A Blogging Poll

Brain things / Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Today is my two-year birthday of blogging! I suppose I should call it an anniversary, but that sounds matrimonial and I’d rather think of Confessions as my kiddo, not my spouse. Go make me proud, little blog. But no, I will not promise to live with thee in peace until death do us part.

The more I think about blogging the less I understand it. It seems a quintessentially selfish activity, to assume that the world at large would like to read whatever it is I’m doing at the moment. or thinking about. or crying over. or eating for dinner. It’s a modern phenomenon I don’t understand: the new journaling, the new circle letter, the new manuscript.

But I like blogging and I like the blogs I follow. There are eight of them: four for love, three for delight, and one for spiritual discipline. Seven more I check on every month or two to see what’s happening (usually nothing). Of them all, there’s only one author I don’t know personally—and that is where I suspect I am not quite normal. See? My big brother was right all along.

Help me understand here in a broader way. What motivates your online reading? I’m curious specifically about three questions, all of them impertinent. But think with me.

  • How many blogs do you follow? (*see definition below)
  • How many of the authors do you know personally? (**ditto)
  • What motivates you? What do you gain?

Here’s how we’re going to do it. Can you be this brave?

Instead of your name, comment using the answer to the first question, followed by a backslash and the answer to the second question. And then tell me why, or whatever you have to say.*** Be honest! You’re anonymous to everyone but me, and it’s going to be fun.

Like this:

I’m not a big blog follower but I like keeping up with a few friends on WordPress.

I like reading foodie blogs. I don’t know most of the authors personally, but they create lovely work and inspire me in the kitchen.

Then another fun bit: From the answers that are particularly interesting to me, for reasons that will become obvious, I hope to select two or three of you for a quick email interview. By commenting on this post you are agreeing to potentially receive a personal email in your inbox, inviting you to answer some open-ended questions. Of course at that time you are perfectly free to decline.

Ready? Let’s go.


* Definition of follow: subscribe to/ read regularly/ or check frequently for updates.

** Definition of know personally: This too needs clarification in our postmodern age. What I mean at the moment is, have you met up with the author in the flesh?

*** This would not be a good time for badmouthing about the state of blogs in our time. Or gushing about the worthy few. Needlessly pointed comments in either direction will be surreptitiously removed.

45 Replies to “A Blogging Poll”

  1. I love the newsy feel of reading others blogs, something like reading a newspaper or, for some, the Budget:) I also follow three foodie/parenting blogs and I learn so much from these ladies. It brings a breath of fresh air into my sometimes stale-feeling life!

  2. My reasons…we have had similar experiences; inspirational (spiritual or otherwise); just for fun; personal friend; friend of friend (I think that’s everything :). And now after realizing how many blogs I actually follow, I’m thinking I need to trim that number down a bit…figure out whose life I really want to know about and maybe save myself some time on the world wide web 🙂

  3. To keep up with a very good friend who has many sisters and doesn’t have time to treat me like one. To gain new ideas for my ever grasping brain.

  4. What motivates me to read blogs? I read blogs for interest sake, for a little vacation without going anywhere, and to help my little brain to wrap around bigger things outside these four walls. I can’t honestly say that it has been a great avenue of spiritual growth, although I am very challenged with what I read sometimes. I occasionally check on about six other blogs. Some of them are not very regular posters. 🙂

    I have met two of these people. I agree with 12/2. The blogger has to be a good writer, with at least a decent grasp of grammar.

  5. I read blogs because they give me reading material and inspiration. I live in a non-English speaking country and if I don’t read, I feel I will die. I follow blogs that are sparkly and alive, honest but kind and modest, and brave enough to push boundaries to say things as they are.

  6. I like blogs because they connect me with people and ideas in my livingroom. And different than a book, they catch more ordinary, daily life and I like that. I also like that I can read about things I love from the perspective of people I whom I haven’t met in real life. I read about parenting and writing and following Jesus and becoming whole and relationships from a Mennonite mom in Pennsylvania, a teacher in Poland, a mom and author and pastor’s wife in South Carolina, and a healthy foodie mom in Portland, Oregon.

  7. I only follow about 4 blogs….I know 1 personally..I enjoy the spiritual encouragement I receive from people who can use words and write much more deeply than I could ever write. I love people who have a broad vocabulary…which I, sadly, don’t have.

  8. I read blogs for inspiration and to avoid the rut of hearing only my own thoughts (reading blogs is not the only way I do that!). I also read because I love words and dream of writing someday and think the reading widely is usually a prerequisite to writing well. I check two other blogs on occasion as well.

  9. Reading blogs has broadened my horizons, challenged my thinking, helped me think outside the box, and (I like to think) improved my writing skills …and probably taken up too much of my “mom” time… 🙂

  10. I keep my online time to a minimum because I have littles, but there are a few blogs I follow for different reasons: keeping up with friends, learning new money saving tips, getting crafty ideas, and reading well-written articles on daily life. And if a blog is not well-written I scratch it off my potential list. Having to read through bad grammar and spelling out-weigh any help or truth I might find there.

  11. I read blogs at random because I enjoy reading about others’ lives and how they enjoy life and cope with everyday issues. There are some others that I read randomly just to keep up with people I know. I call it my kind of “Budget.” 🙂 I get only a few delivered to my email, the rest I find at random. For instance I read every blog you post but daily… I maybe read 2-3 at a time.

  12. most of the blogs i read are written by people bold enough to say what they think even on controversial topics. I admire bloggers courage in putting their own perspective out for everyone else to read. Yours is one of my favorites.

  13. My blog reading is a mix of keeping up with people I know and things that pique my interest. I find it important, as a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t like to run around much, to make sure that I’m getting positive input on my professional development. (Yes, truly. It deserves the same learning intention that my husband practices at his job.) I have learned so much practically, aesthetically, ideologically from blogs, though the fragmentation of input drives me crazy sometimes.

  14. I’ve been a silent reader!I love reading and I love seeing what other people have to share about everyday life.Love how you’re not afraid to write on subjects some people would rather avoid.Love your blog!Keep writing!

  15. I am fairly new to the world of blog reading. I’d rather curl up with a book than spend time on the computer. But I do enjoy reading what friends have been doing or thinking. It is fun to spend a few minutes reading their posts when I am online checking my email.

  16. I love words. Meaningful,stimulating, and humorous words. I especially love words that suck you into a story or a concept and just about the time you think you have the trajectory figured out, you land in the ditch while the story takes a hairpin turn. A person who has a way with words can make the idiosyncrasies of everyday life wonderful reading. But please, please spare me from the foodie and the craftie blogs!

  17. I enjoy reading and reading a blog is less involved than sitting down with a book. With kids, I have less “reading a book” time. I gain ideas for decorating, parenting, and new foods by reading blogs. On the flip side, I also get frustrated and sometimes angry at some of the stuff I read…so sometimes I’m not sure how much I actually “gain”.

  18. I wasn’t sure what number to list since there are about 40 blogs that I “follow.” But most of those I check only every few weeks or they only post infrequently so I’m guessing there is about ten such as yours that I read often.

    I am motivated to read blogs for numerous reasons including: friendship with the author, meal ideas, book suggestions, inspiration in mothering, and just to laugh. The ones that stay on my list of favorites are those that craft words well and give me ideas to carry with me the rest of the day. I love being reminded that I’m not the only one out there who struggles in the daily grind of life. I enjoy those who look for joy.

  19. Ha ha. I don’t get the numbering system, so I guess I won’t remain anonymous. I hate remaining anonymous anyways. 🙂

    (I have to say, I’m eternally curious about where my blog fits into your reading, ha ha. I don’t need to know, it is just what I instantly thought when I read this post!)

    I have myself subscribed to 47 blogs in my feed. I would not say that I read these blogs regularly at all. I probably pay attention to somewhere between 5-10 blogs in my feed…and regularly read five maybe? So…what is the point of having 47 blogs fed to my email you ask? Well, you’ll have to ask since that is besides the point of me answering your questions. 🙂

    I personally know 4 out of the 5 blogs that I regularly read.

    Good writing motivates me. Most of the blogs I regularly read are people in my community — what I gain? Entrance into their life I don’t get otherwise. Sad maybe, but true. That other blog — the one written by the woman I don’t know in the flesh — inspires me almost every day. Probably mostly because her writing is superb. And she is a truth person and I love truth people.

    The other blogs that I occasionally glance at — if the title grabs my attention when it pops up in my feed of 47 blogs (I guess I will explain myself now…) — I am subscribed to them because 1) I know the people, but have more distant connection with them, 2) the writing is the kind of writing I want to read, 3) the content is note-worthy.

    1. I also read to gain entrance. 🙂 Sounds like it’s time we take our relationship to the next level.

      One of the things I enjoy about you is your passion for truth.

  20. I follow about seven, among them yours, of course. 🙂 I have met five of the authors. I look for real, honest writing, especially of people who do not seem to take themselves too seriously. I cannot seem to enjoy what I call “the beautiful people” blogs, where everything is edited to gorgeousness. I suppose what I enjoy most is a delight in the gifts of life coupled with wordcraft.

  21. I read two exclusively for spiritual encouragement/awakening (i.e. a good, healthy bang on the head every now and again), two to stay in the loop with what’s happening in a friend’s (or a communities) life, one exclusively as a resource for all things health-related, two just because I’m intrigued by their life and pictures and writing style, and two for a combination of most of those reasons. It might not be quite that cut and dry, but that’s the best I can do at dividing them categorically.

  22. 16/10–I get a lot of personal encouragement, food ideas, and organizational ideas. I am in a small church, and far away from our families, and I enjoy the interaction of like-minded people!

  23. One for information, one for friendship, and one for mom stuff/recipes. I feel the need to limit my exploration of blogs, as I know myself well enough to realize I could get way too involved in this other “world”. My reference point is that following blogs may interest me, but should not sustain me.

  24. As one of your former mentorees, I love “watching” you engage with life on this blog. You come across as authentic, caring, and delightful. I also read blogs that my friends recommend on Facebook, but not regularly.

  25. I follow 5 blogs, 3 of which I know the writers, and so am interested in their lives, one for food and recipe ideas, and one for spiritual inspiration. A blogger has to be really good in order for me to make them regular in my life (and you can be honored you are on my list) 🙂 You are the only one I “know” who is not a relative but I love your blog so subscribe to it and try to read them all.

  26. That sounded weird, about it is an honor to be on my list…I merely meant I am very picky about the blogs I will take time to read regularly but you made it on my list of 5 🙂 Not that I have some superior insight into who is best or anything. Ha ha.

  27. I limit my blog reading because I still prefer to read from real paper, not the screen. I was surprised how many of the blogs I subscribe to are written by people I know, probably because my two favorite bloggers are women I haven’t met (you are one of them!) If I don’t know the writers personally, I stick with blogs that speak to my life, and that I know are worth every minute of my time. If they don’t meet that criteria, I usually end up unsubscribing.

  28. I’m subscribed to 30+ friends’ blogs, as well as a handful of blogs each on the subjects of homeschooling, natural living, local news and events, photography, spiritual growth/living well, missions,and couponing. I subscribe to all of them via a blog reader. When I have time for blog reading I hop around reading, and have learned to mark a feed as read even when I haven’t read it all (strangely difficult for me). 🙂 To be fair for your statistics, some of the bloggers I consider friends are people I followed first and met later. I began following blogs during a time when I was pretty isolated. Even reading about simple day to day life from other moms helped me to not feel so alone. Now again, I’m lonely often–not living in a Christian community. Having connections with friends and inspiration I can catch on the fly when I need it has been so good for me. I struggle, too, with feeling that my blogging has little point to the world. Other times I have to wrestle with jealousy and comparison. Those aren’t things I blame on blogging, but on my heart. It’s a good reminder that it’s time to step back and find my focus again.
    Sometimes I get a picture of the web of support and friendship that has been created through this, and that’s pretty awesome, too. Because I’m not healthy and strong I have more downtime than some people do which probably allows for more reading time. Also because I’m not healthy sometimes I can’t process deep thoughts, but a look through a blog is do-able. I still would choose to have deep friendships with people I interact with person-to-person; but that isn’t available for everyone. (You are very blessed!) I have learned so much from friends online, so I try to balance that the opinion that spending time online is a waste of time. 🙂 I tend to follow blogs that inspire me spiritually or in parenting or just in general. Some people enjoy pretty blogs the way I’d enjoy an art museum. I enjoy beauty, but I like a healthy dose of reality mixed in with the blogs I read. 🙂

  29. some of the blogs I check in on post so rarely that’s hardly “following”… I find people fascinating, I like beautiful pictures, and I enjoy reading. It’s amazing how mundane details can become a compelling read when they are well-written. I like the thought provoking discussions that are sometimes found in the comments sections as well.

  30. My favorite blogs are ones which I have a personal relationship with the author. Somehow, it is a big deal to me that I know that the author’s daily life measures up to their words. I do not feel like I need to read my friend’s blogs because of a relational void. I see their blogs as an additional window into their lives that I’m grateful to be able to to access.

    The blogs that I follow which I do not have a personal relationship with the authors are: one that is primarily a motherhood challenge, one that is a design company and gives me a burst of daily beauty in my inbox. (home decor ideas, fonts, crafts, color combos, etc…) and one that awakens my heart and opens my eyes and challenges me in my walk with Jesus.

  31. 8/2
    I love your blog, Shari, because you tell life as it is!!! and you use words to stir us out of the mundane!!!! Of course we all know that mundane is necessary and godly!!! But it gives me a lift to hear other people’s stories and there are lots of useful things to learn!!!!
    I do think we need to be careful that we don’t glamorize the screen!!!! 🙂 I don’t feel that you do that!!!!
    I don’t always read the blogs I subscribe to every day. Sometimes I go down through the email box and delete almost everything!!! I hate a cluttered box, but I always read yours and Home Joys!!! I don’t like that she doesn’t ever label her entries.? 🙂 but I still open them!!!

    1. She uses a different blog host than I and probably cannot customize her post title to show up in the email subject line–just her blog name. But it’s worth suggesting to her if you care about it. 🙂

      She is a delight!

  32. I only follow one blog because I have a secret crush on its author. She’s honest and articulate and creative and beautiful and she thinks I’m crazy. So.

  33. …Because I love words, I love to read, and I love to write. And because I live in a third world country and would shrivel up and die without the mental stimulation of people/words/culture that are familiar to me! I follow one blog for spiritual food, three for interest and humor and inspiration, and the others are family members or close friends.

  34. There are five or so I follow regularly and a total of ten or so I check on infrequently-mostly b/c they aren’t regular posters. Of the ‘regular’ five four are family or people I’ve met in person. I am blind so blogs I love most are ones short on pics and long on word pictures. Incidentally, I’m not sure what you have different on your settings but yours is one of the rare blogs on which I can comment due to the lack of those annoying visual verifications. Here is a link I know you’ll enjoy from one of my favorite bloggers with thoughts on her second blogiversary. http://bit.ly/1jIU5Yr

  35. 13/4 I love to read for inspiration and most of the blogs I read are of that nature. I struggle with health issues, don’t get out much and therefore feel quite “alone” at times. I appreciate when I can tell someone is sharing in a genuine way what is on their heart and it helps me feel connected to other ladies from within my four walls.

  36. I read blogs for relaxation, inspiration, amusement, and for a broader view of life. I like a wide variety of authors -men, women, married, single, older, younger… Each brings a different perspective to my life.

  37. 33 (really 10)/24. I usually follow a blog because I know the person and am interested in a part of their story (overseas work, medical work, etc) OR because I feel I grow spiritually/emotionally from what they share (they have nuggets to ponder)… and usually because I’m curious how God’s working in their life and they share that.

  38. If I am honest, the blogs I read are all tangled up in dreams I want to live one day…mothers and missionaries in Asia, and some who are both.

  39. I’m a little slow at responding here but I guess that tells you a little about my blog reading habits. 🙂 I follow quite a few blogs, 19, as you see above and then a few others that I very randomly read. Of these 19, I only read 3 of them daily and that is because they are deal blogs and so if I want to be able to take advantage of many of the deals I need to stay on top of reading them. The rest of the blogs? Well, I read them as I have time- some weeks that means a lot of them get read and the other times? Well, it might go a couple of weeks before I get caught up.

    I read primarily to learn and occasionally just to be entertained. I love getting new recipes, ideas on how to be a better homemaker, encouragement in mothering and tips on decorating as well as be pushed to grow spiritually. But I also read a blog or two just because the author does such a good job of writing about life in such a way that is just amusing and fun.

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