To blog or not to blog….
Years ago when I decided my old website needed a face lift, I heard–and read–tons of advice: “You need to be blogging, not just writing a newsletter.” Why? I questioned peers and studied the words of experienced bloggers and thought, “Does the world really need one more blog? Who really cares? And why? Who wants to read my private thoughts and opinions, anyway? And with my schedule, would it be blogging or bogging?
Years later, many have traded blogging for other forms of social media. But others have seen a growing trend and began their own blog.
What Is Blogging?
What is blogging anyway? If you’re new, you can find plenty of generic introductions to blogging, like this one from WordPress, and Daniel Scocco’s post at Dailyblogtips.com.
Why Start a Blog?
Everyone has his own reasons for blogging. Sue Gunelius, an About.com guide, lists “Ten Top Reasons to Start a Blog,” like marketing your product, sharing an opinion, helping people, connecting with others, and making a difference. “Just journal your thoughts,” someone else offers. “Blogging is just journaling your thoughts to the world.”
Hmm. I actually love journaling. Years ago as a young mom I remember sitting for hours writing both my complaints and celebrations–intended for God’s ears alone. Sometimes I’d think, “Am I wasting my time?” I shamed myself for chaining my heart to a pen and a desk, pouring out words no one would ever hear–while work sat untended. Who cared about my scribbling? God did. And He encouraged me.
So I continued to journal through the years. In the process, penning my thoughts has also helped me become more accountable. How? By taking the truths God has shown me through His Word and through personal reflection, and applying them to my own life.
Journaling – Accountability
So, what does all this have to do with blogging? For me, the thought of “accountability” triggered an additional reason to start a blog. In the same way as journaling does, writing publicly–as in blogging–makes me accountable to both God and others: Will I write what I live and live what I write? Whether we like it or not, our words represent us, who we are, and what we believe. And when you are “out there” blogging, your vulnerability may rise by volumes. But so can your positive influence.
Should I or should I not blog? After considering a multitude of reasons, I listed some pro’s and con’s for myself.
Seven Reasons for Not Blogging
- Everyone else is doing it.
- It will make me look good and feel important.
- It will improve my social status.
- It will help me acquire more followers.
- It will help make a better resume.
- It gives me a platform for sharing my own opinions.
- It establishes me as an expert.
Seven Reasons for Blogging
- It uses my creativity and unique, God-given gifts.
- It will keep me accountable to God and others.
- It can broaden my ministry influence.
- It can attract more followers to Christ.
- It can help make a difference.
- It gives me an opportunity to share God’s encouragement.
- It can showcase God as the expert.
Some of the reasons above for not blogging may be legitimate reasons to blog. Those are just not my focus.
Blogging experts remind us, “Focus your blogs;” “Target your audience.” So what is my focus? Here’s what I hope my blogs focus on: encouragement–precisely, encouraging others, heart to heart, particularly toward intimacy with God. Most of the time the content is devotional driven. And who is my audience? Like my personal journaling, maybe only One, but I hope the blogs also encourage you–whoever you are, whatever you do.
Does that mean your blog should only focus on a Christian message? No, all of us have practical skills and expertise we can share with others that will enrich their lives. And your particular worldview usually rises to the surface, no matter what you write. Each has his unique reason–and her own special purpose for blogging. Only you can determine that purpose for yourself.
So, now that I’m blogging, who cares? Maybe no one. But God does. So I write for Him, to Him, and regularly about Him through the eyes of both a student and a follower. And in so doing, it encourages me and keeps me accountable. If I encourage only one other person, then it will be worth the time. And if that person is you, then I will have written that blog just for you.
Should You Start a Blog?
But what about you? Should you start a blog? You may or may not be a writer. If you are an author, check out Thomas Umstattd’s blog at Author Media. In addition to his posts on blogging, he offers plenty of helpful technical tips for authors. On my resource page I’ve listed more helpful blogs on writing as well, like my agent, Steve Laube’s blog .
But if you’re not an author and have no desire to write professionally, and if you have no reason to “market” a product or service, remember that you can still use blogging to effectively connect with people by sharing your own unique thoughts. Obviously, blogging is not just “journaling.” I found support blogs for cancer survivors, as well as helps for Moms like Jill Savage’s blog or MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). Even with all the social networking sites, scores of people still enjoy personal blogging.
Each One, Encourage One
In a 2008 Blog Herald post, Anne Helmond stated that Technorati was tracking over 112.8 million blogs–which might only include the English language blogosphere. With so many voices floating around in cyberspace, why start a blog at all? Whether you decide to or not, everyone can be aencouragers where you live or work. What skills can you pass on to someone else? What experiences might benefit another? What lessons have you learned or stories you can share that would give hope, laughter, or help to others? Another parent may need your support; a friend could benefit from your advice; a youth could use your wisdom; a senior may need your respect. If each one encourages one…think of the positive impact we could have on others, just by encouraging others, one heart at a time.
And we all need accountability.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17, NIV).
I’ve been a writer for over 35 years, but I hope to never stop learning.
Whether you blog or not, will you help encourage others, one heart at a time, this week–through a kind word, a thoughtful deed, a listening ear, or an anonymous service? Just to inspire you, would you read this (Words to Live By) on my greeting card page? You truly can make a difference.