Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why Do I Read Blog Posts?

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allWhy Do I Read Blog Posts?
I discovered why I read blog posts this evening. I’d been sifting through several hundred posts that I’d managed to stack up on my RSS reader.

I was aimlessly skimming, culling, skim-diving, reading, passing and bookmarking, when I found that the main reason I read posts is really nothing to do with networking, nothing about blog tagging and in no way connected with a desire to participate.

In fact, for a nanosecond, I actually felt a teenzy-weenzy twinge of guilt that maybe, just maybe, I’d started lurking again – back to how I was when I wasn’t a blogger. Like I used to be when I read the web2.0 like it was web1.0.

I thought, no, I’m not lurking if I’m not stimulated to post a comment.

I thought, hey, does that mean that the post I’m reading isn’t engaging?

Well, of course it’s engaging, for I was totally absorbed in its content and had been for several minutes!

I proved I wasn’t lurking when I came to the next blog post in my RSS.
I immediately dashed in a comment. And in an instant I felt this whelm of relief. No. I hadn’t lapsed into lurking after all.


Of course I’d been lurking! To lurk is to be a passive observer - inert - non-participatory - a legitimate peripheral participant. Ah! Legitimate!
It doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have an opinion. And it certainly doesn’t mean that my mind is so befuddled that I don’t want to participate.

It just simply means that I found the information on the site so fascinating, so absorbingly interesting that I didn’t want to be interrupted by a selfish, opinionated, egotistical act of writing a comment!

I wanted to think.

As it happens, the particular site I'd been reading wasn’t a blog after all, at least, not the sort of site that I'd call a blog, for I couldn’t have left a comment even if I’d tried to.

See if I care.

Why do you read blog posts?

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


Caffeinated Weka said...

Very well put. As Champion Lurker #1, I am a profound reader of blogs but a very occasional commenter. That should in no way be seen as a reflection on the blog or its author, yet we're led to believe that posts without comments, interaction, or even an acknowledgement are somehow less effective or successful than those which inspire novellas. Often, I am driven to comment if I very strongly agree (or disagree) with a point, but more likely when I actually have a moment to construct a note. Even short comments take some thought, yet I do not underestimate the ability they have to encourage a blogger in their writing.

It's late and I'm rambling. I just wanted you to know that this lurker gains much from following your blog (and others), even if it is more often than not digested in large gulps via my ever-expanding RSS feed reader.

Jeff Goldman said...

To answer your question on why I read blogs - I think I first started to read e-learning blogs simply to stay on top of what is going on in the e-learning design world. I was the only e-learning designer/developer at my org. No one to share ideas with or to discuss the latest trends. Blogs provided that for me. Now I am at an organization that has other e-learning designers, but they cannot possibly provide the diversity and depth that the very large blogging community provides (no slam on my co-workers, I am learning from them too).

So, I guess I read blogs to learn and be inspired. I comment occassionally with the hopes to inspire others or at least to contribute to the conversation and community. I write my blog for the same reasons.

Thanks for the thought provoking post.

Semi-lurking from my basement office,


Tom Preskett said...

I read blogs because this is the best way to learn and keep up to date in my subject area - Learning Technology. The learning process for me is reading blogs, putting these together with my on-the-job experiences, reflecting and posting on my blog. With my blog primarily for recording my learning.

One important thing about being a blogger is not to be put off or put out if no one comments on your blog. The important element of the social side of the blogosphere is the references/comments made within the posts themselves about other's blogs. Comments can be very useful but they should be used to measure the impact of a post (something that is not easy to do).

Also, for my type of blog, it's healthier to be ok with the fact that not many people read it. It's primarily for me to reflect and I make it public facing to ensure that I am coherent.

Anonymous said...

I read blogs because I love learning about people. Even on corporate or tech blogs, you learn so much about the people on the other end by the voice they use and the things they care about.

I don't leave a lot of comments, but I do peruse archives more than most people. I feel the best way to really learn about people's passions and perspectives is through the collection of their thinking over time, rather than a single article or post without context. That's why I read blogs: because they let me form a relationship with the blogger and the context they come from.

Tony Karrer said...

Learning and networking which leads to more learning. Thanks for being one of my favorite learning cohorts! Don't start lurking on all of us. :)

Anonymous said...

I used to be a real lurker in reading blogs. I was determined to learn as much as I could so that I could bring the best of blogging to my classroom and find out about all the wonderful opinions and new tools that are out there.
Sadly over the last few months, my reader is overflowing with unread posts and like you, the other night I started to read blog posts again.

Ken Stewart said...

Very well said, Ken. I think I have become more of a lurker as I have attempted to streamline my internet habits. I have struggled with the balance of consumption vs enjoyment, so I think I have tried both.

I think I will just have to live with the fact that I will swing back and forth on intense activity followed by periods of lurking - or even worse - non-activity ;-)

Warmest Regards,

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tenei to mihi ki a koutou!

All of you have nudged the conundrum in this post, and I am thrilled at the variety of your responses.

Kia ora Café Chick!

For a champion lurker, you (obviously) lapsed on this occasion. Your point about putting thought into a comment is so valid. I have been guilty of taking days to rattle the keys even on a topic that I feel a real need to comment about.

Thanks for your support.

Haere mai e Jeff!

I too use the blogosphere for much the same purpose as you, and likewise find a wider share of opinion there, especially in elearning. It also keeps me up-to-date with the advances. Without it my understanding would be years out-of-date. That's now diminished to being :) months out-of-date.

Haere mai Tommyp!

I identify with what you say about measuring the impact of a post. I'm still getting my head round the scope of this.

It IS not easy, even with all the analytical tools available for bloggers these days.

Tēnā koe e Sameer!

I know where you are coming from with learning about people's passions and perspectives through the collection of their thinking over time - I enjoy using that practice, not unlike getting to know acquaintances better for it's often from these that we choose our friends.

Kia ora Tony!

You are obviously a learnaholic as well as a networkaholic! ;)

Now I didn't suggest in this post that I had any intention of starting lurking. I only wanted to point out that I'd never actually stopped lurking - work that one out. :)

Kia ora Anne!

Yes, I've developed several techniques for tackling my RSS reader all of which fall over from time to time and I have to adopt evolved versions from past failures. It's really a bit like life in a way.

Haere mai e Ken!

Ah! Balance! Now that's something that, those days, is becoming increasingly difficult to attain. Some would say that it comes down to the difference between complicated and complex. If it's complex, then balance probably isn't attainable anyway - so why attempt the impossible? :)

Ngā mihi nui

V Yonkers said...

I sometimes just need the time to think over what you have written. Other times, I don't have time to post a comment (like you, I tend to have longer comments). Other times, I just don't have time to read the posts and have to prevent myself from reading them to get my work done (I hate those times).

Some of my favorite blogs, however, rarely have comments (Michael Hanley's and Collaborative Thinking are two examples). However, I know they are widely read.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

You and I both on this one. And I too have favourite blogs that I know are 'popular' yet don't get so many comments.

I think the 'lurker' has been given a bit of a hard time in recent years, perhaps unwarranted. There have been several discussions on this theme in the blogosphere. Frankly, I think that there are issues to do with lurking that may never be satisfactorily resolved.

One of them is to do with what a lurker can learn effectively by lurking rather than participating. I think that in many cases the fashionable doesn't match the actual.

Catchya later

bonnie K said...

Hmm, I am a blogger because...I love to write and read in the web community. I do lurk a bit, aimlessly clicking around my Reader, and it's fun to stop by and visit a wide variety of writers and often leave a comment and then look forward to returning, finding something come back to me. What a wonderful way to share with a wide community. That's what astounds me here in Nyack, New York early in the morning. I'm responding to a friend on the other side of the world. That never feels ordinary to me. I just love this web 2.0.
Sure I read books. I am loving The Angels Game at this moment, but it's just me reading alone. Somehow I never feel that way reading on the web.
So I will keep clicking around, building my Reader and sharing my excitement with the unconvinced.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Hiya Bonnie!

"Sharing my excitement with the unconvinced". That is an honourable pursuit for excitement is catching - even with the unconvinced!

I use Facebook and Flickr and now Skype/webcam to network with family. I frequently use the chat facilities with my sons and daughters all over the world and sometimes I get two on at once. That is something else!

Catchya later