Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Why Blog?

Numbers. We're surrounded by them, especially in the blogosphere. Some people lament that their web stat numbers aren't large enough, while others trumpet to the world that their web state numbers are astronomical beyond belief. Who cares one way or the other?

Numbers aren't tangible things; they're symbols. While they can certainly quantify the number of people who visit a blog or the number page views per day, week or month, they can't reflect the impact any particular blog has on one or more of those visitors.

A million people could visit your blog today, yet none of them may be moved to think deeply about your chosen topic. On the other hand, only 20 people may visit your blog today and several of them may be moved to contemplate deeply your thoughts and analyses.

The big question each blogger needs to ask her/himself is: Why do I blog?

Is your life missing something so that all you really want is attention, a way to say, "Hey everybody, look at ME"? If so, then numbers will be very important to you. In fact, I would guess that the numbers themselves matter far more than the content you offer or the impact your thoughts and comments might generate.

If, on the other hand, you blog for more intrinsic reasons, then forget about the numbers. They genuinely don't matter.

As long as I'm posing this question, I'll share why I blog. For starters, I write constantly. Writing helps me better formulate my ideas and beliefs. Often, ideas in my noggin seem vague and nebulous, but really begin to take shape when put down on paper or the monitor screen.

I share these thoughts in a public space because I enjoy receiving feedback. Whether your comments are in agreement or disagreement, they make me analyze my thoughts anew. They force me to look deeper at my own biases and blind spots. In essence, the give-and-take deepens the experience for me.

Finally, another reason I blog is because I think I have a different perspective than many in my country. The vast majority of Americans know next to nothing about Taoism. Therefore, I see a key purpose of this blog as being educational, both for you the reader and me the writer.

I look at my web stats every day. This blog averages between 25-30 visitors. That's not a very big number. I don't care.

I don't write for numbers. I write for me and you.

That's enough for me.

Here are some blogs that I really enjoy. Maybe you will too.
The Useless Tree
Meat-Eating Leftist
Ratboy's Anvil
Swerve Left
This is Class Warfare
Three Wise Men
Under the Same Sun


  1. Trey -- I enjoy it when you cause me to think about something I have never considered and I like being able to make the occasional comment. It's like a short conversation with a friend..

  2. For the past several weeks I have been involved in a contest being run by the Service Employees International Union.
    It is called "Since White Bread" and is looking for great ideas that will improve our lives and/or the economy. I was astounded the other day when they notified me that I am a semi-finalist. The last 21 out of over 22,000 entries.
    They were chosen by a panel of respected political and business leaders.
    Now, the final seven will be chosen by popular vote. I'm doing a little campaigning here with my winning entry (I had 25 entries), and voting instructions.

  3. Dino,

    I agree with your 1st comment completely. Now, about your second comment. Congratulations!! That's really cool. However, you forgot to mention one thing -- What were your ideas? Which ones did they select and how can I vote?

  4. Send this along with the voting instructions to as many people you know, even if they're Republicans. We need all the help we can get.

    by Diana Nolen

    Personal money management is a huge problem in America. Crushing credit card debt, overdue bills and bankruptcies hang over our heads.
    So many people just don't know how to handle money. They learn by trial and error during the time they should be building some wealth.
    My suggestion is to put personal money management in the regular curriculum of all schools, starting with 1st grade and continuing through high school.
    By the time a child reaches the teens, he/she should know all about compound interest, various investment plans, shopping wisely and saving for the future. Also, to be able to resist the negative affects of being lured by advertisers to pointlessly spend money on "stuff", only to discard it when the commercials convince them they need some new "stuff". Give our children the gift of financial freedom.

    Thank you for your support.

    The moment has arrived... Round one of the voting process is now open! When you visit the site, you'll see 21 ideas to improve the lives of working Americans. There is that small matter of the $200,000. of prize money though, and that decision is now in your hands. Read the 21 finalists ideas, and cast your ballot for three of them now.

    This round of voting ends on Sunday, Jan. 15th at 11:59 pm EST --only a few days away! At that point, fourteen ideas will be eliminated, leaving the top seven vote getters to compete in Round Two for the cash prizes.

    We are serious about making sure this is a secure and fair voting process. We've put several procedures in place, including outside security experts to test and verify the voting process.

    Be sure to invite your friends, family, co-workers and community leaders to check out these creative ideas to improve the lives of working Americans. Maybe some of them can work in your community!

  5. Dino,
    You got one of my 3 votes! It a GREAT idea!! As you suggested, I emailed an invitation to a large list of comrades. Hopefully, many of them will cast votes too.

  6. thanks for the link!

    We've wrestled with this issue for a few weeks now. I think for us its been about venting if anything to one another. Sure we want people to think about the issues we post on, but if anything, it allows us to at least vent on topics we feel strongly about.

    We never set out to gain a large audience frankly, but we'll keep doing it as long as we have some laughs along the way.

  7. Nameste. ;^) It is wonderful to meet another walking their path. ;^)

  8. Trey,

    Thanks for this.

    I don't need to get traffic like Atrios or Kevin Drum or Kos or whatever to make blogging worthwhile. Like you, I enjoy getting the feedback. I hope that, at least occasionally, someone will learn something from my site. But I also find it a good motivator for writing - something I used to do a lot of, for money, but which is now shoved into life's increasingly thin margins.

    Writing requires a certain amount of patience, and it helps to bring amorphous threads of thought into concrete - and hopefully coherent - form.

    It's like running. Hurts and feels clumsy after you don't do it for a couple of weeks, but daily workouts whip you into shape pretty quickly.


  9. To The Rambling Taoist and readers --

    Check out a couple of the very best Blogs on the Net. They're by Les Visible, and you should add them to your main list of links:

    "Visible Origami" (metaphysical):

    "Smoking Mirrors" (social/political):

  10. Good post. You know I blog for similar reasons. I like to take my thoughts and put them in writing, and unless I wrote my own personal op-ed everday that nobody reads then I'd never have any way to put those thoughts in writing (never mind that that also describes my blog!) But I enjoy writing, I enjoy thinking about things, and it's double the fun when I can do both and top it off by sharing it off with unsuspecting visitors to the blog.

  11. Thank you all for these wonderful and diverse comments. They each revalidate for me the whole purpose of having a blog. It has little to do with the number of people who provide feedback, but the quality. And I feel very lucky because the quality of feedback is high.

  12. Excellent Post! I read it by way of comments on Denny's "Where We're Bound" and I've linked to both from my blog!

  13. Thanks, Trey. I love coming across new blogs with new fresh writing. I am interested in learning more about the Tao. I've been exploring Eastern thought for some time now, and also like to blog about it for no other reason than to clarify my own thoughts. Glad to have come across yours.


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