I had an (let’s call it) argument with a friend the other day about why blogs exists, why read them, why write them and so on.
A lot of sites (especially blogs, duh!) around the web are giving us tips to set-up or to improve our blogs, in terms of readership, or in terms of readability, monetizing it, getting good search engine rankings and so on.
Meanwhile, there are only a few, explaining why blogging is good, to begin with. And there are even fewer that are explaining the advantages for the reader. Most of them are trying to convince me and you, that we should start blogging. Now. Because is hype. Trendy. Cool. Whatever. Extremely few are telling what’s in it for me as a reader. Why should I trust them. Why should I go for them. And how? And where? And so on…
Out of all these sites, we can find out that blogging is good: for our career, for marketing, for letting out our frustrations, for promoting our products and say bad things about competition, to promote ideas and so on.
But still? What’s in it for me, as a reader? Well here are some of my reasons.
Blogs are not meant to replace the classic websites, nor the forums and the like, as my friend kinda felt it. They are not even supposed to replace the mainstream media channels (online or offline) either. They are just an addition to a growing online world.
There is a lot of spam in the blogosphere. Well it is true. Isn’t it a lot of spam in the rest of the online world as well? The forums or forum posts that are placed high in search engines results are not necessarily the most informative, the best or simply are not necessarily always the exact information you’re looking for, are they? Would you say�I don�t read books, because most books are boring, inaccurate, and generally not worth reading�?
So what were my own reasons for which I started (and keep on) reading weblogs?
First of all, most of the time, on blogs the tone of the text is friendlier and more familiar. Bloggers don’t have to obey the politically correctness of the mainstream media or I don’t-know-what obsessions of some forum administrator. If you like how someone writes, you can definitely enjoy it at its best on his/her blog. Usually. Of course there is a research in advance. Of course you won’t like each and every one of them bloggers out there. But don’t tell me you loved every forum posts you read, or you are satisfied with the search-engine-given-results. You have to refine your search until you find the one that interest you.
Second of all, blogs (that I mostly read, at least) are focused on a niche. On a specific topic, subject, domain of interest. And even if sometimes you’ll meet an out-of-order post, you can always skip it.
Basically, reading blogs means you can give up finding the most comprehensive news source around and look for sources that you simply enjoy reading. Nothing bad happens when you stop frequenting the one-stop shop and instead connect with individuals writing on topics that interest you. In most cases, even if this means you read the news a day or two late, who really cares?
Even if now, it’s not anymore a competitive advantage of the blogging world, the ease of RSS reading made me start reading certain blogs in the very beginning. With the lack of online news aggregators from the mainstream media, discovering RSS readers was a relief (here is a nice step by step introduction on the subject). Nowadays, most of the mainstream media websites realized the importance of RSS and added support for it to their websites.
The fourth reason I started reading blogs is that I had some personal friends away, and reading their blogs was the easiest way to track their experience and stay in touch. I used to be in this case, and sending mails to all my friends with updates on what I have you done in the last week was pretty time consuming. Blogging is an easy platform for both (the reader and the author) to manage this kind of timely information. Multimedia included. (And did I mention free?)
Those were my reasons. Now I’ll just add some 2 more sources on the subject.
First, a list of 8 reasons why readers like to read blogs:
1. Expertise: Some bloggers know more about the subjects they cover than do most journalists.
2. Personal flavor: Blogs tend to reflect the blogger’s interests and voice, and readers often tend to feel a more personal connection with the writer than they do with journalists.
3. Original sources: Blogs tend to link to original sources for instance, articles they criticize, court opinions they report on, and transcripts they quote.
4. Ideological compatibility: Just as some readers prefer The Nation, some The New Republic, and some the National Review, so readers would prefer news coverage from sources that they find ideologically congenial and trustworthy. For many libertarians and conservatives, few news media (especially few text news media) provide this. Blogging fills that gap.
5. Selection judgment: Some blogs, like InstaPundit.com, primarily link to others work, rather than posting a lot of original text of their own. In this respect, they’re like newspaper or magazine editors, choosing which stories their readers would find interesting. Sometimes, you might find that a blogger’s selection judg-ment matches your own more than your local newspaper editor’s does.
6. Coverage of topics that other media don’t cover, or don’t cover in depth: Specialty topics (e.g., developments on the right to bear arms) and genres that newspapers find to be not worthy enough (e.g., detailed criticism of articles in other media).
7. Thorough coverage of a particular issue: A blogger who’s interested in an issue may cover it in more detail than a typical newspaper would
The second, is a study that blogads made among a blog readers in the last three years. Here are the first 5 results from last study with the answers for the question “you read blogs for?”:
83.86% – News I can’t find elsewhere
79.56% – Better perspective
67.52% – More honesty
65.54% – Faster news
54.28% – Humor
Having these said, why do you read blogs?