With The Slugger Awards 2008 happening in Belfast in a few hours, I’ve been wondering… Why this interest in Blogging? Why is it so popular just now?

I had a call last week from an NI Libraries Information Librarian asking whether I’d get involved in the SELB Library events. She’d seen the Welcome to the Blogosphere workshop I’m delivering for QUB’s Open Learning Programme and wondered if I could deliver a few demos on Social Networking and Blogging. I was up for the challenge. We’re starting with two demos and who knows where that might lead? It’s nice to get asked. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, why are people, increasingly professional people, interested in blogging? In addition to The Slugger Awards, The Irish Web & Blog Awards are taking place in Dublin on 24th October. I’ve had some thoughts:

  1. Blogging is free. One of the most popular is WordPress, which this blogger uses. In NI, Blogger is also very popular. There are no set-up costs with most online blogging software, though if you wish to customise a little more, some companies will charge for that. In any case, set against the cost involved in getting a website professionally designed and written, the outlay is comparatively small. We all love free stuff.
  2. But, what is the draw for publishing your thoughts, opinions, articles, photos and in many cases, heart and soul, online? Well, the internet is a large part of our modern world. Blogs are created and written by all types of businesses, universities, mental health charities, healthcare organisations and book vendors. It’s not such a great leap to think that journalists, business people, writers, artists, bands, photographers, political and religious activists, individuals or mums and dads would also want to make use of it to claim their very own piece of the internet. Why not?
  3. A new community is created every time a new blog appears. There those who simply read and do not participate in comments or discussions (‘lurkers’). There are those who have opinions and want to share them. They are the ones who will get actively involved in making intelligent (or not so intelligent) comments and keeping the discussion going long after the blog post has ceased to be current. Some rant, some cajole, some persuade. This feeds additional posts and ideas and more readers and commentors. Some commentors will simply stick at that. Some will develop their own blog and give birth to a new community, probably overlapping a little with the ones they are already involved in and so the mess of interconnections continues. See Slugger O’Toole which has developed way beyond its original one-man show. I can only think it is a good thing. Why should the big news networks have all the news? Why should the pro-bloggers of the world have all the subscribers?
  4. It’s addictive. Like any new phenomenen, it appears to many types of people for many types of reasons. But, once you read your first blog post, you want to read the next, assuming the person can write and has something interesting to say. And, once you’ve got into the habit of reading your first blog, you’ll want to return to see what is on their blogroll… You’ll start off reading a work-related marketing blog and you end up at the hilariously addictive Well Done Fillet. Ascerbic anonymity makes for the best personal blogs, in my opinion.

I often get asked about blogging. People know I’m a blogger and they want to know first of all what a blog is. Then they ask do I read lots of blogs? They ask what my favourite blogs are and could I send them the link. People also ask if I prefer blogs to people. (It depends. :))