What is the value of a personal blog?

Food blogs challenge our culinary skills by inspiring us to try new recipes. News blogs keep us up to date with what’s going on in the world. And then you have the personal blog. What does a reader gain from reading someone’s weekly to do list or a recap of their weekend? What is the value of a personal blog?

I’ve had some form of personal blog for over 12 years. The oldest post I could find online is from November 18, 2002:

nov-2002-blog-excerpt

This blog was an online diary using Diaryland; I wrote a lot about wanting to lose weight and about my (many) unrequited crushes. I didn’t care if anyone was reading initially—which is good since you needed a paid account to accept comments and I was too thrifty for that.

After a while, as I moved from blog platform to blog platform, eventually ending up on WordPress, I wanted to make friends through blogging, and connect with people that I had something in common with. But they needed to comment so I could discover them. If I wrote a post that elicited no comments, I’d consider possible reasons:

  • the post was boring or uninteresting (ouch, but it happens)
  • the post didn’t make it clear to people how they could respond (if you want feedback on a blog post, ask for it!)
  • everyone who read the post was too busy to comment (nothing I can do about that)
  • I had accidentally turned comments off, meaning that nobody could leave a comment even, if they wanted to (this has happened a few times)

It may not be cool to admit that I think about things like these but I don’t only blog for myself anymore. In fact, the days of personal bloggers blogging just for themselves are behind us—blogging is social. If we were only blogging for ourselves, then our blogs wouldn’t accept comments and wouldn’t be publicly accessible (Tweet this!). Many who blog anonymously don’t password-protect their blog, meaning they welcome a stranger discovering it. As humans we naturally like to connect with others, even if we don’t want them to know our name or where we live!

So what’s the value of the personal blog? Personal blogs can teach, entertain, inform, and inspire too. The personal blogger doesn’t have to reveal every intimate detail of their life to connect with a reader, but it’s important to be authentic (Tweet This). It would be sad to be a personal blogger yet be lying about yourself or your life on your blog (this could be a blog post, covering how we present ourselves online and if it’s lying if our blog is more about who we aspire to be rather than who we currently are!). Our personal experiences seem so unique to us, but when someone else can leave a comment saying “Me too!” or “I’ve been there!” it helps us feel not so alone. Or, even if the reader has no experience with what the blogger is sharing, sometimes they can offer insight (from something they’ve read or witnessed secondhand, etc.) or support through an empathetic comment. Or they can celebrate with us when we share a victory or good thing that has happened to us.

[poll id=”42″]

So we come to the weekly to dos. I knew that posting part of my to do list for the week would increase my accountability. I’m more likely to think about what I need to do during the week because I know I’ll be reporting on my progress and I care what you think if I don’t accomplish anything on my list. The supportive comments are encouraging and you’re so nice about it when I don’t get everything done, so it’s obvious why I share these lists. But what about you? What good is it for you to know what I have or haven’t done? How does this bring you value? I’m not convinced that it does.

You see, for my blog to be worthwhile to me, you must get value from it, just as blogs in other defined niches provide value to the reader. I want my blog to serve the reader, so I regularly think about who my blog serves most. If I benefit the most, then I know it’s time to switch things up. So I’m thinking of another way to share my weekly list without it being a blog post—What do you think of this?

To avoid a loose end, here’s my report on weekly to dos: eleven:

Last week's to dos

Home

  1. Finish cleaning living room and dining room – I didn’t

Self

  1. Walk twice this week for at least 30 minutes each time.Done
  2. >Read 4 chapters of The 15 Success Traits of Pro Bloggers: A Proven Roadmap to Becoming a Full-Time Blogger*Done: I actually read the entire book. I’m now on Chapter 6 of a new book, Stop Over-thinking Your Money*, by Preet Banerjee.

*This is an affiliate link, which means that at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you purchase the item using my link

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11 thoughts on “What is the value of a personal blog?

  1. I’ve started to write a bit more about personal topics on DelectablyChic!. I don’t see too many blogs written by children of immigrants who talk about the issues I’ve written about. Most stay away from family issues or they grew up in a culture/community completely different from mine. I know that there are quite a number of people like me, but we just don’t “talk” about it because it’s “not nice.” And while I like to be seen as a “nice girl” with a “proper” and “lady-like” upbringing, I feel that there are issues that need to be discussed (e.g. my grandmother’s really incorrect belief that ballet makes legs look chunky (http://www.delectablychic.com/2015/03/my-grandmother-said-ballet-makes-legs-fat/))!

    • I like blogs that allow me to get to know the author, so I can decide if they’re the kind of person that I’d want to be friends with.

      It sounds like perhaps you haven’t yet found like-minded people who want to discuss the issues you bring up, or perhaps they’re having these discussions in a different place (on forums, on social media) rather than in a blog setting. Have you ever read the book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin? I’ve yet to but I’m told it’s good start for people seeking to build a community!

  2. I voted both. Because I want to know if I and the blogger have something in common and we can share experiences to inspire each other. Though, I want to know the personal life of a blogger, I do not wish to know the details of everyday activities…it bores me Jummy. Simply relate the activity that readers might learn one or two lessons from it. This is why, I get so bored with fb, twitter, instagram and the rest…don’t put all your life out there for me to read!

    I hate, I repeat, I HATE, when bloggers come out to lie about their lives on blogs! Telling a life they wish to live! Creating a false impression in the mind of readers! For reasons best known to them! But in a way, I can read in between lines…I kind of have this intuition of such bloggers…maybe my pessimistic nature makes that possible…sometimes, I will start visiting s blog snd even commenting..then suddenly stop! It’s because I have detected so many lies, I have observed a fakeness, which makes me back out!

    You see, I don’t visit most religious blogs. You know why Jummy? All I feel are empty words! Show me the real you! Let me know if I can be friends with you. I found out people like to interact more with people they know, I remember years back, I read a comment where a blogger said, she just discovered a neigbour’s blog and realized whe lied so much there to create a picture of a good person! I was still a novice in blogsville, it took me by surprise that someone can lie blatantly! When I told people in my old blog when I was in Nigeria that we lived in a 2 bedroom flat and only have a car, many commended me for telling the truth and keeping it real..within me, I wondered why did it look as if I said something out of the ordinary? It was then, it dawned on me that some people lie about their lifestyle in blogs!

    Ever since, I relocated and began saying what I see you, you won’t believe that I have been cussed out by an anonymous in an ascertainment blog for talking too much! Esp when I talked about the credit situation in yankee. I realized I have punctured holes in some people fantasy world.I was cursed out for writing against polygamy! I was cursed out recently for this my post http://www.thenitty-gritty.com/2015/03/the-nigerian-woman-in-yankee-vs-in.html
    I realized some have personal blogs for la effizy!
    But you Jummy, have a personal blog to share your vast wealth of knowledge to your readers. keep it up.

    • Thanks for your frankness, Nitty. I completely know where you’re coming from and a lot of bloggers could learn from your comment which basically says:

      1. Be yourself
      2. Don’t lie

      With everything I do, especially online, I do it with the thought that I don’t want anyone who meets me in person to be shocked that I’m the same person who wrote the blog posts. If they are, then I’ve failed them and also failed myself. If we don’t like who we are and wish to improve in some areas, we’d be better off stating that we wish to be a certain way and then letting people watch us on our journey, or at least not lying and pretending we’re who we aren’t. Living a lie would be exhausting!

      I LOVE that you’re telling people who want to come to the States what life is really like. If this is a topic that you’re passionate about I’m convinced that there’s a way for you to bring value to others and be compensated for it! ;)

  3. I enjoy reading personal blogs because I love meeting people and learning about them. The similarities and differences etc…reading Nigerian blogs have become even more important to me in the last few years, I guess I feel like only people like that have similar childhood experiences to me.

    In other news, please don’t stop the weekly to do lists. I like reading them and ticking off your progress. It encourages me to also do mine and to be accountable!

    Have a lovely week.
    XXX

    • Yes! Like you Clara I’m more interested in blogs by other Nigerians. :)

      Lol, my staunch to do list supporter! I won’t stop them altogether but until I figure out the best way to share my to do list them without it being a separate blog post, I’ll just add them to the bottom of a blog post.

  4. In my opinion some personal blog scream ‘please like me’, which I am very suspicious about; and others are very endearing it is like catching up with a a friend and trading stories.

    About the religious blog thing (citing Nitty Gritty), any body can be ‘fake’ even those who write nice things about themselves/their lives . Could your ’empty’ feeling perhaps stem from your experience with some ‘religious’ people offline i.e outside of blogsville?

    • Thanks for visiting, chigirl! Balance is needed when someone decides to start a personal blog because yes, we usually want people to like us, but at what cost? One can be endearing while also being you. Like Nitty said, I think you can always tell when someone isn’t really being themselves.

      Being you may mean having fewer fans than others, but at least you’ll know that you’ve got people who like you for who you are.

  5. I have made friends with people I met on blogosphere, because something about their blogs clicked with me, and fortunately, they aren’t any different from how they portrayed themselves. My blog is personal, what I write about depends on how I feel or what I am going through at the moment. Sometimes, it is a form of carthasis. If people read it and comment, that’s a bonus. I came on here today because you commented on a friend’s FB post, and I thought, that must be GNG, lemme go check up on her. I’ll be back to read more later.

    • Aww, Joxy, so nice to see you and nice too to know we have a (Facebook) friend in common—I admire her hustle and drive.

      Did you ever keeping your blog for your eyes only? How did you decide to make it publicly available?

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