The Evolving Purpose of Blogging It seems more common that we write for reaction than edification. I'm wondering if the purpose of blogging hasn't changed.

In the last eight years or so, maybe less, the way we blog has changed. Maybe not so much in terms of how we do it but in terms of:

  1. what it is that we have to say,
  2. how we say what we want to say,
  3. how other people read what it is that we have to say (which is really more on them but you get it, right?)

I remember when it was much more about the comment engagement and also sharing what we thought, learned, or viewed on a particular subject.

As much as possible, I still try to stick to that. That is, I try to share:

  • what I’m doing,
  • what I’ve learned,
  • and my perspective on a given subject.

Now, though, I’m not as much concerned about the comments (hence why I turned them off some time ago). This doesn’t mean I don’t care about feedback – I do – but I find when people have to jump through a few extra steps to provide feedback, the quality of it goes way up.

Anyway, it seems to me that blogging has drastically changed in one major way over the last few years:

We write for a reaction rather than edification.

Reaction, in and of itself, isn’t bad. Of course, it’s not. But the type of reaction we seek may be. But I’m not here to get too much into that. Instead, I’m wondering if the purpose of blogging hasn’t changed.

The Purpose of Blogging

Now, more than ever, perhaps, there is a stronger relationship between what we write and how people react versus what we write and how they can learn from it.

Case in point:

Look at how closely related Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets have come become to blogging. That is, look how quick people are to share a post then offer a short complaint or hot take (a phrase I dislike 🤷🏻‍♂️) about said post.

Sure, Twitter has increased its 140 character limit to 280 (which still isn’t enough for anything more beyond casual chatter, in my opinion), but Facebook has some type of method of sharing long-form posts, right (I don’t recall)?

This means that we can write something, share the link our followers, and let our audience do its thing.

For some, getting eyes on it is all that matters. For others, getting “discussion” going on it is what matters (but can a “discussion” really happen in such a short, non-personal context?)

We see this a lot with the media and that’s par the course but I’m not really talking about the media. I’m talking more about those of us who write – for whatever reason – in our industry and then react, share, or promote content online.

If you open your Twitter feed or Facebook feed right now, how many people are complaining about something versus discussing (as much as we can given the limits of each service) something?

When we subject ourselves to that type of behavior for a substantial part of our day, the desire to want to write something to be noticed and to elicit a  reaction is strong.

And if that’s what you’re setting out to do, then more power to you. But, for many of us, I don’t think that’s good unless the response is one that fosters making ourselves better at what we do.

In other words, don’t forget other alternatives like edification:

  • teach what you’re learning,
  • the challenges you’ve encountered,
  • and how you’ve solved various problems.

There’s a lot of us out there who still value that kind of writing and aren’t interested in getting into the fray of whatever the hot take of the moment is.