Tuesday, 26 May 2015


“Only on the Internet can a person be lonely and popular at the same time.” - Allison Burnett

I was reading last week about people’s blogging habits and the reason behind their blogging. This prompted me to think more about the topic and question further my own personal reasons for blogging. Firstly, I contextualised my own needs for this form of communication and where it sits with me and my own life. It was easier to think of reasons that I don’t blog for, initially. I don’t blog for fame or fortune, as this is neither the place to do it in, nor am I searching for either. Besides I have yet to hear of a blogger who received a huge cheque in the mail because of their blog!

I don’t blog to attract a huge following, proselytise people to my religion, convert them to my moral or ethical precepts, my way of life or ideas, or make money out of them. My list of blog friends comes from people who read my blog and want to connect, or the other way around - because I read others’ blogs and wish to have them on my list for easy access. I like my blog readers to be varied and representative of as many different kinds of people as possible, each with their own ideas and convictions, living in all kinds of places around the world and having different lifestyles, beliefs, values. I don’t want all my blog readers to believe the same things I do, nor do I wish them all to agree with me. However, what I do like in my readers is an enquiring, curious, open mind, one which is ready to engage in discussion and which is willing to open up to new ideas, as I am.

I do not blog to meet a partner, wife, girlfriend, lover, soulmate. I am happily partnered, but always welcome new friends into my life. Because of the nature of the electronic medium, making new friends on the internet is both easy and difficult at the same time. Easy because of the wide availability of a large cross section of people that one is constantly exposed to and the simplicity with which one may connect to them. Difficult because of the ease with which one may offend, disgruntle, bore, cause misunderstanding, lose contact with others. Difficult also because of that lack of real face-to-face conversation, sharing of everyday interaction, social gatherings, etc. However, this situation of creating long-distance friendships is far from impossible and is not unprecedented - in the past, several long-term and genuine friendships were contracted and maintained by correspondence. The charming and poignant memoir “84 Charing Cross Rd”  is a case in point.

I don’t blog to keep contact with my family. I prefer to see them face-to-face, talk on the phone, visit them. Even the ones who live thousands of miles away I prefer to contact individually, as privacy is important to me and they respect mine as I respect theirs. An ancient Greek proverb that was drummed into me as I was growing up stated “What goes on in your house should not be made public” and I am afraid that I have lived according to that. Incidentally, that makes me a good person to keep secrets, in the same way that I expect my friends and family to keep mine.

Another reason I don’t blog is because I don’t want to keep a diary of my daily occurrences of my life, my innermost feelings, thoughts, hopes and fears online and in public. I have a diary that I write in, should I wish to do that, and that (as most diaries are) is a personal affair, kept for my own reasons, my own perusal and represents a part of me that only I should see.

I don’t blog and subsequently send chain emails to people about my posts, believing this will bring me good luck, fortune, health, wealth or the like. I don’t blog to break any records, achieve honours in some hall of fame of Blogland, or be a featured site. I don’t blog to waste my time and hopefully my blogging doesn’t waste other people’s time (although there is an easy way to deal with that, should they decide that is the case - the magic “unfollow” button).

So, secondly, why do I blog? I have painted myself into a corner, you may think after listing all the reasons I gave above in the negative.  I blog because I enjoy communicating, and enjoy sharing things. What I learn, I wish to pass on to others. What I enjoy, and I believe can be enjoyed by others, I wish to share with them. I am delighted when someone tells me, “Here is a book that I have just read and really enjoyed. I think you will enjoy it too, because of a, b, c reasons…”  And what a delight when I do read that book by an author I was unaware of and I enjoy it too. I wish to do the same unto others…

I love learning and I shall continue to learn till my dying breath. I wish to learn about other countries, other cultures, other religions, other values, other lifestyles. What better forum to learn that in, than Blogland, which is peopled by a rich variety of ethnicities, nationalities, religions, geographies, political convictions, etc… It is a wonderful place to learn first-hand, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, about these other lives all around the world.

Blogland is the country where many creative people live. Amateurs, dilettantes as well as professionals. These people are very generous with their art and every now and then I get a real buzz when I discover some wonderful talents that they so generously share. I view, enjoy, praise and constructively criticise their work, if that is what is invited. In my own way, I too create and I also share my creations. All human beings wish to receive praise and encouragement for what they do, when they believe that it is done well. I am no different. Sometimes one feels that close friends and family will praise one because of an obligation to do so or because of a tactful loyalty. The praise of strangers is often much more appreciated, as one always feels it is more spontaneous and genuine. However, that is not my sole reason for blogging and fishing for compliments is not what I do in real life either. Besides, if one is willing to offer one’s creations to public scrutiny, one may always attract the criticisms of the professional, which can give one some exceedingly good advice for one's improvement, but what should be kept in mind is that the criticism may at times be quite scathing!

I blog to expand my horizons, to educate myself, to find new interests, discover new ways of looking at the familiar and unearth exciting things that I was unaware of. In the process, I feel that I must give something back to the Blogland community. I offer back into it my own discoveries, my own amazement and wonder of this world that we all live in. Often when I write my blog I will look up something on the net, a reference book, another book on my shelf and forget the blog altogether for quite some time. Blogging is yet another stimulus for my curiosity and need to learn.

In my time as a denizen of Blogland I have communicated with some people that are facing a time that is truly difficult and trying for them. Some of these people have chosen to use their blog as a safety valve, a path to catharsis, an avenue for liberating their emotions and feelings. Sometimes, their stories touch me and move me and I do what comes naturally - what I would do if I met someone wanting help next to me, someone close to me or even a stranger in need by the side of the road. I do what I wish others would do for me when I am in need. A kind word, a personal message, a thoughtful gesture may make an enormous difference in a life. Sometimes it is easier to speak to a complete stranger and bare your soul than it is to do so to your partner, your family, your friends. Sometimes a person who is completely neutral and uninvolved may see the situation from such a perspective that it sheds a new light onto your predicament.

I blog with what I hope is an open mind - I am not a fanatic and will change an opinion gladly if it is shown to me to be erroneous. I respect all people from different backgrounds, religions, countries, cultures. I appreciate the differences between us, tolerate other ideas and views that may be diametrically opposed to mine. I value freedom of thought and the right of each and every person to express it, provided they do not actively insult, demean or belittle others.

Seriously now, perhaps I should leave it to Albert Einstein to sum up for me:
“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed towards ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

For me blogging is a way of communicating, of generating friendships and creating understanding, sharing information and knowledge, exchanging points of view, enjoying others’ virtual company around the world. It is a manifestation of personal freedom and a demonstration of the power of ideas, the liberty of our thoughts. Blogging can contribute to our learning and our ennoblement, it can entertain and amuse us, it can move us and touch our lives in unexpected ways. Let us blog on!


  1. Well said Nicholas V - I agree with your reasoning. I have made several virtual friends from all across the globe and the more people I get to know the more I realize that basically "folks is folks" :D Thanks to a translator browser plug-in the language barrier is very effectively minimized so you can actually get news and views from around the world from unfiltered contemporaries (as opposed to organized news gathering services.)
    With that- the great thing about blogs is you can learn the interest and proclivities of people you might wish to meet by reading their contributions to the world wide mountians of freely available information. If there is no appeal, you simply move along - If you choose to tarry you will find any blog to be a wealth of information if not about the individual blogger, than at least a glimpse their world filtered through their communication style (and who among us is not fascinated by a foreign accent, even as revealed through the written word.)

  2. I enjoyed your thoughts, Nicholas. There are many good reasons to blog, and you definitely hit upon many of them. I have 'met' many interesting people around the world. I have written and shared some poetry that I would not have written otherwise. I think it is the connections that I enjoy most! Keep blogging....smiles.

  3. This is a great exposition of why a thinking person writes on a public forum. I have read so many posts in blogs that read like rants or hate bile that completely turn me off. To have someone write because they share creativity, knowledge and things that are pleasing and share-worthy is refreshing.

  4. Nicholas,

    You have very eloquently captured about all there is as an explanation for Blogging. I was quite nervous at first to commit any words into a public arena, to be read by anybody. As a rather shy individual, I gradually gained a degree of self-confidence as the interaction with other writers progressed. Two moments of negativity can be easily recalled. The first was when I foolishly parted with a reasonable amount of money, to join an online writing course. I submitted a poem to them and received such harsh criticism, as perceived advice. It implied that my description of spring flowers, must have been lifted directly from a catalogue. I was hurt and felt unable to defend my own writing, in the face of such insinuations. I recovered my enthusiasm and accepted that online courses were perhaps not for me.
    I set up my own blog and felt comfortable with exposing my poetic offerings to the online communities, of like-minded people. That is where I connected with Robert Lloyd, the founder of Poets United five years ago; that has been a most rewarding experience for me. International interaction with a respectful group of people, who enable personal fulfilment and growth, with their frequent support.
    Like you Nicholas, I keep home life, at home. However, I have made a few amazing and sincere friendships, which are invaluable to my life today.
    I have enjoyed your personal journey via blog-world-blogosphere immensely

  5. Great blog. I admit to lapsing in reading your blogs. Actually the blogs of quite a few people. Just went through a bad patch. Overly involved with things and people which did not benefit my life. Most of my long term blog friends from way back in the Y360 days are good influences but I have deleted a few. A time and a season.

    Glad I peeked in on you again.