How do you explain blogging to those who don’t blog?

I was reading a new blog I found Adventures of the Reluctant Housewife (well actually she found me and I just follower her over the Pond to her blog) and she asked the question: How do you explain blogging to those who don’t blog?

Take my husband for example. He calls it ‘that thing you do’.
Until that is we got a free day out at Drayton Manor Park through my blog and suddenly he started asking questions.

I’m not talking about those who use blogging as part of their job. I mean the ‘hobby bloggers’ the ones who use this platform as a sort of therapy. They mix with other bloggers in the same or similar boat, they share stories, advice, support – it’s like a therapy group only with people you don’t know.

Which, when you think about it, sounds really bizarre. I mean what possible appeal could that hold?

Personally I blog because I enjoy it as an outlet. It means I get to write down the funny things that happen in our family, or that my children say, or thoughts that are on my mind or great things I want to share.
The fact that people come here and hang around is a big ole bonus.

But to those who don’t blog, or who have never read a blog, it must seem like the strangest way to spend your time.
And I often wonder, is it only bloggers who visit other blogs or do casual readers ever stop by?
I know two very good friends who regularly stop by – Suzanne and Jane (hey girls!) and Jane has even now gone on to launch her own blog (because, I suspect, her two girls just don’t listen to her enough so she needs another outlet!)

Can you actually make friends with someone you have never met?
Sure you have online banter and you share a common passion (be that your children or your hobby or your work). But is that enough?

So I ask the question: How do you explain blogging to those who don’t blog?

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28 Responses to How do you explain blogging to those who don’t blog?

  1. Pontecarlo Shoegal says:

    I'm new to blogging and have found it a real release, when I was a teenager and in my early teens I wrote a diary and this just feels a bit like that. I have no idea if anyone reads my blog (like I said I am new) but as often it is a stream of consciousness I'm not sure it would make sense to anyone else.My husband finds it strange that I have made such good friends on line (through a chat room initially and since through facebook, twitter and some of us have even met). They are a great bunch, and I consider myself lucky to have them.I love the idea of blogging as a community and am really enjoying reading other peoples blogs as I explore – but to explain it to others, this may be akin to trying to explain the allure of Louboutin to someone who doesn't get shoes!

  2. Mum Gone Mad says:

    I am a bit secretive about my blogging habits to be honest, I suspect that's because I am more me on my blog than I might be in real life. So, to answer your question.. no idea 🙂 but I enjoy it lol

  3. Tammy Howard says:

    I have yet to successfully explain it. I get together frequently with a group of gals – one of whom reads my blog (and does not blog herself) and the other three who know nothing about it. They are constantly sort of making fun of it. The one who reads tries to stand up for me, but they won't hear it.I did it for almost a year before it became social for me. I just like to write. Now that it's become social, it's a lot more fun, of course. But I think if the social aspect disappeared, I'd still write (though probably not as often…)

  4. Mrs OMG Pregnant says:

    Oooh good question. I dont know. And I dont tell anyone I know in the real world as its my outlet so say how I feel, in all the gorey detail. Its like therapy. I have made some great virtual friends, but have not yet crossed those friendships in to the real world. so in answer to your questions, I have no idea. But a great post all the same xxps. I used to read blogs before I was a blogger…

  5. I used to explain it as being like a news website written by me – but I think that's a bit work-y. Over time, I've started to think of blogging as much more of a community that you join rather than something that you write. So I'd say there are thousands of people online sharing thoughts and stories and advice, and a blog is the platform you use to join the conversation.

  6. b says:

    What a great question. I blog because I love it. My green blog TGF is more of a business related one, I am sharing my passion for making the world a better place and love highlighting all the great finds there. I have met lots of really great people with similar passions and am forging great relationships with this. My personal blog is just that. I do not tell my friends or family about it, but am happy for my blogging friends and community to share it.

  7. Kat says:

    I agree about the community. I have friends that I keep up with through blogging…and many of those friends…well, I've never met them. And I have met quite a few other bloggers. Including one that is actually moving to my neighborhood!Then for casual readers…I know that I have a few readers that don't blog. And I have friends that read mine…never comment…and don't have their own blogs…

  8. Smitten by Britain says:

    It is not an easy thing to explain and second only to Twitter on the "why and what for" scale. In fact, other than telling my husband and son, I kept my blog quiet for the first six months and discussed it with no one. As time went on, I slowly dropped it in conversation and included a link as part of my email signature. Then one day, about eight months into it, I was at lunch with friends and one of them asked me point blank, "Why do you do it?". I must say, I was caught a bit off guard and frankly had never really considered how I might articulate it to another person. I was taken aback and actually felt a little defensive about it because the question was asked with a judgmental tone. I expect this was exactly the type of situation I had been trying to avoid since the beginning, hence the wall of silence. So I hemmed and hawed for a few seconds and then said, "Well, I enjoy it. It's a creative outlet, a way to express myself and a vehicle for meeting others who share the same interests." It wasn't quite as put together as that but basically that was the gist of it. My friend later told me that she felt I got defensive. Maybe I did and maybe this is why I still don't discuss it with family, including my parents. At the end of the day, I feel like you either get it or don't and it's not my job to explain it to you.

  9. Ann-Marie says:

    Hi there Tara, What a great post. Blogging for me is an opportunity to connect with like-minded women, and to share whatever's going on at present. I think that it allows our hearts to speak up over the head talk of 'you shouldn't do that' or 'you can't say that'. It's a place where we can have our say and know that there is a supportive and generous listening out there. I believe that friendships grow at a fast pace because we get be us, warts and all. For me it's a fantastic way to keep in touch, with my family & friends in Ireland. And I absolutely believe that great friendships can be born and nutured online. So how do you explain what blogging is to those who don't blog? Show them, I say. Logon and let them play :0)

  10. Betsy Wuebker says:

    Don't. Just don't and then you can be all enigmatic and stuff. It makes one far more fascinating. They'll think you're sipping absinthe and talking to Kafka. Seriously.

  11. Alicia says:

    No advice, as I'm totally new to the blogosphere, but I relish the anonymity! I don't share my blog with people I know in real life – how could I when its them who I write about! hehe

  12. Brit in Bosnia / Fra says:

    Great question.For me it is the community. I'm lacking in a mummy network here and blogging brings me access to lots of other people with similar age kids going through similar things. But I blogged for a while before I really developed the community so that can't be the only reason. I guess it is a diary thing, recording the little things in life. But finally, I enjoy the writing. With a PhD thesis to write coming up, I need to keep writing, it makes it a bit less daunting!

  13. The wife of bold says:

    That's a tough one and also the reason i try to keep it as secretive as possible – my hubby knows and i have dropped my blog into a couple of conversations with friends but none of them have actually read it as i won't tell them my blog name hehe – i just don't think people get it unless they blog themselves.

  14. SandyCalico says:

    What a great question and one that no one in real life has asked me. Probably because they don't know what a blog is.I was quite lonely, having moved miles away from my friends to live near OH's family, when we had children (free babysitters – yay)!I started reading blogs and writing my own at the same time and now I'm addicted. I love the sense of community.I also love writing. For a lot of people, once they leave school they stop writing. I wrote a short story over the weekend. 1600 words in two hours! It's opened up a whole new world for me!!

  15. Expat mum says:

    Having just been to a Blog conference with over 1500 attendees, I can tell you Marketing and PR people think it's BIG business. They were all over the place.Some people definitely blogged to connect with other (usually women) but I would say about a third were selling something, whether it was a product or their writing.Tine Brown spoke and basically said print journalism is on its last legs and everyone will be getting their news from blogs soon.

  16. Lisa (Jonnysmommy) says:

    The other day my dad told an old high school friend of mine that I have two blogs. She looked blank and the conversation moved right along. It is hard to explain to people that I "blog" and enjoy it and meet other people. I'm always saying things like; "This woman who writes this blog I read…" to friends and my son's sitter. They just smile and nod and I'm sure they are thinking either "what's a blog?" or "she needs to get out in the real world more. Poor girl."Still, I blog for the connections, to update my family and as a creative outlet for this former reporter, now community editor. P.S. If everyone gets their news from blogs soon, as Expat Mum said, I hope those blogs will be more accurate than they are right now. There are some news blogs that are all about "sensationalism" and not about news. There are others that are excellent. I hope they can find a happy balance.

  17. Nota Bene says:

    I always say it's a way of exposing my personal and private life to anyone who's daft enough to want to read it…I then get even more quizical looks

  18. Millennium Housewife says:

    I gave up ages ago, if they really want to know I direct them to the blog so they can make up their own minds. I've lost a few friends this way.

  19. vered says:

    Sadly, it is much easier explaining it to people now that I earn money blogging. While I was doing it as a hobby, it was much harder to explain.

  20. Kimberly says:

    I sometimes think my "bloggy" friends get me better than anyone else. My family makes fun of me and I don't bring it up with friends any more because they just look confused!

  21. Reluctant Housewife says:

    Hi there! Great post! Thanks for the link.I still haven't figured this out. I just know I love to blog. I love the writing and the creative outlet and the I love that it allows me to meet and get to know other women with similar interests all over the world…But I sometimes hesitate to talk about it. I hate that it sometimes feels like a dirty little secret. I don't think it should, but sometimes it does.

  22. Miss Searles says:

    The friends that know i blog just seem to thik of it as another one of those gadgety/internet/geeky things that i do Lol OH understands that i use it as a bit of an outlet and to help me feel more organised…my mum struggles to use the internet, she knows i blog but i don't think she'd have the first clue where to find it!x

  23. Kat says:

    I think I am one of the lucky ones. Most of my friends know I blog, they might not read it, but they accept it as something I do. Then I have my family, who are VERY supportive. They read every post. Even though they do not comment, my mom or my gran will call me with comments. My mom has even got the people who work with her reading my blog and some of my old high school friends read as well. Now, when I explain it, I say something along the lines of, "I am a blogger. I don't know if you know what that is, but basically I am an online writer." It seems to get the gist across.

  24. Yummy Mammy says:

    Oh interesting one. Very few of my real world friends know about my blog or read it. Actually I don't want my real world people reading it, given what I say about some folk! For those that do know, it is refered to as the "column" in public. Luckily nobody tends to ask questions when that is said.I do find that my blogging friends get me more, because they read about my stuff, pay attention and invest time and energy in keeping up with my latest goings on. When I had my recent high drama I suddenly realised how many people do read and came running to offer help and support. That to me is real friendship

  25. Coding Mamma (Tasha) says:

    Interesting one. I think I have come to like the community most and have made some good friends through it, some who I've met in person and other's who I've never met and possibly won't ever manage to! I used to read the Guardian Family section on the Saturday (as well as other sections). It was the first section I went to and I lapped up most of the articles and columns, because they were about real people and real life (not in a TV Quick true story kind of way, though). Since starting to read blogs, I've given up my Saturday paper, because I get the same thing – and much, much more – from reading parenting blogs. I enjoy the writing and I love getting comments and seeing what others think about the particular topic of that post. I love when someone says my post was 'interesting', 'thought-provoking', 'well-written' or 'hilarious' (the latter is rarer, as I'm not so good at the funny). I love the insight I get into others' lives. I don't tend to talk much about my blog in real life, because I've had past experience of people being derogatory about online socialising of any kind (though everyone's doing it now, of course!). But I don't hide it, either. The blog feeds into my Facebook page, so friends and relatives can read it there, if they want to (and I sometimes get comments from them within Facebook). The funny thing is that Chris tends to tell everyone about my blog – he seems to be very proud of it (I think this may be the free stuff I've got to review, but I think he's also interested in the whole process and the community aspects, too). My mum will drop Rosemary off and he'll say 'Tasha had a PR person ask if she wanted to review some music.' or 'Did you know Tasha won a Wii through blogging?' and stuff like that. But I don't tend to mention these things myself. I had a real-life /blog crossover the other day, with someone from town commenting (and looks like she may be setting up her own blog, which will be nice).But, yes, the impetus to regularly write and the wonderful sense of community are what I get most out of it. The odd free book or game to review is a bonus, but not one I'd require to keep doing it.

  26. Turf Dad says:

    Wow, no men comments.I started my blog to keep in touch with my baseball buddies. None of them kept in touch. But I enjoyed the blogging, so I kept doing it.Now my blog is just a place that I try my hand at writing and keeping up with the friends I have made on-line.

  27. Jo Beaufoix says:

    Brill post Tara. I blog for much the same reasons as you, as an creativeoutlet, a way to remember the stuff my kids say, therapy. I love that I have this place where I can write and be silly or serious and nobody minds. I love that I've found people like me, and I love the friends I have made.At first I didn't tell may people that I blogged. My mum read, my sister, friends in NZ, but now when people ask what I do I tell them I write and include my blog in that. Some of them ask what it is and I try to explain but it only tends to be those interested in writing or technology who actually go and have a read. One friend, Rosie Scribble, started her own fabulous blog, and 3 others have asked how and are thinking about starting their own too. I love it, and it doesn't bother me at all that some people proabably think I'm a bit weird. People probably did anyway… ;D

  28. Andrea (ace1028) says:

    I saw the same discussion over at Reluctant Housewife and responded there, too. I think it's one of those things that you can get if you don't do it, but might not truly understand to the extent of those who participate. It's like a journal that you share w. the "world," a creative outlet and a way to connect w. others out there who are interested in similar things as you, or just plain entertain you, too!

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