Why we blog

(How I keep my sanity in check)

Just like air, blogging (or writing) is part of our lives now. Some blog for money. I don’t. At least, not in the immediate future. I started blogging when my daughter was born back in 2004. I live in the Philippines (yes, that country which carries the hashtag #itsmorefuninthephilippines). The Internet back then was full of mystique. As a journalist covering technology, blogging was a badge we wore. Why would a published journalist bother blogging? Later, debates about bloggers vs. journalism emerged, and dissipated.

I have met many people who blog for various reasons. I met Isaac Mao years ago. He is from the People’s Republic of China. A venture capitalist, social media expert, and software architect, he blogs a lot about technology and how people are using it. I also met Rebecca MacKinnon, a former CNN journalist who co-founded Global Voices Online, a blog network. Rebecca who advocates Internet freedom blogs a lot too. During her visit in Manila years back, she noted that people who blogged were usually the educated elite who had a lot to say about the society, politics, and whatnot. That was then.

Today, we have social media. Blogging has somehow taken a backseat, as people now express their ideas in 140 characters. From what they’ve eaten for breakfast to rants about traffic in the Metro, social media has somehow killed long-form expression of thoughts—which is in the form of a blog.

Blogging has become a profession for some. Today, we have media events where we often see bloggers covering. While some would argue that blogs are conduits of communication, blogging has been associated with the privilege vested on a few who know some technical know-how. We have professional bloggers who have mastered SEO and the “network-effect.” Bloggers have become the alternative media. Some mainstream media have embraced them. Some have not. But clearly, blogging has created a new set of independent publishers who also have independent agendas.

Why do we blog? Why do I blog? Blogs are tools for communication. As tools or vehicles to convey your message, blogs can be used or abused. Blogs like social media are human networks. There are millions, or even billions of them out there, trying to be heard. The purpose and motivation behind blogging vary. However, it is clear we, humans, need to communicate our ideas. We are also compelled to share these ideas. And in our connected world, ideas (the big ones) eventually get a lot of attention. We need to share ideas to stay connected with our family, our friends, our peers, or the universe.Without these ideas, we don’t gain knowledge, and later wisdom.

We blog because we also want to keep a record of our ideas. In the Internet, ideas live on for generations. And if they’re really good, they get shared and retweeted.

Finally, we blog because we’re human beings. We just need a venue to vent, to have fun, to connect, to comment, to help, to promote, or to even to make a difference.

Imagine a world without blogs. Isn’t that boring?