Thursday, May 18, 2006

The whys and wherefores of blogging

Publishers Lunch informed me that the Arts Journal was acting as host to a blog 'in which a variety of traditional and nontraditional arts critics are debating the role and influence of critics in the web-driven world of infinite voices, ratings and tags.' This as a prelude to the Book Expo America (BEA), which is the US equivalent (roughly) of the Frankfurt or London book fairs and which runs, with some overlap, from 19-21 May.

One post on the Arts Journal blog which caught my eye deals with the question of why people bother to create blogs anyway. And it asks a question which, for many bloggers, is a key one: how can you make any money out of the damn thing?

Well, admittedly it's very difficult, and I for one have never made a penny out of mine -- not directly, anyway, and I can't say that I've noticed a dramatic effect on the sales of my various books. However, in my case, I am not too fussed about the money because I am retired.

So, if I'm not doing it for the money, why am I doing it? And I don't mind admitting that it's only recently that I figured it out. The answer is, it's a continuation of a lifetime preoccupation, namely education. And it combines very neatly with another lifetime occupation, namely writing.

Almost my entire working life was spent in education, either as a teacher or an administrator. So I was, in various capacities, an educator. I was also, at one point, an educationist, in the sense that I made a formal study of education, including a PhD. And I even wrote a book about education.

As far I'm concerned, therefore, the blog is just a natural extension of all that. It's an attempt to pass on knowledge of various sorts: knowledge about how to do things, and how not to do things. What to expect, particularly if you're a writer, and what not to expect. Information about books which are worth reading (imho) and also those which are not worth reading.

Of course you'd probably prefer not to know that I am interested in education, since most people have an aversion to being educated, in the formal sense. But we try, my sources and I, to make it as painless as possible.


Martin said...

I blog because I enjoy writing and because it's easily the most abundant source of appreciation from my fellow man that I have access to. I'm a research scholar without a university job, subsisting on small grants and waiting for the Boomers to retire.

Nobody outside my family cares if I get out of bed in the mornings or not, but a fair number of people worldwide would notice if I quit blogging. That's worth a lot to me.

Annabooklover said...

I also thought I blogged cause I enjoy writing but now that I've read about your educational twist I must admit I have that too.
Once a teacher, always a teacher

Maxine Clarke said...

Excellent post. (They all are, but I especially like this one.) I have linked to it on Petrona.
all best wishes

Anonymous said...

I haven't been doing this long so am still trying to work out what it's all about. Your education twist as annabooklover calls it has chimed with me.

At my present position on the path I regard the blogoshpere as just another medium, but a medium where there are no impassable barriers (yet), so that anyone sho's prepared to put a bit of effort into it will get quick rewards.

Blog Bloke said...

I blog because it's my first name. And nary a day goes by that I ask myself why? And the same answer always returns: Why the he** Not?