What Are Blogs For?

I was halfway through part two in my series about monetizing blogs when I became sidetracked with a forum conversation. Without bringing in a lot of unnecessary details, I was visiting my favorite forum for work at home moms yesterday when I came across a thread from a blogger who was rather upset when a commenter disagreed with her. He wasn’t being disrespectful, though she felt he was, and she closed comments for that post because she didn’t want a debate.

I read all the posts with interest. I was very disappointed to learn many of my fellow WAHMs were trashing the person who disagreed and even going to his blog and leaving heated comments. After reading the entire thread I posted about how blogging is about building a community. About how discussions are supposed to happen and people should be allowed, no, encouraged to disagree. Debates do happen and as long as people act civilized, there’s no reason to close comments.

What I found most interesting was that a couple of people didn’t exactly agree with me. Neither of them realized blogging was about community. They felt is was more a marketing tool and comments weren’t really necessary. This goes against everything I believed blogging to be. Am I wrong?

So let me put it to you, Performancing community. Since the majority of you are bloggers, probloggers or wannabe bloggers, what is a blog to you? What is the purpose your blog? Why do you do it and how important is community?

Thanks for indulging me.

16 thoughts on “What Are Blogs For?

  1. You are guilty of projection. The reason for anyone to blog can be as varied and selfless or self-centered as a person may choose. For myself, experienced in cold calls and contacts with strangers live and in person, there is little to fear in remote communication which will generate an unknown reaction – or none at all.
    Of course, many of us wish for a community. Typing and posting seem like an exercise in futility without feedback. The odd thing is, some people seem to stimulate discussion as naturally as breathing.
    I sometimes I think I encourage privacy because I’m so busy with content that I don’t spend a lot of time on comments – which is something I did quite a bit before starting my own site. Certainly if there is a comment common to my readers it’s that they’d like to hear more of my ‘voice’ even if that reduced other content.
    Because of the orientation of my blog and my own tendency to respond better to queries than dream up something cold, there’s a limit to how far I go with that.
    I’ve kept the same spot since I started blogging except for two posts, and enjoy WordPress – though I have Firefox and blogging with Performancing would likely be dead easy.
    http://opit.wordpress.com/ a personal blog focusing on news

  2. I’m with Chris: “For me a blog without comments is still a blog, just a blog without a soul.”

    I think that, if discussion and disagreement will not be allowed, then comments should be disabled. I do think that the blog owner has the right to delete comments that are offensive, but this right should be exercised with care.

    Since my blogs are not monetized, and are not done for business or professional purposes, I have more flexibility than some, and I understand that a pro blogger may need to monitor comments for the sake of his/her reputation — but surely not merely to censor disagreement?

  3. > Before blogs, there were websites.

    Before blogs, there were CMS.
    Before CMS, there were websites.

    Blogs are simplified CMS solutions which allow easy personal chronological publishing. Static or not is absolutely not important!

  4. Before blogs, there were websites. Static, boring, lacking in personality, interaction and the human touch.

    Blogs are essentially websites that are not static. While I won’t say they were created to build communities, they were created as a place where people could have a voice, be heard and share with others. Blogs are, by their very nature, places to interact and communicate.

    Communities came after, as bloggers began to develop readerships and be known in the field for what they had to say.

    However, a blog remains one very important thing: a non-static website. It is a website where the pages change, where content is added and where nothing is written in stone.

    Commenting is an added benefit of a blog. By having the comment option on, blogs place a “welcome” sign to readers leaving their thoughts – good or bad.

    So, what is a blog? It is a non-static website. What you want a blog to be for your own purposes is something entirely different. There is a wide range of possibilities – personal journal, thoughts, information, marketing, brand-building, asking questions, reviews… It’s all good.

    And if you don’t want interaction with people? Turn the comments off. Permanently.

  5. Young@EssentialBlog

    Comments are just comments. Everybody has his or her own ideas, and everybody who is able to leave a comments is a free human being, you can’t force he/her to write what or not to write what.

    If the comment is agree with yours point, that is fine and prove that someone is agree with you. If not,meaning someone is not agree with.But is that matter? You are not the God, or the Truth,God is God, Truth is Truth, they are not changed by you or by me, or by the one who disagree with you.

    Comments are just comments, take it easy and in peace.Of course, you can object my point.

  6. I’d say that blogs were originally a forum for personal communication, but they became so popular that now, they have been adapted (co-opted?) as a form of commercial speech. My blog is an example of a commercial blog. It is a great way to get the word out about a new business.

    This is not to say that the original blog is not still a vibrant forum. Moat of the more popular blogs are a personal communication.

    I would never shut down comments just for disagreeing, personally. I would welcome the enthusiasm and debate.

  7. “Why not just build up a website with links pointing to a product or resume?”

    It’s the WARMTH aspect. The voice they can hear. They style and tone. My clips have a decidedly business tone and style. Well most of them.

    I don’t want my blog to have soul in the form of others chiming in, just the soul in the form of a potential client hearing me, relating me to a real person, not some anonymous writer among thousands of others anonymous writers. They can see me, see my office, see my dog!, and hopefull hear my voice as I talk about the day to day. Then you have the face-on-a-name phenom…BOOM I get hired

  8. I just think the blog is easier to add a warmer tone. More personable level. The website is all business. The blog link takes customers to a place where I let my guard down and be more informal. I do know that I would have more hits if I aimed it more at community. But I do that at other blogs. Like I said, this one is more for my customers, 80% of whom are one time users of my service.

    Oh, I thought of another example of a non-community blog: I know a lot of people who use a BLOG as thier website cause they don’t know how to build a website and just find it easier to put up a static blog.

  9. I get it. Still, I guess it just caught me off guard to hear someone say she never thought to use it to build community. I’m enjoying everyone’s point of view. Thanks!

  10. I agree with many of the posts above: the purpose of a blog (or any other Web site) can vary depending on the blog-owner or the blog itself, and can vary as wildly and widely as the owners themselves. For example:

    • Express yourself in some unique way (whether or not anyone’s watching).
    • Communicate a life with friends and family.
    • Further an obsession with online life.
    • Vent about ongoing problems or health issues.
    • Gather attention for a local business.
    • Press releases.
    • Promote your local band.
    • Spread the Word of your religion, philosophy, or other way or life.
    • Contribute to the online community of information and knowledge.
    • Something entirely else.

    …or combine any two of more of the above…

    The people you communicated with may have not “realized blogging was about community” simply because that’s not what it is to them, or why they are in it.

  11. Blogs are just a type of website. But I think they’re most effective especially in the long-term when you use them to build a community. The web is getting more and more social. In the near future, I believe the majority of web users will expect websites to have a community aspect (blog comments, forums, social voting, etc.)

  12. @Chris,

    I suppose it’s in the eye of the beholder. I blog first and foremost to build up community, and those who hire me do so I can attempt to do the same for me. And I do agree with you that a blog without community has no soul. I honestly don’t understand why anyone would blog without community in mind. Why not just build up a website with links pointing to a product or resume?

    it’s a good lesson for me.

  13. Blogs are what you make them, seeing as “blog” is really a description of a type of website.

    Performancing is definitely a community blog. I launched my own blog with a goal of building up a good community, even though I launched my own forum later it is still a vital component of my bloging. They don’t HAVE to be about community though.

    I wrote a post about what I saw blogs as being and I saw community as at least one third of what makes a blog.

    For me a blog without comments is still a blog, just a blog without a soul.

  14. “Neither of them realized blogging was about community. They felt is was more a marketing tool and comments weren’t really necessary”

    No no. That’s too general.

    SOME blogs are about community. SOME blogs are about targeted marketing. SOME blogs don’t care about comments. SOME blogs do.


  15. Deb,

    Ignoring your take on the original debate (come ON, he was clearly inflammatory), I would like to know others opinions on this:

    One of my blogs is linked directly from my business site. Most of the hits are from potential customers checking out my site and considering hiring me.

    Therefore this blog is designed and intended solely as another advertising tack: ie I present my “voice” in a warm and positive tone, hoping that will help or be the impetus for them hiring me. My posts are deliberately bland and I could care less if I ever get a comment or a repeat visitor. I just want to be hired 😉

    So I was worried I was the only one with this kind of blog, and did some search, and found that theres many. Most of them seem to be real estate haha.

    Other non-community blogs: diary type blogs, blogs for ad revenue only (even more fakey then mine), maybe news blogs- current events- some of those don’t have comments even on.

    So I think there’s many kinds of intents in blogging.

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