I’ve been thinking lately about my blogging style, the other WoW bloggers I know and read, why we all blog, and why I read what I read. My feed reader overfloweth, but much of it just gets marked as read after a quick scan of the post titles. I can see patterns in who I preferentially read based on the kind of blogging they do, and why they seem to blog.
We all like to write, otherwise, why would we bother blogging? I do sense different motivations for writing, several of them described below, but on the whole, I’ll bet if we weren’t all writing about WoW, we would all be writing or blogging about something else. This is certainly the case for me.
To provide a resource.
I often hear “I started playing a [class] and there weren’t many resources, so I started a blog to help others looking for information.” These are great blogs, don’t get me wrong, but I confess I don’t often read them. I bookmark their suggestions for leveling builds and gear lists, but most of my toons aren’t advanced enough that the subtleties of builds and theorycrafting are going to make a difference in my game play. Kudos to you guys that do the math and write these blogs, however.
Some of these folks also appear to want to use blogging as a launchpad to something else, perhaps professional blogging or journalism (perhaps about gaming, perhaps not). With these bloggers, there is a lot of emphasis on proper blogging style, and the “right way” to present things and do things (inside and outside the game). If there is something considered news about WoW or Blizzard, they always post about it. They will weigh in on all controversies, and recap/repost all patch notes. I don’t read this stuff either.
My blog is not intended to be a resource. I may accidentally make suggestions with my various etiquette and wasn’t-that-guy-a-jerkface posts, but I doubt I’m bookmarked anywhere for the usefulness of the content of my blog.
To keep a record.
My blog falls into this category. I have kept blogs for lots of my hobbies because much later, after I’ve moved on to other interests, I like to go back and read about what I did, my opinions of what was going on, remember the people I met, and the funny things that happened. (The blog from my Scrabble days still makes me laugh.) I remember the main points of events, but it’s the details that I enjoy when I go back and read something I wrote. I look for these same details in others’ writings, the little things that seemed important enough to preserve at the time.
I’m a nostalgic person. One of my favorite things to do is exchange stories with friends about things we did when we were kids, stuff we got in trouble for at school, first heartbreaks, worst dates, trips to the emergency room, and most embarrassing moments. Love. It. Tell me a story. (With details.)
I know this isn’t just me… you do something really dumb, accidentally ninja something, embarrass yourself in front of your guild, or discover something you feel like you should have known a long time ago. Then you confess all these sins, publicly, in your blog. I do a fair amount of this, I realize, and I love reading other people’s confessions as well. It’s like we’re keeping ourselves honest, reminding ourselves that we’re human.
Sometimes, I see bloggers apologize for letting off steam in their posts, and I say, don’t worry about it. It’s you’re blog, and you can vent if you want to. Seethe about that annoying person in your guild or that same faction jackass that stole the ore while you’re clearing the mobs from around it. Even if it’s a story I’ve heard over and over, it can be the most engaging writing that a person produces because there’s so much emotion behind it. It’s great stuff!
To connect with people.
Some write blogs because they want to be part of the blogging community. It has been a great way to meet other folks who also like writing/thinking about WoW, and although I have had some non-blogging folks consistently leave comments, most of the comments I get come from other bloggers. I’ve met some really cool people through the WoW blogs, some that I’ve actually gotten the chance to play with now, and I look forward to many years of gaming/writing with them, with WoW and whatever comes after. These bloggers that I “know” are the ones that I read every day. Doesn’t matter what they write — when I see their blogs come up on the feed reader, I click right away and read the posts in full.
And on that subject, I’ve noticed myself become less anonymous in the last several months. (Usually my blogs are almost completely anonymous.) I post all the time now about playing with Pox Arcanum and Sidhe Devils folks, and I happily chat away on vent with all these folks. I’m still choosing to remain secretive about my main guild, however, as having some amount of anonymity makes me less self-conscious about what I write. Maybe that will gradually dissipate, too, though.
To get attention.
Blogging is an exhibitionist thing. If we didn’t want attention, we would write our thoughts and keep them on our hard drives never to see the light of the internet.
Honestly, I admit I do like the attention. And don’t you? Isn’t it exciting when someone discovers your blog and links you? Isn’t it cool when a blogger you admire, maybe even someone famous in the WoW blogosphere like BRK, links to your blog or mentions one of your posts? When my blog was recently mentioned on one of the MMO podcasts I listen to, I sat around all afternoon with stars in my eyes, not believing (yet basking in the idea) that these people had read and enjoyed what I had written enough to mention it on their show. Frickin’ cool. I don’t think I’d personally go so far as to write something specifically to get attention (I do steer clear of the controversial stuff, for the most part), but to feel a little bit famous, even within a small circle on the internet, is nifty. As bloggers, we want an audience, and to feel that we’ve got one (even a small one!) is gratifying. This is what keeps us writing.