What is the point of blogging?

I don’t have any research (or references) to comment about other bloggers, but at least I can try to address this question for me. Or maybe I can if I think about it hard enough.

After 20 months and nearly 500 posts I’ve stuck with blogging long enough, plus have been through various primary life issues in that time, to take a retrospective look at my ideas about blogging. I’ve learned a bit from the interaction with others, but frankly not very much since without any effort to “sell” my blog I don’t exactly have a large audience. But that meets my expectations since when I started I didn’t expect any audience at all and actually have been surprised to see some, or at least a lot of single reads of my posts and little sustained following. Of the various conclusions I might draw from examining my stats one conclusion I’m sure about is that people don’t like to read about dying or statistical analysis of weight control. But as, at least for the moment, that’s not a major issue for me anymore I can (mostly) drop that topic and move back to my normal ranting.

I just checked one of the trivial statistics I wondered about. In XML export form I’ve created 4710 Kbytes of posts, or about 9.5 Kbytes/post, which is probably really about 8000 characters or 1450 words/post. Pretty wordy, eh. Or looking at it another way, that’s about 1400 words/day since I started. (Interesting, these two stats are so similar). I don’t have any idea how many hours that means I’ve spent but it probably represents about 20 hours to read it all, about the same as a typical real book, so I guess it will take a really long period of idle time to go back and read all this. Naturally I don’t expect anyone else to read all this.

If you have read any/many of my posts you’ll know I like to look at numbers. I used numbers (all sorts) to monitor my weight loss program (now 65th week of that activity). Once you’ve accumulated enough data (of any sort) the statistics become revealing, in a broader sense, of the many tiny events that go into any activity. Frankly I wish computers and the Net had existed during my entire life so I could have recorded all sorts of data that I could now analyze. I’ve been on this earth for about 590,000 hours and I really wonder what I’ve done all that time. In the new future that is developing where potentially we will record almost everything about our life (in the Google Glass sense) and I would find that interesting to data mine all that mass of trivia to see exactly what life (at least mine) was all about. As most of us, certainly me, will leave few other footprints on life (like the few famous people who have biographers) looking at our own records, especially after many decades will be the only way we can have an objective record of our life. Clearly we remember only the highs and lows and most of  [any] life is neither of those, so what were we doing during all those other times when we didn’t record it in our own memory.

So blogging, at least of the personal variety, can represent, perhaps, the only record we might leave behind, for ourselves near the end of our life, and perhaps for posterity. Of course the posts themselves are probably almost entirely irrelevant to anyone else, so why not just do it for ourselves.

When I thought I was going to die (of MDS, see all those posts) I had the prospect that this blog might only continue for a few more years. Now I’m back to the normal human uncertainty of how much time I have left so we’ll just have to see how many more posts I accumulate and whether any of them have any future meaning. In essence all the blogging everyone does is really going to disappear in the sands of time just like everything else about us, but at least during our lifespan it is an interesting activity.

I’m actually a bit surprised I’ve stuck with this as long as I have. If you blog to get the ego gratification of attention from others then you’ll probably be disappointed (do Facebook and your “friends” for that). So without a external reward mechanism I have to continue this activity just because I want to and I wonder how much longer that will be true – we’ll see.

So this “analysis” hasn’t produced any insights and is mostly just wandering around. Perhaps it will take more years before I can come up with anything more interesting. So, Dear [imaginary] Reader, stay tuned.

FWIW: Just for fun here’s my top (reads) posts. Maybe when I go back and read all this stuff I’ll come up with my own list of favorites.

  1. Why robot missions are better than manned missions
  2. HTML5 sucks
  3. Impact of wired world – porn
  4. Dragon naturally speaking
  5. Evolutionary disadvantage of pessimism
  6. Sourdough loaf
  7. Maybe leaving California for Nebraska is not so bad
  8. The singularity gets roasted
  9. Converting my seed culture to Peter Reinhart’s “mother starter”
  10. 526 days to go and Marissa Mayer is an idiot
  11. Bread: Can America’s Test Kitchens beat Jim Lahey?
  12. Who was my ancestor?
  13. Peter Reinhart’s Transitional Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf
  14. Why I like geodashing
  15. Nate Silver’s book should be mandatory reading for Republicans
  16. Cute dragon voice of world wide wired porn – 3
  17. Applied Nate Silver – modeling a True 450 treadmill
  18. Yes, Let’s teach the “controversy”, all the “controversies”
  19. Impact of wired world – 13
  20. otherism and “culture”
  21. impact of wired world – multitasking
  22. Believing in afterlife is driven by fear and anger
  23. HP – RIP?
  24. Hybrid loaf – America’s Test Kitchen version of Jim Lahey & Peter Reinhart whole wheat sourdough
  25. Curiosity

The #1 rated post is merely due to the attaboy recognition WordPress supplied when they picked that post for the featured post. And #6 and #8 are the few posts that is linked elsewhere (in a comment in another popular blog) and thus a link people follow. The rest mostly come from searches (obviously including the most popular search term, i.e. ‘porn’) with the exception of the bread posts which seem to be a somewhat popular topic. This list hasn’t changed much since the last time I looked at these stats so it will be interesting to look again in another 20 months.

Addendum

I continued to look at stats and discovered I posted my top 25 about a year ago so I thought it would be interesting to see what has changed.

Dropped out of top 25 since Feb 2013

A wildly different topic for me – baking bread.
Was Jesus a Republican?
When real stories don’t turn out the way we want.
Free speech can’t offend others
Impact of wired world – Is texting social media?
Lies, damned lies, and statistics
Impact of wired world. (Intro: since I can’t quite get going on this)
Matt Taibbi has a way with words
Another Mars face phenomenon

Added since Feb 2013

Converting my seed culture to Peter Reinhart’s “mother starter”
526 days to go and Marissa Mayer is an idiot
Bread: Can America’s Test Kitchens beat Jim Lahey?
Peter Reinhart’s Transitional Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf
Cute dragon voice of world wide wired porn – 3
Applied Nate Silver – modeling a True 450 treadmill
Yes, Let’s teach the “controversy”, all the “controversies”
Hybrid loaf – America’s Test Kitchen version of Jim Lahey & Peter Reinhart whole wheat sourdough
Curiosity

Not sure I see any real pattern except for a bit of following about my bread stories. As a bit of market research this would indicate a topic I can continue to drive more hits.

 

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About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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