Let’s milk this seventh blogoversary gig: in response to questions I get about blogging all of the time, both in person and online, I decided to answer some of them.
Why do you blog?
I’ve noted that I was inspired by my friend Fred Hembeck. Beyond that, though, there was stuff happening in the world and in my life that seemed to be worthy of noting, if only because they were important to me.
Some people write letters to the editor. I have, but I’m not very diligent about it. Some people write to members of Congress. Ditto. What I realized that I can do is write something in a blog, then send THAT to a member of Congress. And I have, a few times. Plus the piece stays out there is in the blogoverse.
But mostly, it was so I could maintain a modicum of sanity.
What was your goal in blogging?
Initially, I had only two.
When my daughter was born in March of 2004, I said that I would keep a journal about/for her. But early on, that fell apart. So having the blog would be my public commitment to fulfill my promise. And I have written about her EVERY MONTH without fail, on the 26th, since I started this.
The other was to write the JEOPARDY! story so I didn’t have to repeat it all the time. The folks at J!-ARCHIVE have linked to those.
Why do you blog about THAT?
Because it interests me. I’ve said before that I write the blog, first and foremost, for me.
There’s a noted TV writer named Ken Levine (MASH, Frasier). Some people complain when he blogs about baseball; Ken’s an announcer for the Seattle Mariners and has served in the same capacity for other teams. What he (or his followers) usually say is something snarky such as, “For what you’re paying, you shouldn’t complain.”
I’m not one who does snark well. It’s not that I don’t feel snarky sometimes, but rather it seems to come off as mean-spirited. But my sentiment’s about the same.
If I write about sports or TV or politics or do a quiz, and you’re not interested, that’s fine; almost certainly, tomorrow will be something else. If I altered the eclectic balance and listen to other voices, my self-censoring would probably paralyze me from scribing anything at all. And writing this, as much as anything, is inertia. It is better FOR ME to write a quiz that you don’t like – but I do, because I usually learn something about me – than not to.
Quizzes are also quicker and easier. If I have written a blog post that’s taken two hours to put together, then I need something to cleanse my intellectual palate that I can do in 20 minutes or so.
Why don’t you link to anyone else?
Well, it had something to do with visual clutter. But I kind of do anyway. My old blog, which I stopped posting to when I got this one, is the place where I keep track of all the blogs I follow or want to refer to, and still update occasionally when I have time.
What about all those OTHER blogs you do?
They’ve all, directly or indirectly, evolved from the first. When my then-work colleague came back from a conference and said, “We need to have a blog!”, I was her firmest supporter because I had started my own only three weeks earlier; it became so. Subsequently, everyone was going to do a post once a week each, but that’s devolved to me writing something thrice a week unless I have an intern to do so. The good thing is that it’s become part of the job description.
I’m on the board of the Friends of the Albany Public Library, and since I can’t get to most of the midday events, I started that blog. I’m our office’s representative to the NY State Data Center, and at the spring meeting in 2007, someone suggested a blog, and I began Data Detectives in May of that year, probably the second favorite of my own blogs. Michael Huber of the Times Union, the Albany newspaper, I’d known for years, and he started nagging me to blog there; after blowing him off for about a year, I started Information without the Bun in January 2008.
I also participate in other people’s blogs. ABC Wednesday, which Denise Nesbitt, started about five years ago, I stumbled upon only sometime in 2009; seems longer. Huber invited me to participate in Getting There, about local transportation, in October 2011. Finally, I was doing the Flashmob Fridays comic book thing, but that, alas, is defunct.
How do you keep up with so many blogs?
So there it is. 2,570 straight days of blogging. I’ve pretty much decided that when I get to 10 years, I’ll back off to thrice a week. But that’ll be 2015, and if all those apocalyptic forecasts come true, I won’t have to worry about that anyway.