This one’s going to get me into trouble. Maybe that means it’s a good post. Or maybe it means I shouldn’t write it. Too late. I already made that collage of blog logos.
I have a question: why do some bloggers feel the need to brag about their lives? OK, now let me backpedal 20 steps for anyone who just became offended so that later I can say “I didn’t mean you.” I think it’s fine to talk about your life via your blog for the following reasons:
1) You’ve moved away from home and you want to keep your family informed of your life’s happenings.
2) You sprinkle in posts regarding your personal life amongst posts about other topics.
3) You don’t expect anyone to read it, which means you don’t tell people about it (e.g. you don’t link back to your blog when you comment on other blogs)
4) You’re famous.
…and on the following conditions:
1) You don’t aim to make people envious by boasting, gloating, showboating, vaunting, gasing, puffing, shucking, cock-a-doodle-dooing, or otherwise bragging about your life in any way.
Well actually that’s just one condition, but it packs a punch. You may be wondering what prompted me to write this. There has really been an explosion of bloggers lately, and it seems like everyone I know blogs. Naturally it follows that there has also been an explosion of useless blogs (like this one) and bloggers blogging about what their blog means and why they even began blogging in the first place, especially when they blog on the topic of blogging. Finally, we’ve seen an increase in the number of bragblogs – blogs filled with themselves and nothing else.
So, after being asked by my wife, as undoubtedly most bloggers have been at some point, why in the heck I waste my time doing it, I started thinking about what, indeed, the purpose of a blog truly is. Without going into too much detail and crossing the line from gimcrackery to shimshanklery, I believe the overall purpose of a blog is to entertain.
You can be entertained in a variety of ways. Humor is entertaining. Learning is entertaining. Current events are entertaining. Reading about your friend who is traveling abroad is entertaining. Sports are entertaining. Reading about a friend doing a DIY project is entertaining. Basically any blog I read that I enjoy is classified as an entertaining blog, which is the only reason I read it in the first place. I am just as entertained when I read a Kotaku post about Half Life as when I read a By the Narrow Gate post about film scores.
You know what’s not entertaining? Bragging. I’m sorry that I can’t give you any examples (not due to lack thereof, but out of politeness), but I’m sure you know what I mean. Time for another list to supplement my point. Here are some dead giveaways that you’ve been posting to a bragblog:
1) Every post is about your actions instead of your thoughts.
2) You give too much information about your possessions or skills.
3) Your posts don’t seem to contain references to people/events around you unless it is to point out something grand about yourself.
4) You feel the need to announce to people when you have just written a post, instead of letting them find out for themselves.
Number 4 above refers to posts about yourself. It’s different if you post an hilarious youtube vid and you tell people about your post so that they will go watch it. By the way, I’m sure I’m violating a different set of “how not to blog” guidelines somewhere by being condescending and sounding like a know-it-all idiot and not being facetious enough. I’m sorry, but I’m trying to do a service to the majority of blog readers out there. I’ll continue my point in the following paragraph since this one has hit my apparent maximum of about five or six lines.
At last count I read about 15 or so blogs on a regular basis, and that doesn’t count the hundreds of blogs I’ve stopped off at once or twice, many of which were bragblogs. So, if you’re reading this and wondering if I’m talking about you, then ask yourself if you fall into any of the categories mentioned above. If you do and you are fine with it, then I probably don’t/wouldn’t like you in RL. I’m sure me not liking you isn’t enough to sway you, but just stop and think about how many other, much more influential members of society – armed with opinions of greater consequence than my own – may not like you either. I have no idea if I’m talking about you or not and I don’t have a specific blog in mind.
You’re wasting your time if you maintain a weblog simply to boast about your accomplishments, because no one is going to read it and be entertained – they’re just going to be offended. Again, I’m not saying if you talk about yourself in your blog, you have a bragblog. After all, the whole purpose of blogs in the first place is to “chronologically journal your personal life”. The problem is, some people interprete that to mean “chronologically journal your personal accomplishments.” If you can’t think of anything else in your life besides your accomplishments, then it’s going to be tough to understand what I mean.
For instance, when I think of my personal life, I sometimes think of my accomplishments, but much more often I think of the people I love, the thoughts and ideas I have, the things I think are funny, and the mistakes I’ve made. I’m truly a humble person and also a great person with no flaws as you can tell. Seriously though, most of us think of these types of things because they are what make up our personal lives. That is, unless we are closed off to the world, in which case it’s all about our accomplishments.
Please notice that I never said you had to be a good writer or a funny person or have great grammar or awesome topics and all of that and I know that some of you out there write your blogs to an audience of only one or two specific people and I know that there are many uses for blogs besides those mentioned in this post and I’m in no way pointing out the superiority of my blog and I realize I’ve ended a post with another run-on disclaimer sentence because it’s just what I do and I’m fine with that thanks for asking.
This isn’t meant to be mean, it’s supposed to be a helpful set of guidelines for all of us. So, if this post has offended you, then it could be you that I’m talking about.
Photo credits: All images (except the first one) were taken from Despair Inc.