A recent discussion on crit-geog-forum, which began with a request for other blogs by geographers, had the question raised as to why anyone bothered with blogs? The commentator said that “it seems to add nothing, but gears and joys itself on self-serving romance”. I sent this reply, slightly edited, to the list.
As a notebook, as previous respondent David Murakami Wood suggested; as a noticeboard (I post/link to quite a lot of stuff that I think might be of interest); as a place where I can say things that I probably wouldn’t work up into publications, but which I think are interesting nonetheless; to publicise my own work, talks, etc.; as place that I can try out ideas and sometimes get feedback… the reasons go on.
Yes, much of it is personal (though there is much I don’t write about); and might be seen as self-serving – but then so are personal websites. Nobody forces you to read them. But it’s my blog, was set up for my own reasons, and the readership comes as an additional and pleasant second to that. I never expected to get regular readers, and have been quite surprised at the readership, both in terms of numbers, but also from where in the world – over 100 countries on the last count. Nothing I’ve written in more conventional media has come close to that.
My own blog aside, I completely disagree that they ‘add nothing’. I have a long list of blogs in google reader (now that bloglines is defunct), and find them invaluable as a source of information, provocation and inspiration. I now find them far more useful than email discussion lists.