Friday, July 31, 2009

Blogging Behaviors

Nearly all bloggers I have ever interacted with and discussed the topic "Why do we blog?" have come up with the clichéd statement "I blog for myself". Duh! Of course we all do. If we wrote for money, or for fame, or for others, we would be writing a book, or contributing to a magazine, or writing for a website. But we dont. We write our own crap on our own space, hence we blog for ourselves. True. But I have a problem with people who say "I blog ONLY for myself". Especially when they have public blogs and know that they have a good readership. Now cmmon. You cannot blog ONLY for yourself. If you wanted to write stuff ONLY for yourself, you'd pick up a paper and a pen and pen down your thoughts. Or open a MS Word file and type down all your thoughts and save it on your hard drive (I have done this and still do it at times when I write ONLY for myself). Or, even if you did choose to use the Blogosphere, your blog would be a private one. So if you blog on a public blog, then apart from blogging for yourself, you also blog for the readership of a lot of people who might choose to visit your blog. And when you do that, you ensure that you write something which you connect with and relate to, but at the same time also something which your blog followers relate to. And not to mention my old "wife and prostitute" theory, you can read about it on my post on About Orators, Bloggers and Prostitutes.. HERE .
But now that I have started on the wrong (or right?) note by angering all those public bloggers who have declared "I blog ONLY for myself", I will come down to the point which I wanted to discuss. Ok, I am assuming that every blogger blogs primarily for him/herself and secondarily for the audience. Given that, is there discrimination amongst the readers of blogs? If so why? If not, then why are some blogs more popular than the others? Does popularity of the blog affect the blogger (either in a positive or a negative way)

Recently, thanks to the Sweden summer vacations and the excess of time on my hands, I was able to wade through a lot of blogs on blogosphere. Some I liked, some I didnt. Some I found absolutely and shockingly disgusting, and some which completely bowled me over. I dropped in a comment on some posts that bowled me over, but not all because I have an aversoin to "celebrity-bloggers-with-a-fan-following" (more on that later). And with my limited knowledge and visibility of blogs I noticed certain trends in readership and popularity of blogs.
  • Blogs written by female bloggers are always more popular. Now dont growl at me for being sexist, I swear I noticed this trend and it has very few exceptions. I came across very few blogs run by male bloggers that had overflowing popularity (with the exception of celebrities like Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bacchan). Certainly there were male bloggers with an exceptional gift of the gab who had extremely popular blogs, but they were the exceptions. If you ask me for the reason for this trend, your guess is as good as mine. You may say that the fairer sex are better at expressing themselves, and are more capable of deep emotions. But I will not be entirely convinced about this reason being the only reason for the above mentioned phenomenon. I can make a few other guesses but then I dont want to make this more controversial than it actually is. I MUST mention though that some of the female bloggers had an exceptional and mind blowing skill of expressing themselves. And they deserve to be as popular as they are, their popularity has nothing to do with the sex of their author, I follow quite a few of them and it has nothing to do with the authors being female. But to be honest, in some cases, I wonder if the blogs would be as popular had the author been male. I also wonder why somehow nearly all the followers of these aforementioned blogs are male, is there a connection?
    Disclaimer: None of the blogs I follow or comment on come in the category mentioned above, so ladies who own blogs I follow, please do not take offence :)!
  • There are some blogs whose popularity is uncanny, even given the fact that the author has an amazingly unique line of thought and a very good way of expressing herself. Like this one blog which I was reading, it was only the authors third post and she had started the blog 2 days back. She had 40 followers for her blog (no kidding) and her first post had 74 comments. Whew! She did mention that she earlier used to have another blog which she closed down and this was her second attempt at blogging, but even then... this kind of popularity is unprecedented. As far as I could see, she was neither a celebrity nor a professional blogger, just an ordinary blogger like you and me. No doubt she has an exceptional and unique way of expressing herself and writes like no one else, but whats the secret of having such amazing popularity? Tell me, tell me. If I could have that kind of popularity, I would seriously think of giving up my boring life of a consultant and think of doing some professional writing. Rane, if you are reading this take my suggestions seriously :). Disclaimer: Most of the blogs I follow come in the above category, will any of you guys share the secret of your popularity, so that I can switch my profession and become a professional writer?
  • Blog followers for each blog have a very distinct categorization. You can say that "birds of same feather flock together". Some blogs I read have the most classy and sophisticated followers, nobody bullshits in the comments of the blog (one example of this is the blog I mentioned above). Shobha De's blog is another example. I love such blogs, the comments of such blogs are almost as interesting as the posts themselves. However there are blogs with the most disgusting group of followers and you almost want to curse yourself for being one of that group. I even came across a pretty sophisticated blog with the comment trail having the worst profanities you could think of. Some blog followers use certain blogs like social networking sites, flirting with each other or some even wooing the blogger. Its almost funny when you read comments like "I-liked-the-post-so-much-that-I-swooned-and-now-I-am-in-love-with-you-will-you-marry-me?". Guys, grow up, and dont tell me you came to the blog because you were interested to read what the author writes... I am sure the author is very good looking and you are crazy about her and are looking for ways to catch her attention, but please respect the sanctity of the blog. Dont pretend to like the intellect of the blogger when your interests lie elsewhere. And puhleazze dont convert a blog to a dating site, please use for such endeavors.
  • Sex sells. Even on a blog. So you have a whole group of "erotic writers" out there with pretty much their own exclusive blogosphere. Dont venture there if you are not into pornography, I wandered there by mistake and retraced my steps. No, I do not have anything against them, just that I wonder, if someone wants pornography shouldnt they just go to the numerous pornography websites complete with photos/videos. Or maybe I am just one of the ignorant fools who do not understand the beauty of erotic writing. Honestly I did not expect such an exhaustive category of erotic writers, some even giving detailed descriptions of their personal encounters. Needless to say these had immense fan following! Disclaimer: I dont think I need to say this but NONE of the blogs I follow or comment on come in the category mentioned above, so bloggers who own blogs I follow, please do not take offence :)!
  • There are professional bloggers who blog with the sole intention of blogging to make money or to popularize their blogs. Refer the first para of this post, these bloggers are not blogging for themselves at all. They will write things that make their blogs popular and will do anything in order to get more hits. Once again, I do not judge them, just that I find them very superficial and it is not interesting to read the blog of someone who is not genuine or someone who is faking. For most of it, you can always make out the genuine ones from the fake ones, if it seems too good to be true, know that its a fake. But sometimes it is scary, because I dont want to get carried away by a fake blogger pretending to be a genuine person. Disclaimer: Once again, I dont think I need to say this but NONE of the blogs I follow or comment on come in the category mentioned above, so bloggers who own blogs I follow, please do not take offence :)!
  • There are bloggers who, though they run public blogs, are not very keen on a lot of publicity. In a way I respect that feeling, and I dont think I myself would be very comfortable with the kind of popularity some blogs have. I was requested by one blogger whom I know in real life to remove the link to his/her blog from my blog list because he/she felt that the blog was getting too many hits, and some of them were through my blog. He/she felt that the consciousness of knowing that there are too many people reading ones blog, some of whom could be people you know in real life, hinders the freedom with which you can write if you dont have a care in the world. And then of course there are bloggers in my friend circle who changed their blog from public to private with very limited readership, so that they could write in peace and write whatever they wanted to. There are bloggers I know who changed their blog domains in order to retain their anonymity. I might ponder one of these soon :).

All said and done, most of the blogs I read have helped me broaden my horizon. What I love about most blogs is that it makes me think. It gives me a glimpse into the minds of people who are in different phases of life. Some remind me of the phases I have been through, some make me realize that there are phases of life that I have not yet reached. There are some very interesting high school bloggers, and believe me there is nothing kiddish about their blogs. For me it brings back so many memories, I so completely relate to them. There are college going bloggers, my favorites, writing about the difficulties of adolescence. There are romantic bloggers, who write about the beauty of love, and the sweet nothings of life, they take you to a different level altogether. There are bloggers with children, and it is fascinating to read about how different life is when you have kids, something which seems so far away for me, but yet it seems so exciting.

I am a bit wary of "Blog Celebrities", and I dont know why. There are times when I come across an awesome post, and feel like commenting, I click on comments and go through a sea of people who have already commented. Sometimes as many as 70 to 80 people. Everything that could be said has already been said and I dont feel that I shall add any value to the comment chain. And I humbly bow out. Sometimes its good to follow blogs silently, because there are too many loud vociferous followers who are already giving all the required flattery/criticism/opinions and there is more than enough competition to catch the bloggers attention :).

I also feel the need to explore the blogging world outside of the Indian blogosphere. I somehow mostly read blogs of NRI bloggers, people who have an Indian origin, but live outside India. Obviously I am able to relate to them better, and I am very curious to know how others cope with the life of an Indian outside India. However I have lately been thinking about reading outside my "Indian" and "NRI" blogging world, especially as my blog has an international audience. I dont think I will be interested in technology blogs (in spite of being in the technology profession, I prefer technology articles to technology blogs) or political blogs, but international blogs which tell us about the lives of people all over the world is something that will surely interest me. And as always, I shall keep you updated of any note worthy blogs I come across :)

And heres something to chew on:

Truth in Blogging
Modern Day Bully

Top image source: Cartoons from:


  1. you said every possible detail in this...I was nodding throughout the post..:)

    At times i hesitate to comment for "Blog Celebrities" just put in words what i feel exactly..

    If you can make more blogger friends(to an extent of chat friends) you can get more traffic..this is another trend i hv seen..Nothing wrong in it..but,just to add to your list ! My personal feeling is 'Our work shd talk for us'.

  2. Well said Merlin. You totally read my mind. As for the celeb blogs...sometimes I'm even skeptical of it's authenticity.

    And the blogger categories were quite an interesting read...I seriously wonder which category you've put me under.. :P (wicked smiley) lol

  3. Merlin, you are a genius.. you'll most likely see me say that over and over again to all your posts.. you are that good of a writer..

    I haven't been blogging all that but even I have felt a difference in my attitude/posts.. when I first started blogging all I wanted to do was vent and perhaps reach out to someone going thru something similar to what I was.. but now that I have had a few followers I find myself editing my posts constantly - fearing my readers reaction and on a number of occasions even deleted posts that I had worked on simply because they sounded too boring and I wasn't sure if it would appeal to "my audience".. but I know that I cannot do that any longer.. after all, I am primarily blogging for myself, and if I have to start editing my own thoughts, I may as well shut down the blog..

  4. You are a great writer. As I've told you b4 I've been blogging on blog spot for 3 years now and I recently started getting more hits. In a way it does inspire us to write more carefully but at the same time I am not here to make other people happy. It's their choice to check out my blog and If they don't like what they see then.. too bad. Plus most bloggers stay within a certain circle and in my opinion that sucks cuz in that process a lot of good blogs get over looked (such as yours). Cheers! and keep penning such amazing posts!

  5. Good observation!!!
    "There are some blogs whose popularity is uncanny". cent-percent agree!! have seen such kinda blogs and have to say their writing is worth the popularity..if you come to know the secret, pass it:))

  6. Brilliant as always.
    Very well written and I loved the disclaimer after every para...hehehe ;)

    Yes! I am one of those bloggers who write only for themselves :P..but my blog is not hidden because I want to connect with fellow bloggers. It has introduced me to someone of the nicest souls. Just like you said, some blogs remind me of the phases I have been through, some make me realize that there are phases of life that I have not yet reached. Often, my fellow bloggers, who are mostly strangers..ppl i have never met in real life and have interacted only in the me feel better, help me find a solution, share my happiness, my sorrow, they give me comfort which ppl around me are unable to give me.
    Yes! There are times when I don't want ppl to comment on a particular, i just disable the comment option in tht post or request ppl not to comment and they don't :)

    Merlin's world rocks :) Keep blogging :))

  7. and I am here.. and that was an amazing research done on blogging and bloggers..

    I think I have justified myself... I blogged day in day out... made a lot of blogs.. wrote a lot of posts(because I think a lot).. -this was when I was blogging previously.. I had around 200 followers at my blog in 6 months.. but I used to blog like the amount of hard work I had put in, I still didnt expect such great response..

    This time around I just told some of the bloggers who I used to read regularly, that I am back..and slowly I am getting some of the appreciation I was totally missing out on during the period of absence..

    Though I wouldnt want to turn it into something professional.. it is just very relieving that there are some like minded people and blogging also helps sometimes from coming out of grave confusions and I know that by experience..

    thanks for that mention Merlin. I am deeply honoured..


  8. @Vyshu: Lol about Blog Celebrities, I just wrote that and realized some people who read my blog are pretty much blog celebrities :)

    @Priyanka: Your and my blog dont fit into any of these categories as yet :)

    @Rookie: "I have to start editing my own thoughts, I may as well shut down the blog" Completely agree!

    @Jal Pari: Thanks a lot!

    @Wishesgalore: Am still looking for the secret :)

    @Rhapsody: I will agree that for you, you do blog ONLY for yourself, because there are times when I cannot make out what you are talking about at all (and maybe thats just because I am kinda dumb ;) ) Just kidding, thanks for your comment :)

    @Rane: Whatever you say, your blogs popularity is uncanny!! And there has to be a secret behind it :), I will wait for the time till you spill it out