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:
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.
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:
- Finish cleaning living room and dining room – I didn’t
Walk twice this week for at least 30 minutes each time.– Done >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