how to fix their computer ills. If I say “I blog about blogging”, conversations quickly end.

So what do you say when people ask you what you do and you choose to respond with “I blog”? And how do they respond?

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  1. By Megan posted on December 28, 2007 at 12:44 pm
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    Well, I don’t blog for a living, but it’s quite a hobby of mine. People who don’t blog definitely think blogging is weird. They say things like “So, you just write stuff and post it on the Internet?”

    Reply

  2. By John posted on December 28, 2007 at 2:33 pm
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    I get the same kind of response…

    Reply

  3. By Steve posted on December 29, 2007 at 1:47 am
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    That’s really odd… When I was at the dentist a couple of weeks ago, my blog came up too.

    I had a better experience though, since we talked more about the subject of what my blog was rather than “blogging” itself. (My blog features some humor stuff about the TV show “24″ that I write for Dave Barry’s blog, plus other TV topics that are only on my blog). I was surprised by the whole conversation, to say the least.

    Maybe it’s something about people that put their hands into someone else’s mouth that makes them want to talk about blogs. I’m not sure I want to test that theory though…

    Reply

  4. By pelf posted on December 29, 2007 at 2:22 am
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    Blogging isn’t boring to other people, but I do believe that blogging got its “bad name” from earlier bloggers who published nothing but online diaries and rumours and gossips, that’s why.

    If I’m not mistaken, niche blogging was only popular this year (or was it last year?) and before that, people tend to think that blogging was for under-aged girls to talk about their crushes and parties (!!!).

    Reply

  5. By Sheila at Family Travel posted on December 29, 2007 at 8:17 pm
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    Great post, Lorelle. It’s true; why is blogging so humdrum to so many of us and so far-out, bleeding-edge to others?

    Many of my fellow writers are just happy to have a Web site, and consider blogging a waste of time or too technically challenging.

    I think I’m so mainstream, and then find that others consider my work very techno-geek.

    Still, I just changed my business card to say “Writer and Blogger” because even though I think that writing is writing, so many others do not, and the card is for them not me.

    Reply

  6. By Andy C posted on December 31, 2007 at 2:48 am
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    Same here. The dentist was busy inflicting agony, digging around in my mouth with sharp implements and my mouth was numb.

    When he asked ‘So what do you do then ?’, I replied ‘I keep a blog’.

    However, the words came out wrong and he thought I said ‘I need the bog’.

    Reply

  7. By Thomas Sinfield posted on December 31, 2007 at 10:13 am
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    I don’t think its boring, I just think a lot of people who are not regular users of the internet know much about them.

    Reply

  8. By David Zemens posted on December 31, 2007 at 11:07 am
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    When I design a website for a business, I always suggest that they include a “blog” as part of their new site. However, I *never* use the word “blog” because their normal response is similar to that of your dentist.

    Rather, I tell them they need an online “recent news” page on their new site. Then their ears perk up and they become interested.

    I think it will take many more years before the term “blog” is better understood and accepted by many people.

    Reply

  9. By Jessi posted on December 31, 2007 at 7:05 pm
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    I don’t blog for a living either, so it’s easier to avoid for me…..I avoid it so much that I have completely avoided telling anyone I know in “real,” physical life that I blog. My online friends and contacts know, but outside of my boyfriend, the line is drawn there. I mean…what do I tell them? It’s bad enough when they ask what I do in my free time or inquire about my hobbies…and all I can think is “the internet,” because that’s where I spend the majority of time. *sigh* Oh well.

    Reply

  10. By Scot Herrick posted on January 1, 2008 at 7:07 pm
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    Saying “I blog” is like a cube dweller saying “I work” when asked what they do. Blogging is the medium, not the message.

    Lorelle writes to help others build an audience on the web. I write about career management for cubicle warriors.

    A structural engineer doesn’t mean anything, but a structural engineer who converts cargo planes to passenger planes now means something.

    “I blog” is not the right answer; it is no different than saying “I self-actualize.” What we do is the service we provide our readers.

    Reply

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  13. By Ayman posted on January 5, 2008 at 3:16 pm
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    I somehow agree with Scott, ‘i blog’ is too vague, and the focus should be on the service you provide, the kind of information you offer.

    Then again, it’s like saying I write, I’m a writer. Then they ask you what do you write about? So the normal reaction for ‘i blog’ should be what do you blog about? And you explain.

    Better just say ‘I blog about XYZ’ from the start and save the confusion

    Reply

  14. By Nneka | Spirituality Blog posted on January 5, 2008 at 9:08 pm
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    I get the same reaction. I’m on the Board of an organization and I’ve been trying to explain for three years the untapped communication and media outlet of a content driven website. They get that it’s important, but that’s about it. At least they get that much.

    When I tell folks at my day job, in an IT department mind you, that my hobby is blogging, I get blank stares and rolled eyes.

    The thing is that all those people get tons of information from blogs and they don’t even know that they’re on blogs. I think that’s a great thing.

    Maybe we bloggers should use terms that the rest of the world can understand. I’m a writer for a website. I’ll try that and see how it goes over.

    Thanks for asking the question.

    Cheers,
    Nneka

    Reply

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  16. By Jon posted on January 7, 2008 at 8:05 pm
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    I swear that this exact same thing happened to me this week. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give the hygienist any idea of what I write about, so I ended up stammering and blushing killing the conversation. She probably ended up thinking that I ran some sort of porn site.

    Reply

  17. When Not to Call Yourself a Blogger » Webmaster-SourceFebruary 29, 2008 at 5:29 am

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