Why Bloggers Blog, and Why Some Don’t

Andrew Sullivan responds to David Dobbs quitting the Blogging Scene (he’ll still run his own smaller blog where he can blog less frequently, but he’s quitting the act of daily blogging at Seed Sci Blog).

Here’s Dobbs:

I say this recognizing that some … find no conflict between blogging and doing solid, admirably accomplished and serious work … Somehow they make the time to post posts that are well worth reading, that seem to enrich their own perspectives as much as they do the content of this site and blogdom, and (I trust and hope) still devote as much attention as they need and want to what I think of more lasting work, i.e., the stuff requiring ink. (I can hear the cyber-howls coming already …) The Web is a better, more interesting, and more truly informing place for their efforts…

So it works for them – seems too, anyway, and I hope appearances here do not deceive. Yet somehow, for the most part, it doesn’t work for me. My time has never felt more finite, and there inevitably seems something either more pressing or more lastingly valuable to devote it to: a story due, a book to develop, a child to read to, a son’s baseball game to attend, a pile of books to read before I die: the hope and desire, as reader and writer, to create the sort of experience so clearly had by the man in Wayne Booth’s painting (held by me above), titled “Man Reading.”

Here’s Andrew:

I very much worry about the same thing. Matt Drudge once insisted to me a central fact of the Internet: it’s a broadcast, not a piece of writing … Producing a book while blogging was almost impossible. It wasn’t so much the time (though that was hard); it was the very different mindset needed when you sit down to write something that you hope will last a few years and something that you know will only last a few hours.

But the web keeps bringing you back to the punchy and the immediate and the fun. One day, I hope to stop this pace and spend a few years reading and writing again. But not yet. It’s too interesting to quit right now.

It is certainly a phenomena, Blogging. And those of us who take it up must have a certain affinity for that mixture of what blogging is: a creature lurking somewhere “between journalism and radio”. It’s like letter writing to no one in particular and everyone on earth at the same time. That’s much of the appeal.


Of course, like all endeavors, it comes with a draw back or two. Namely, it’s daily nature means that there are no real breaks. I’m lucky, I run a personal site, and can take time off whenever I need to, but Professional Bloggers like Sullivan and Dobbs HAVE TO update daily (and multiple times a day), as it’s now their job.

If one has aspirations to write a book, or move in another literary direction, and still continue with the fast paced world of blogging, they may indeed find it hard to manage.

I’m a full time student of Mathematics, I’m a Musician, I’m working on my second book of Poetry, am in the middle of Filming, and am writing a new Play. Adding Blogging to the mix makes life a bit of a struggle. (I’m a work-a-holic, and I’d find myself this busy no matter what I chose … I suspect Andrew is the same).

But blogging comes with a certain level of instant gratification that these other pursuits don’t have (they have their own appeal). It is it’s own entity, it’s own field, and as such stands alone. Blogging allows one to engage the world directly and indirectly all at once, making whispers that ripple into tsunami’s and generating great waves that fast dissolve into trickles. We Bloggers are part of a larger conversation in a virtual coffee shop where great ideas and diatribes and silliness abound. It is a world defined by flux and a distinct volatility.

I am proud to be a part of a burgeoning new form of information distribution, and I can’t imagine giving that up. Besides, since I’ve started blogging, my spelling ability has increased dramatically!






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