My Blog is a Resource For Me. Is It?

Filed as Features on January 11, 2008 11:15 am

“My blog is a resource for me.”

My mind raced when I had a blogger tell me this recently. What should I say? He’s right. His blog is a resource for him and his needs. He’s also wrong. There is something about a blog that he’s overlooked: A blog is a published form of communication.

A blog isn’t a notebook. It isn’t a scratch paper for you and your ideas. Once you hit publish, it’s out there, visible, searchable, findable – where all the eyes of the world have the potential to read it. Are you sure you want people reading the equivalent of what you used to scratch on a paper napkin?

A blog is a form of communication. Communication means sharing, exchange, interaction, connecting with more than just you talking to yourself. A blog can get a response.

Your blog is not a resource for you. Sure, you may think that, and treat it accordingly, but a blog is not a place you can store your notes to come back to and remember how to add a Gravatar to your blog. There are bookmarking services for that.

A blog is a device through which you can create a dialog, share information, ask questions, get answers, give answers, and show the world what you know, and what you don’t know.

The right thing to say is: My blog is a resource for my readers.

It puts the emphasis back where it belongs. On the publishing and communicating. Keep your notes in a notebook for reference. Share your thoughts, opinions, advice, and expertise with the world.

Tags:

This post was written by

You can visit the for a short bio, more posts, and other information about the author.

Submissions & Subscriptions

Submit the post to Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg or Del.icio.us.

Did you like it? Then subscribe to our RSS feed!



  1. Blogging for Readers @ chrisg.comJanuary 11, 2008 at 6:37 am
  2. By David LaFerney posted on January 11, 2008 at 9:56 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    With all due respect Lorelle, people blog for all kinds of reasons. Some people are able to be creative with no concern for the wants or needs of others. Other artists play to the audience. Andy Warhol could probably have blogged his grocery list and someone would’ve considered it to be art.

    Reply

  3. MY blog is a resource for MEJanuary 11, 2008 at 10:39 am
  4. By Eric posted on January 11, 2008 at 11:20 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I tend to agree with David. It depends on the type of blog you want. I have a personal blog that I only post what I want. I don’t really care if only 2 people ever visit. It is just mainly put up for fun and learning.

    But then again I have some business blogs that should follow this advice.

    Reply

  5. By Su posted on January 11, 2008 at 12:48 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    The fact that you are allowed to read someone’s site does not give you the power to decide that site’s purpose.

    It may ultimately turn out to be a resource for the readers also but to summarily decide that that is the inherent goal of all blogs everywhere is presumptuous in the extreme.

    Reply

  6. By Lorelle VanFossenL posted on January 11, 2008 at 1:28 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Actually, as a reader of blogs, it’s part of my nature to judge blogs. Don’t you? :D However, as I said in the beginning of my article, this person was right and wrong, depending upon where you want to take your blog.

    If you are a personal blogger and SEO and audience doesn’t matter, then either make it private or don’t whine when you get no comments nor readers.

    As an educator on blogging, I’m constantly begged for tips on how to get more readers and improve SEO on blogs with the core belief that their blog is about ME not the readers. Turn it around and you blog differently.

    If SEO and building readership is important, the readers must be a big part of the package in your blog’s purpose and content. This doesn’t mean you aren’t blogging for your needs and passion, it means you are now considering who reads.

    Reply

  7. By Brian Carnell posted on January 11, 2008 at 1:47 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    “Your blog is not a resource for you. Sure, you may think that, and treat it accordingly, but a blog is not a place you can store your notes to come back to and remember how to add a Gravatar to your blog. There are bookmarking services for that.”

    My blog is, in fact, just a notebook for me. A lot of other people find it useful, which is cool, but I only write it for me.

    “If SEO and building readership is important, the readers must be a big part of the package in your blog’s purpose and content. This doesn’t mean you aren’t blogging for your needs and passion, it means you are now considering who reads.”

    I really don’t agree with this at all either. People need to let go of their obsession with traffic. Following all the nonsensical SEO suggestions out there generally leads people to create cookie-cutter blogs that are far worse than if they would just write their blog for themselves in their own voice.

    Reply

  8. By Su posted on January 11, 2008 at 1:57 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Actually, as a reader of blogs, it’s part of my nature to judge blogs. Don’t you?

    Judging a blog is saying, “This sucks/rules.” You are presuming to tell people what their blogs are. Don’t play at them being the same thing.

    However, as I said in the beginning of my article, this person was right and wrong

    No, they are right, period; it is their blog to define. Or are you going to accept my now proclaiming that this blog is really about baseball?

    If you are a personal blogger and SEO and audience doesn’t matter, then either make it private or don’t whine when you get no comments nor readers.

    You’re assuming people are even allowing comments, want readers and will whine when they don’t get things they may not care about.
    You’re now also presuming to tell them that lack of consideration for those things requires privacy. That is a separate consideration. It is entirely plausible to publish out in the open with no particular regard for potential readers.
    You will note I did not say “audience.” There is a sad assumption rampant on the net that just because you can read something, you are its target audience, which of course assumes a target in the first place.

    As an educator on blogging, I’m constantly begged for tips

    That’s called a self-selecting group. The people who don’t care about the things you cite don’t need or want you.

    Turn it around and you blog differently.

    And it’s not allowed to turn it back around and blog the other way?

    If SEO and building readership is important[…]

    You, not I, placed an “if” at the beginning of that sentence.

    Reply

  9. By Andy C posted on January 11, 2008 at 3:22 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I couldn’t disagree more.

    I started my blog as an experiment. Two years on I am staggered it is still going. Why, sometimes, I read back old articles and laugh at my own jokes.

    If any other person happens to read, comment or subscribe, then that is great but purely secondary.

    Reply

  10. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on January 11, 2008 at 10:44 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    @Su:

    It’s clear you feel strongly about this issue. I do hope you are writing about it on your blog. Thanks for your input on the issue.

    Reply

  11. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on January 11, 2008 at 10:52 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    @Brian Carnell:

    I don’t agree that SEO tends to make cookie-cutter blogs, but I totally agree that bloggers need to write in their own voice and words. That’s first and foremost important for me.

    Yes, bloggers need to let go of the obsession with traffic. I agree totally.

    I just want people to remember, when you hit publish, it’s about who sees it. Where you go from there is up to you. I like to think about who I’m writing for as that serves my blog purpose.

    Serious bloggers whose income is dependent upon blogging aren’t all traffic watching obsessive compulsive nuts. They care about who comes to their blog, who returns, and how to keep them coming back, thus, they think about their readers before they hit publish, publishing their passionate words in their own voice and style.

    I don’t want to be a selfish blogger. I want to be a caring blogger.

    Reply

  12. By Julie Z posted on January 12, 2008 at 8:46 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I think that a blog is a little bit of both. It is for you as it does reflects your thoughts and opinions of the moment and you can use this to reflect upon in the future and it is for others as well as they too may have similar (or opposing) thoughts and opinions on the same subject.

    Its kind of like a conversation that does not require reciprocation. You in front of the whoever can find you put your self out there. We choose to read and ignore, Read and just contemplate, or read and react as I am doing now.

    Reply

  13. By angelo posted on January 13, 2008 at 4:15 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I disagree. My site is a place for my own notes, and I’m not trying to use it as a place for communication. Well, maybe a little bit. But that is a completely orthogonal issue to copying text from the Internet and just reposting it. That’s what bookmarks are for. And a blog is just another CMS… there’s nothing really special about a “blog” except the marketing term. It’s my site, my web space, and if I want it to be, it’s a resource for me. If you happen to find it useful, great.

    Reply

  14. Inspiration from Laurelle VanFossen. « DIARY BLOGSJanuary 13, 2008 at 7:25 am
  15. By Arab Aquarius posted on January 13, 2008 at 6:33 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I strongly disagree with you Lorelle. What you described in your post is merely a type of blog, however not all blogs are for that pirpose of communication and dialog or even interaction. A blog CAN be a sort of personal (public) diary. I know some popular entertainment blogs that even disabled comments and there is minimal communication, yet the blog is a very popular one ( http://www.pinkisthenewblog.com ).

    Some blogs might offer the expertise of the blogger in certain fields by giving tips or info to the readers in return of displaying ads and getting revenue. Some blogs are like a magazine where you go read an article or watch entertainment and not necesserially communicate.

    My point is that there are many types of blogs and bloggers, many types of motivations; that it is very wrong for you to try to make them all adher to a strict definition like yours. The web and the blogs are all about being flexible and breaking traditional boundaries. And yes a blog in many cases is the Blogger’s resource, be it money resource, an outlet to write, or to yes, communicate.

    Reply

  16. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on January 13, 2008 at 8:36 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    @Arab Aquarius:

    I’m missing something here. I am not defining what type of blog should be a blog. I’m saying that if you are going to publish anything on a blog, give a thought to the reader, because a blog is about “publishing” not privacy.

    Your motivation for blogging can be anything, but you blog because you want someone to read.

    Reply

  17. By Su posted on January 14, 2008 at 3:35 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    because a blog is about “publishing” not privacy.

    The only person here who has brought up the matter of privacy is you. You understand that “private” and “I don’t care who reads this” have nothing to do with each other, right? In fact, they can’t: one’s privacy negates the ignored reader and vice versa. The reader is assumed and accepted; the problem is your granting the reader supremacy.

    Not a single person has questioned that blogs are about publishing; the disagreement is over your assertion that blogs must be two-way communication, and not only for the readers you are forcing the person to consider, but not for themselves. That is, diplomatically, absurd.

    It should also be pointed out here that notebooks, scratchpads and resources for the writer are precisely what research blogs are. People’s theses and dissertations are pretty much by definition on topics only of interest to them; how could they possibly put the reader first?

    Reply

  18. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on January 14, 2008 at 10:10 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    @Su:

    Good points. And the answer to the question:

    By hitting the publish button, somewhere in the back of the minds or front, they are thinking that this will be read.

    As I said in the beginning of the article, the “selfish” blogger is right. A blog is their resource and all about them. However, let’s never forget that the importance of a blog is that it is read. A notebook in your drawer might never be read by others.

    When you hit the publish button, you have a responsibility for that content that is different from writing in a notebook or diary. It’s published. This changes things. Good or bad, that’s up to the readers and the laws upon published content.

    If you aren’t thinking about who reads, which is an odd claim, then why blog? Blogging is about being read. It’s about being found. For many, it’s about the conversation, it’s about being linked to, and talked about. It may not be the sole purpose, but publishing a blog is about making your thoughts, ideas, and concepts public.

    That means read.

    It’s not wrong and I’m not saying there is only one way to blog. I’m saying that if you blog, remember, you are publishing and publishing is about being read.

    Reply

  19. Why Are You Really Blogging? And What Keeps You Blogging? : The Blog HeraldJanuary 22, 2008 at 5:17 am
  20. Weekly Digest: Writing About Writing, Working on Books, Lots of Speaking Gigs, and Blog Struggles is a Success « Lorelle on WordPressJanuary 24, 2008 at 12:40 pm
  21. Why is Your Blog Unsuccessful? « Lorelle on WordPressMay 18, 2008 at 5:07 am
  22. By Cathy posted on June 18, 2008 at 12:03 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    I’m reading this as I’m in the middle of setting up a personal blog and a link took me here.

    My blog is exactly and precisely for myself: to write what I want to write…if others want to read it, great. If they don’t, that won’t bother me one bit. But why on earth would I do it at all if it weren’t for me?!

    Apparently blogging is supposed to be a numbers game. Well, count me out of that one.

    Reply

  23. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on June 18, 2008 at 12:24 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    @Cathy:

    Good luck with your blog, and after you have been doing this for a while, you will understand the difference between a blog and a diary. If it is only about you, it’s a diary and doesn’t need to be published. If you have even the tiniest interest in sharing yourself with the world through a blog, then it’s about publishing and about being read. Otherwise, you’d just type on a computer or write in a journal for no one else to see.

    That publish button on your blog carries a responsibility. It means you are responsible for what you publish, which means others will see it.

    Most beginning bloggers feel the same as you do. I hope the responsibility of what “publish” means will come to you sooner than others. It will come. Just give it time. :D And have fun with this.

    Blogging is not about a numbers game. It is about blogging your passion and finding success in blogging, whatever that means. For me, if I make one to ten people happy and answer their questions a day, I’m thrilled. For others, they thrive on thousands of visitors clicking advertising links to pay their bills. Everyone has their own definition of success, and that is another one you will have to find for yourself.

    There are so many exciting lessons ahead for you. Enjoy the whole process.

    Reply

  24. By Cathy posted on June 19, 2008 at 6:04 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    Well, I’ve already done a lot of writing. I don’t see that writing for me means writing about me.

    Far from it. My blog will have bridge, chess, knitting, food, politics, cups of tea in it at the very least – because that’s what I want. It won’t bother me one hoot if other people don’t read it, though I’d be rather surprised if that is the case.

    But now that you mention it, I would have thought a diary is exactly the nature of a blog. A ‘blog’ that isn’t a diary is just something that is called a blog but is actually a website devoted to a subject but using blog software. It’s like other people have taken hold of the idea of the blog and tried to turn it into something other than a diary, an internet account of one’s life.

    As for the idea that diaries shouldn’t be published. Consider that vicarious observation of other peoples’ lives is an insidious exploitation of modern communication. Those appalling Big Brother sorts of shows. Video cam websites – ‘hey everybody, this is me shaving under my arms’ (I’m guessing here, only having read about them, but I believe people even pay to see that sort of thing). The point here being that there is enormous demand for ‘diaries’ of people’s lives, whether in the form of pretend lives on TV shows, travelogues by backpackers or….

    Blogs are a fantastic way of countering the superficial empty content of such media.

    What a buzz that it turns out there are literate people all over the world who get to make intelligent observations about this and that – ANYTHING. Even if their observations are limited to their own life’s experiences it doesn’t mean they don’t have universal application.

    In the end it is a numbers game: like everything on the internet, if only a few percent of blogs were worthwhile that is still a big number. And the ones you think not ‘worthwhile’ will be ones that might please a tiny number of people in the world: friends/family. That is enough! A blog doesn’t have to do any more than that.

    Reply

  25. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on June 19, 2008 at 8:25 pm
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    @Cathy:

    Good points. I didn’t say diaries should remain private. My point was that if you are not writing for readers, and only for yourself, then remember that everything you publish is permanent on the web. If you aren’t thinking about who will read this, now or twenty years from now, before you hit the publish button, you may regret it. Don’t publish what you will regret. :D

    Reply

  26. By Cathy posted on June 20, 2008 at 2:55 am
    Want an avatar? Get a gravatar! • You can link to this comment

    How true is that. At the best of times one may regret what one has written – for me I will never forget writing a biog of myself for the back cover of a book…having written such things a million times straight and sober I went for something that was plain frivilous – and worst of all for the cover of a book which was an earnest look at a sad subject. I bullied the publisher into printing it on the basis that they had forced upon me a terrible title for the book.

    So, if one can make such an error of judgement with all the time in the world to come to one’s senses, the pitfalls of the press of a button in internet publishing are really too dreadful to contemplate!

    Reply

    Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. If this is the first time you're posting a comment, it might go into moderation. Don't worry, it's not lost, so there's no need to repost it! We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it please.

    Current ye@r *