Why I Blog
Google's announcement last week that it will shut down Reader on July 1 unleashed a tidal wave of grief. A petition for Google to keep Reader running over at Change.org quickly passed 100,000 signatures and is still growing, and my own blogging community has wondered what this means for us, both as writers and blog readers.
There are plenty of other RSS options. I've used the stylish Flipboard on my iPad ever since last fall, when JJ gave me a demo, and I'm test-driving Feedly right now on my desktop. So far, so good.
But it quickly become apparent to me that I, like many other social media consumers, have switched how I get content. Five years ago, I lived by my Reader. I went through it religiously once a day and rarely clicked "mark all as read." (Heresy!) But these days, my Reader is too cluttered to be useful, and I mostly read posts I find via Twitter and Facebook. (To be clear, I never used RSS feeds for news. I rely on NPR, Google News and a New York Times app on my iPad for that.)
Which brings us to the question that keeps bloggers up at night: What does this mean for our audience? Will our already dwindling numbers plummet this summer, when people decide its too much trouble to transfer their feeds to a new service? And if our reach continues to decline, thanks to Facebook's ever-changing algorithms and the lighting-speed evolution of social media platforms, why do we do this?
It's a fundamental question. If you don't know why you're doing something - or just as importantly, why you aren't - you will rise and fall with shifting milieu. (Two years of high school French just earned its keep.) There's something about reacquainting ourselves with the why that rights our perspective. We come at life with renewed energy and determination.
So. Why do I blog?
Here's what I've come up with:
Because I crave conversation. I first started Love Well because I wanted to join the online community. I read blogs by witty, thoughtful, introspective women, who also happened to be rock-star writers. I wanted to get in the game. I wanted to trade ideas and funny stories and deep thoughts. An unexpected bonus: real friendships. The Internet allows me to form community with people I never would have met in my day-to-day world.
Because it's an outlet. I am a SAHM to four children, and I solo-parent at least half the month while my husband travels for work. Writing is something I do for me. It's self-care, a slice of creativity in a life that can feel mundane. Blogging is my favorite hobby.
Because I owe Google a big fat debt. I write Here, Taste This and other practical posts because Google solves 95% of my problems. That is not an exaggeration. In the last 24 hours, I have Googled "i have a cold and my teeth hurt" and "synonyms for kick-ass" and "monkey bread recipe" and that's just a portion of what I've looked up. The Internet is a communal fount of knowledge. I'm happy to share the small lessons I'm learning and somehow keep the machine evolving.
Because now I have a place to share the writing I used to do anyway. I've always journaled. Now I journal in public, which forces me to raise the writing bar: if other people are going to see this, I feel compelled to put some muscle into it and really reach for the right words and refine my topics. It also means I write about things I never used to write about.
Because I want to record my stories. Journaling used to be a chance for me to process; it was when I discovered what I was thinking and feeling about what was happening around me. But that also meant I didn't waste time writing the backstory. Since I was the only one who read it, anyway, it felt superfluous to record the facts. But now, because I blog, I write the whole story. I tell myself it's for my children, but I'll be honest and say: it's also for me. This blog is my scrapbook, a place for me to tuck away pictures and memories and lessons. It is a record of my life.
Why I don't blog:
To get rich.
To become an Internet force.
To increase my traffic.
To be validated (although it's nice when it happens).
To find my self-worth.
My self-worth is not defined by my page views or my Facebook likes or my Klout score. My self-worth rests wholly on Jesus. I believe I am who He says I am, and he says I am redeemed and loved and worthy and forgiven and made new and free. I believe in the way my husband looks at me over a bowl of chili, how his eyes speak of deep things and laughter and a life fused together like a mosaic of glass and lead. I believe in the way my kids smile when they see me enter a room, and I believe in the joy of creating, when the words on the screen or the picture on the camera perfectly reflect my inner soul.
I blog because I am.
But I am so much more than this blog.
Posted by Kelly @ Love Well on Sunday, March 17, 2013