Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Hows And Whys Of The Blog or Blogerlicious

Blog Blog everywhere a blog messing up the internet, messing up my mind. What is it in the human experience that starts us blogging? What is it that spurs us on to be heard? What is it that challenges us to have our words and images “out there” on the great world wide web? In reading a number of articles about the subject of blogging and talking to many people who are active bloggers, I look into the hows and whys of successfully blogging.

First let's use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model, where Abraham Maslow (1943) models out the hierarchy of human needs, to chat about how these needs feed our urge to blog.

The first level of Maslow’s theory, which he deems is having the basic physiological needs met, we can see it does not solve the base issue of food, water and clothing. Now later on and if you are Paris Hilton you might solve this basic need but most people do not start a blog to survive. But let’s skip to the second of Maslow’s Model.

The basic need for safety, including safety of employment and social security in a family and a society that protects against violence. Does Blogging fill this need in even a small way? I would say the most obvious is those who blog for work. This would provide a paycheck and thus fill this basic need from Maslow. There are many blogs for those who are fans of weight watchers, ( does that count? I’m not sure, but I think maybe not. There are blogs for Amnesty International ( and organizations that talk of the protection of women So I would conclude that people do blog to serve this function but not for self ,but in looking out for others. But wait, that puts us a couple of steps higher in Maslow model so for now let’s day, no.

The third step in Maslow’s model is the need for belonging, to receive and give love, appreciation and friendship. Alright, now we are getting to the route of why some of us blog. This need to belong is very strong and blogging gives anyone (with a computer and WiFi) the ability to post a blog. By doing so they can feel part of a community of bloggers. They can feel similar to what book authors and poets used to feel like when they finally were published. The great thing is that to blog you can by pass the editors and the publishing houses and go right to being published. Now Stanly F. Bronstein, ESQ. blogs not only for belonging and love but also about it. Here he talks about the same model I am using for this paper. Stanley feels good and appreciated by blogging about this subject. I blog to feel a connection with my family. It is my family picture blog. I get lots of verbal love and appreciation from my family all over the world about this simple blog. So it does fill my needs on this level, but let’s keep on going.

The need for esteem. The need to be a unique individual with self-respect and to enjoy general esteem from others. Is it possible that people blog partially to fill this “esteem” need? Well Angie Pedderson has a blog entitled “The Blog of Me” In fact there are tons of blogs just about the people who write them. A study by Liu, X. (07) in China about blogging, talks about the many people who blog to reach out to others who may be interested in them. It is a human need to feel like we matter. To have this self esteem and bask in it. Now you might think that with the young people today being very self absorbed that they might be the biggest bloggers. I have seen no research supporting that idea. Blogging is a great way to reach out and search for esteem from people outside you own small circle. Now those bloggers in China can reach people in India and Iran. It’s crazy to think of the possibilities for connecting through a simple blog.

The last step on the pyramid is to experience purpose, meaning and realize all inner potential. First, what does that even mean? This is pretty heady stuff if only there were people out there talking about such ideas… O.K. Eric Vladman blogs about this very subject. Eric refers to when seeking inner purpose and meaning you need to experience personal growth “you will soon realize that to achieve personal growth on any level, you would ultimately require “Inner Energy.” Wow, in fact he even sells books and CDs that can help you with this whole thing. Interesting. Wonder if Eric is finding his purpose and inner potential by telling others how to do the same?

People not only blog to find these human needs, but they also fill their needs by filling those same needs in others, or at least the attempt to fill those needs or attempt to make a living by doing so. But maybe I’m splitting hairs? O.K. now I’m confused Maslow get’s us so far and by the time we get to the top, it covers most higher reasons people blog on a big picture level.

When considering why many people blog, I think you have to consider the many human needs and desires that drive us to do anything in this world. Maslow’s diagram is a great way to look at this need but it only gives us a big picture of the world of human needs. In order to see why many people blog we have to look at the ins and outs of Maslow’s diagram and then look at the more specifics. The answer is as varied as is the world we live in. No two people blog for exactly the same reason. We know that many people blog and we know that the burn out rate is great as well. So I think keeping things simple, writing what you know and being smart are the best tips for the blog writers of today. Stick with it and if you are filling your needs, you will be happy, fulfilled and most probably read, if not just by your Mom. But hey, that’s something, right?

Have fun out there.
David Yost
Creative Director