From what I understand web users typically agree that there are two main reasons why bloggers blog. Basically people do it for fun or for money. Although those reasons are valid and constitute a substantial portion of the blog-o-sphere there is a third reasons why bloggers blog, to spread ideas. This blogging motivator is in many ways like the Open Source Project and more bloggers should take into account the reasoning mentioned here and apply it to their own blogging convictions.
Blogging: The Motivators
As I previously mentioned there are already basically two predominant reasons bloggers blog. The first is for monetary purposes. Ever since the invention of the god awful click ad, bloggers have been attempting to turn their part time hobby into a full time profession. Now it seems that every darkened street you turn down in the blog-o-sphere there are more and more ads popping up left and right. Some blogs manage this well, others shamefully peddle any half-brained service that is offered to them through their ad clients.
Listen, I don't want to be mistaken here. I think it is great that people are trying to gain a bit of cash from their hard efforts, but this should not be the mission of a blogger and soon you will see just why that is.
Additionally, the second motivation is simply for fun. Most people's blogs have one reader, the author. Oh yeah, their mom might scoot over to the site during a boring PTA meeting, but besides that there is relatively no traffic coming to some people's blogs and they could care less. For some, blogging is a means of relieving stress. For others, it is a tool for chronicling one's life. Either way, these people don't worry themselves with traffic, one hit a month or one hundred thousand hits a week, it makes no difference.
Again, there is a purpose here, it just might not be the most lofty.
Blogging and The Open Source Project
Alright, so let me first explain a bit about the Open Source Project. Basically, ever since Bill Gates pretty much invented the idea of proprietary software there has been a need out there for hobbyists to tinker with software. Eventually, a new idea emerged, The Open Source Project. Since that time hackers everywhere have been opening code to everything from operating systems, to browsers, to apps in order to share ideas and create something big from the ideas of the common collective. The basic idea here is to share a common commitment to achieving a common goal towards the free flow of information for the common good.
Proponents of the Open Source Project are all about what is known as "copyleft" (the opposite of copyright). Copyleft is basically the creative commons license. What that means is that you can tweak an application, copy it, distribute it, so long as you don't sell it, and you let everyone else know that it's open source.
The world is shaping itself around this movement and I believe that bloggers need to catch on. No, I am not suggesting that bloggers not have any protection of their ideas in their posts. What I mean is that bloggers need to embrace the open source spirit as their motivation for blogging.
Case Study: Myself
I started this blog a few months ago with no other intention but to make my ideas heard. I stood by for some time and read the blogs of others and enjoyed the ideas and contributions they made. What I didn't like was the motivations they had.
Don't get me wrong, many bloggers that write with the motivations I mentioned earlier are doing a great service for other many people. Some collect advertising and still help out countless individuals with the wisdom of their blogs. Others simply blog away practically hidden from the rest of us, and that is exactly as planned it.
I, on the other hand, want to be seen, but not for the sake of profit. I want my blog to be read and my information to be digested in the true spirit of the open source project. I can care less if I make money from my blog (which is great because I use wordpress to host A Higher Level), but I want my ideas to spread. I want people to become inspired by my posts like I have been inspired by so many others. I want people to read my blog for the sole purpose of the free exchange of ideas. I want to be a part of a community who shares comments and suggestions with each other in order to form a more perfect blog-o-sphere.
What you do now
Think about your motivation for blogging. What the main reason you blog? If your answers is because you want to make money that's just fine. Your type will continue to flourish with the praise of the collective, however, try not to get too wrapped up in feed stats, technorati scores, page hits, and the rest. Enjoy your blogging experience. So many people get burned out with blogging because they are constantly trying to make their blog more marketable and earn more money. Take a break once in a while and allow yourself to fall in love with ideas, specifically your own. There is nothing wrong with being an egotistical blogger, having confidence in yourself is the first step towards writing your next great post. All-in-all realize that there is more to blogging than the cash.
On the other hand, if you are one of those bloggers that just blog for the sake of it I suggest you think about the impact that your could make on the world. If you want to write about your life that's just fine, but try to find an angle that you can share with others. If you are going through a rough time, try to use your blog not only as a tool to vent frustrations but also help others dig their way out of the avalanche as well. Use your blog as you see fit, I'm not here to tell you otherwise, but I want you to be aware of the potential impact you could have on a world looking for your advice and your guidance.
Finally, here is one last tip on spending the money you make from blogging. If you have a blog and don't already have ads on it then I suggest you get some. If peddling ads is not your thing and you don't care about the money, fine, but if you are going to make an easy buck from a major corporation and don't really want it then consider giving back. Donate your money to charity. Writers here at earn cash for their contributions through ad revenue, its not a lot in most cases, but it adds up. The Newsvine team has a one-click option of donating all or part of that money earned to needy organizations where it can do more good than buy you a pizza or something. At the end of this blog there will be a few links to those organizations. Also, if you do already make money from your blog because that is how your earn your living, I would still suggest giving back in some way, shape, or form.
To conclude, I don't want to come down on anyone for how they blog or why. It is mostly my intention to offer a middle passage between the hardcore path (making money) and the softcore path ("fun"). So keep in mind the open source spirit as your blog, I hope this post was helpful.
Originally posted at A Higher Level