Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Survey Questions: Why Do We Blog?

Over the weekend I was browsing the blogosphere when I was led to Ms. Mazzola's blog. She is a fellow English teacher and is conducting research on why people blog. Since I have a special (and personal) soft-spot in my heart for English teachers, I thought I would try to help her out by answering the questions she poses:

1. How long have you been blogging? I read my first book blog in October, 2008 and finally had the nerve to begin my own book blog on December 9, 2008

2. Why did you start blogging? Last summer I began a Master's Program that lasts for 6 weeks each summer over the course of 5 summers. This was radically different from anything I had ever done in my life. A good friend of mine suggested that I start a blog detailing my experiences, not only for myself, but for family and friends who would like to hear from me. I took her advice and found that I really enjoyed writing down thoughts and feelings for an "audience" When I returned, my brother - who lives about 9 hours away - requested that I keep the blog up to date, as it gave him "insight into his sister" I wasn't opposed to doing that, but I needed a focus. Just about that time I discovered the world of book blogs and well, as they say, the rest is history.

3. What have you found to be the benefits of blogging? WOW -- there are so many benefits I am not sure that I can succinctly list them here.

I would say the first benefit is that I have discovered that I LOVE writing. I have always known that I prefer writing as a form of communication, but I did know that I had a passion for it.

Secondly, I have discovered an entire community of people who love reading as much (and some even more) than I do. I have always thought I was somewhat of an outcast: I prefer solitude to social gatherings and I prefer to read to watching movies (or just about anything else). This blog has allowed me to connect with others (while I prefer solitude, I do enjoy community --- odd, huh?) who think and feel and respond to life in the same way that I do. I guess, in a sense, my blog has allowed me to feel like I have a place where I truly do belong.

Thirdly, there are some voracious readers out there in the blogoshere. They read a LOT of books, they read a wide variety of books, they read quickly and they read constantly. By following their blogs I have been introduced to so many books and literary genres that I would never have found on my own. My TBR pile has grown by leaps and bounds (who am I kidding - I never had a TBR pile until January of this year) and I am constantly stretching myself to read something out of my small and very narrow comfort zone.

Finally (at least for now) I have discovered that reading is truly an ACTivity. I had never heard of a reading challenge before --- now I have to watch myself and monitor the number of challenges in which I choose to participate (the best place to find such book challenges in the website A Novel Challenge). Also, there is the 24 hour readathon in which I participated for the first time in April. This event is held twice a year -- the next one will be in October. Not only is it a fun ACTivity, but it is also an amazing way to bond with fellow bloggers and encourage one another.

4. How many times a week do you post an entry? I strive to post daily - but realistically my goal is 5 days out of 7.

5. How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis? WAY too many to count. On my reader I show that I am following 211 blogs (and that number constantly increases). I probably read on a very regular basis (meaning I anticipate the posts, specifically look for them, and read them as soon as I can) about 50 blogs. Others, I read posts as I have time for and I read the most recent posts first.

6. Do you comment on other people’s blogs? YES -- although I do not comment as much as I would like, nor probably as much as I should. Sometimes I struggle with the right comment to make -- I want it to be heartfelt and meaningful, not just a form letter, so to speak. I would say that I probably post comments on 25% of the blogs I read each day.

7. Do you keep track of how many visitors you have? Is so, are you satisfied with your numbers? Hmmmm......I am a VERY competitive person by nature. While I do not think this is necessarily a bad quality, it can be with me. I can easily follow every stat available, constantly compare my stats to others, and fall short every time. This, in turn, will create feelings of worthlessness and I will give up (can you tell I have had experiences like this in the past?) I want blogging to continue to be a personally enjoyable experience. To that end, I keep track of the number of people who are publicly following my blog, but that is it. Am I happy?! ABSOLUTELY. Currently I have 71 people who are following my humble little blog - and that is about 70 more people than I ever expected.

8. Do you ever regret a post that you wrote? Not really. One of my core values in life is to try to live with no regrets. I read and re-read my entries before actually posting them to the web. I do not want to make any grammatical errors (how embarrassing for an English teacher -although I know that I am not perfect and I often times slip up) -- and I definitely do not want to offend anyone. I HATE controversy (I will run in the opposite direction if I have a choice) - so I doubt I will ever publish anything that will cause a cyber revolution :)

9. Do you think your audience has a true sense of who you are based on your blog? Hmmm...I would hope so. I am an open book, so to speak. I am what you see -- I do not hold anything secret. Having said that, I tend to focus my blog on books, which means I don't publish too much personal information (although the addition of a new puppy -- the end of an academic year, etc - will certainly be mentioned).

10. Do you blog under your real name? Not sure what is meant by this question. I do blog under my real name (that is, readers of my blog know that I am Molly from Kansas), but my blog's name is not my name. I thought My Cozy Book Nook was more descriptive - and enticing - than Molly's Books.

11. Are there topics that you would never blog about? There are probably MANY topics that I would not blog about. As mentioned in question 8, I do not like controversy (so that eliminates many contemporary topics in the world today) AND I want my blog to focus on books that I have read or want to read --- not much else.

12. What is the theme/topic of your blog? I am sure you can all guess by now -- BOOKS

13. Do you have more than one blog? If so, why? Yes, but I really only have one active blog. The blog I began last summer was/is entitled: Molly-Mastering-English. I have been giving thought as to what I will do this summer when I leave for Asheville, NC for 6 weeks. I think I will maintain this blog - but the focus will be on the books I am reading for the Master's program, and the insights that I have gained from the in-class experience. Hopefully this will be of some interest to the readers of my blog.

Well, there you have it. Probably more information than you ever wanted to know about my blogging career -- but hopefully this will be of some assistance to Ms. Mazzola. If you would like to complete this survey to help a fellow English teacher, I am sure that she would welcome your feedback.

13 comments:

Toni said...

wow, these are some thought provoking questions, I will have to ponder them for a bit.

Blogging has become quite the hobby for me as well. It began as just a way for inlaws to keep up wiht us, now it has a life of its own.

And theres all the cool sites and moms I have found to chat and visit with.

I love your blog btw, you have some amaizng suggestions.

English was always my favorite subject so I quess I was a bit of a geek in school but thats okay. NOw I am teaching my own kids and its a blessing.

Kaye said...

Wonderful post as always Molly. I am personally so happy that you decided to blog. I love to visit here and am in awe with every review I read. You have truly added so much to the blogging community. If there were a "2 flippers up" award, you would win it hands down.... ahhh or flippers up. You get my drift. Anyway, thanks for dropping in today to read my review of Cut,Crop & Die. The contest will be for one copy of Cut, Crop & Die and one copy of Paper, Scissors, Death. So don't run right out to check out the first book. Who knows? You might be a lucky winner. Contest opens June 11 th. Have a great week, happy reading and thanks again for just being out there.

Ti said...

I enjoy these types of posts. I usually learn something new about the blogger and it just helps me get to know him/her that much more. You provided some very thougtful answers as well.

Margot said...

I liked reading this post and learning more about you. Your six week masters program sounds very interesting. I hope we'll hear more about that in the future.

Florinda said...

I took on these questions today too. I enjoyed reading your answers. It's interesting to find out what we have in common - and what we don't - yet so many of us are drawn to reading and blogging.

lilly said...

That's a great survey. i loved your answers as they give a lot of insight into your personal feelings which I suppose the whole survey is all about. It's very interesting to hear about your Master's program, now that I know you're attending it every summer I'll be cheering you on. I think it's wonderful you undertook furthering your education. My personal opinion is, you can never know too much.

Matt said...

Great answers! I enjoy reading about your blogging resume! Like you, I tend to comment on about 25% of the blogs I read, and I wish to be more personal. Book blogging has got me out of my reading comfort zone, and not to mention that I have met so many wonderful, kind, and well-read people!

bermudaonion said...

This was a lot of fun! I'm like you - I don't like controversy, so I will avoid subjects like politics on my blog and in real life.

Beth F said...

Super post! I loved your answers and I love your blog!

fantaghiro23 said...

Hi! I loved reading your entry as well. You're right, as an English teacher, it's easy to have a soft spot for other English teachers. And I do get a bit conscious about grammatical errors on my blog, though I'm sure there are some. But what they hey, nobody's perfect.:)

Oh, and I've been enjoying reading your other posts. Great blog!

ANovelMenagerie said...

Great post, Molly! Your blog has really grown so fast. Congratulations.

Trish said...

I loved reading through this survey and might steal it, if you don't mind? I think it would be great if this one made it's way around, especially as I've been wondering these things about different bloggers (why they blog, what they enjoy, how they comment, etc etc). Many of the benefits you have gotten are the very same ones I have--the people, the books, the variety, the challenge! I love it.

Thanks for sharing this with us, Molly!

Kathy said...

Great answers to these questions Molly. I think I might also copy them down and answer them. I honestly started out with the intent of posting at least 4 or 5 times a week but there are some days I am so tired that I can't think of anything to post.

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