Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Who Do You Blog For?

This post is adapted from my comment in this post.

For some reasons, people like hypothetical and dichotomous questions. In other words, we always enjoy discussing and debating questions such as "Given options A and B, what would you choose?".

There is a golden example which I am sure everyone is familiar with. I believe that at some stage, someone in a romantic relationship is bound to ask his / her partner:

Given your family (or relationship) and your career, what would you choose?
Another similar question is,
Between myself and your mum, who would you choose?
I am not sure about others, but I have always disliked this kind of this-or-that questions. Those questions simplify life into two black-and-white options, and while they are good for setting people to think about goals and priorities, there's never going to be a good answer to them. It's not as if there's a two-way on-off switch that must turns on one option and turns off the other. Different scenarios call for different decisions, and in each case, the two options are never mutually exclusive.

But still, some people enjoy a simplistic approach to this issue, and judge others (even their own partner) based on their answer to those questions. I find that a bit disheartening.

On an unrelated note, when it comes to blogging, there is a popular dichotomous question:
"Do you blog for yourself or your readers?"
There are some pretty polarised views regarding this issue. While some people pretty much take their blog as a personal sanctuary and care not about the readers; some people spend lots of effort crafting posts which cater to the readers' need, sometimes at the expense of their personal interests.

My personal answer to this question is, "it depends…" To put it shortly, I would say it depends on what you write the blog for, and how you derive gratification when you blog. :)

For some people blogging is simply a kind of emotional catharsis or a personal habit, and for them the readers’ number and responses are not in the back of their mind - in that they can simply "blog for themselves".

For some other people, while essentially their blogs remain as personal chronicles, a big part of satisfaction comes from the readership, the interaction between reader and themselves, the satisfaction of readers etc. In that case “writing for the readers” would indeed be of high priority.

So, should the readers be made the first priority in blogging? It's pretty much an individual choice, and is dependent on the aforementioned factors. For example, if you ask Kennysia to throw away the reader-orientated posts and write all for himself, he’s going to lose quite a lot of readers. But say if someone relies on blogs to vent his frustrations but is forced to avoid writing it because some people tell him “I don’t like to read your angry stories”, then it would beat his purpose of blogging altogether.

So I guess the self vs. readers issue of blogging is more of a shade-of-grey kind of thing… Everyone has their own balance, and with a healthy give-and-take between those two considerations, both the blogger and the readers should enjoy the blog at an optimum level.

At the end of the day, a blog is all about a blogger and his readers. After all, a written chronicle without the readers is just a diary (or a private blog, for that matter), not a blog.

Note to Wei Liang: This post is not directed to you, and when I say I dislike dichotomous questions, it's not a reference to your question. It's just my feeling in general to this type of questions. :)

Image Credit: A Conversation, by JeanFrancois


day-dreamer said...

Yes I agree with you.

Somehow or rather it strikes a nice balance. I'm happy with the way my blog is now. :)

youngyew said...

Good on you! :)

Celest said...

there's a very interesting set of questions u have there... i blog for my own personal contentment... but people who show moral support by leaving comments DO encourage me to blog more..
Does that mean i blog for readers too? hahahha

wei liang said...

Haha, don't worry, I'm not at all offended. In fact, I am edified to see someone who is willing to look at things objectively.=)

youngyew said...

Celest: Haha I remember in one of your posts you mentioned something about attention-seeking behaviour worr... :D

Wei Liang: *Heaves a sigh of relief* :P

ShouFarn said...

i blog because i am in part a shameless attention whore. :D

if i can get the attention in real life sometimes i forget to blog =\

Eric Fu said...

I really love the image you picked for this post. Lovely!

youngyew said...

Shou farn: Are you hinting that the frequency of blogging is inversely proportional to the amount of attention one gets in real life?

*check my blog count this month*

*pick up a stick and find shoufarn*

Eric: Hah I googled for image titled "conversation" and this came out. :)