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It occurred to me that if I could ask every blogger one thing, I’d ask them what they were hoping to accomplish with their blogs, and how I – or anyone else – could help them get there.

Now I realize those are tough questions to answer, so I’ve tried to break it down into several questions so that your blog readers can get info to help them help you.

This post is really the start of a meme. If you want to participate, copy the questions below and answer them in your blog, and link back to this post.

Questions:

1. What do you envision your blog as doing for you? (i.e. are you working on a podcast show you want to get started? Do you just want more friends? Are you aiming to make money? etc.)

2. Where do you think your blog is at now in its state of existence? (i.e. discuss your traffic, or whether you’re doing a good job of interacting with other bloggers, etc.)

3. What has trying to get an audience on the Internet taught you?

  • http://inrethinking.blogspot.com ashok

    I’ll answer this meme here rather than my own blog to get an example going:

    1. What do you envision your blog as doing for you?

    I grew up with people telling me that the subjects I was interested in were useless. Political science was a joke major, and old books had nothing to say about the world, and boy did I get hammered during college for not doing anything practical. At least grad school kept people from bugging me about what I was studying, because I think I was regarded as a lost cause by that point.

    I’m working on my doctorate, but it’s not going to mean much unless people respect what I do. I think that there’s ample opportunity for that respect on the Internet, now that people are learning the hard way that they just can’t start a blog or podcast or post comments and be as eloquent or thoughtful even as many of the losers on TV or radio are. I want to jump in on the newfound humility and start showing that the useless things I study are useless on purpose: that learning how to speak for yourself or think rigorously through what is best is never useful to anyone else, and not even useful to oneself. Rather, it is prerequisite to having any concept of what is useful – if you don’t know what is good and how to articulate it, how could you ever know to do anything practical to advance that good?

    2. Where do you think your blog is at now in its state of existence?

    My blog is where it needs to be content wise. If I stopped blogging now, I’d be happy. Two commentaries on Lincoln’s speeches showing how thoughtful and eloquent he was – those alone are a blueprint for where political change should aim, and they make everyone who reads them that much better. But I’m proud of the posts on Jefferson, Emily Dickinson, Keats and Auden too. I think I’ve accomplished a lot in my blog.

    I’m really just waiting for the audience to come. I realize not every post is perfect and that most of my posts are really dense or problematically written. I don’t care, and I’m not saying that to be snotty. For the amount I’m giving, the audience is overdue, and that’s actually a comforting thought – I feel like I’ve done something, and I’m happy with it.

    3. What has trying to get an audience on the Internet taught you?

    It’s taught me to not worry about criticism – my skin’s a lot thicker nowadays. People who can barely spell their own names have told me that Frost couldn’t possibly be in dialogue with Dante, or that I take Plato’s theory of forms too seriously, etc. For a while, I was inclined to take criticism like this really seriously, until I realized that very few people compliment each other on here. I suspect the reason why blogs about blogging are so successful is because those bloggers care to give compliments far more than criticism.

    I’m not saying I’m immune to criticism. I just look for it from sources I trust, and I think that’s a good lesson for everyone on the Net to learn. It’s amazing how bad we’ll feel because a complete stranger is pretending to be smarter than us, and how neglectful we’ll be of people close to us who are critical and actually know what they’re talking about. We need to be more sensible about criticism generally, I think, and this is a good place to learn those lessons.

  • http://inrethinking.blogspot.com ashok

    I should clarify the expression “that much better” above, that sounds way too arrogant – all I mean is that they can show a whole other way of engaging politics, one where not every politician is scum, and perhaps demonstrate that cynicism is not the default attitude we should bring to political life.

  • http://zardozz.com/zz/ ZZ Bachman

    ashok… Very well written and insightful. I have my own perspectives on blogging. In some ways it’s the quintessential blank slate of modern times IMHO. When Andy Warhol had said back in the 60′s or early 70′s, something to the effect of “everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame” the internet in some ways has made that a reality. Self publishing can be a powerful vehicle for expressing one’s views with a certain amount of catharsis thrown in for good measure in the journey.

    Here is my tongue in cheek contribution to your request…

    1. What do you envision your blog as doing for you?
    It’s not what your blog can do for you, it’s what you can do for your blog!
    More importantly perhaps, what is your blog doing for others? If it causes one person a day to smile, ponder, think a bit deeper on a subject or idea, then you have affected someone’s neurons and that in itself is a rush. To not know that you have done so is part of the mysticism of the medium.

    2. Where do you think your blog is at now in its state of existence?
    The existential answer? It’s in the state of becoming, what it is destined to become. It is at any moment what it is. Nothing more and nothing less.

    3. What has trying to get an audience on the Internet taught you?
    Not to try… It’s like fishing. The act of fishing should in and of itself transcend the fact of catching fish. (Unless of course you earn a living at fishing :)) As a “blogger” or any writer, artist, or true musician that takes an idea to that “blank slate” can tell you, the art of what you do is the center… that others appreciate and acknowledge it is a nice happenstance.

    – ZZ

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