Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why Do You Blog?

Susan Petersen of has been thinking, and asked the big question for bloggers:
Why Do You Blog?
And promptly threw it out as an Open Discussion topic.

Here's what she posted:
Why do you blog? Here are some possible reasons:

  • To document your research journey and discoveries?
  • To share information with other family members?
  • Hope that distant cousins will discover the blog and contact you?
  • To provide a forum for family members?
  • To promote your genealogy-related business?
  • To connect with other genealogists?
  • To plan and promote a family reunion?
  • To earn extra income through affiliate links?
  • To write scholarly articles about genealogy or history?
I'm sure the answers are different for every one of us. In the comments section below, please share the primary reason why you blog.

Okay, I'm going to add my two cents in here, even though I'm pretty sure I'm about as common and run-of-the-mill as most genealogy bloggers in my reasoning.  But I'll do it on my blog, as I'm pretty sure I'll be wordy enough that a comment on her post would be insufficient.

I've probably mentioned, I'm an IT guy by profession.  Comfortable with technology.  Embracing of the new media.  I've probably been blogging for years, right?  Wrong.  I started blogging in late 2010.  I'd considered writing a blog before, but was never sure I would have enough to say over a long enough period of time to make it worth starting a blog.  But something happened that strongly encouraged me to start a blog, a challenge of sorts.

At the time, I'd been unemployed for 18 months, and looking for another entry into the IT world.  I did networking the way they say you should now, LinkedIn and Twitter and FaceBook and so forth.  I'd been on Facebook for a couple of years already, but added Twitter so I would know how it worked (and why) if it was needed to support someone in a job.  I joined LinkedIn at the urging of my local Workforce Center case worker, though I could see the wisdom of the additional networking, and the online aspect just naturally appealed to the geek in me.  I was also attending seminars of various sorts, some for job search skills, some for IT skills, and happened on one for both.  This seminar was the challenge to start a blog to help networking in the job search. 

The specific challenge was to create a blog while still at the seminar, and to share your blog with the rest of the group, and to follow the blogs of all of the other participants.  Well, being a somewhat IT-related seminar, I started an IT themed blog.  I chose to use Blogger, both because it was easy to pick up, but also because it was the platform being demonstrated at the seminar.  That blog was The IT Guy.  Original, right?  But it got my feet wet, allowing me to get used to blogging by talking about something I knew, Information Technology.  Except I kept also throwing in photography.  Straying off-topic.  Hey, it's MY blog, I can do that if I wanna.

Around the new year, I got to thinking that a blog might make nice cousin bait.  And I had sufficient time to write.  And now I had an idea of what I was doing.  So I started this blog.  While cousin bait was the initial motivator, I had also been doing some work on researching and documenting my family history and that of my wife, and I considered that a blog might be a good way to preserve some of the more story-oriented family history, as opposed to strictly a data dump like a GEDCOM file.  And photographs, of course.  I have albums full of family photos from my paternal grandmother.  What better way to share them with my far-flung family than a blog?  And so on, and so forth.

Cousin bait, and a place to post family history, and a photo album of sorts.  But also, I wanted others in my family to have access and read and participate.  I sent out some notifications that I had started the blog, and I know a few people looked at it right off, but I'm pretty sure none of them are still reading.  At all.  So, who am I writing for?  I'm writing for me.  And potentially, for my descendants, and other descendants of my family that may one day pick up the genealogy bug, the family history bug.  By putting it on the Internet, I'm virtually guaranteeing it will be there for them when the time comes.  And for you, my readers, most of whom I am pretty sure are also genealogy bloggers.  I read yours, you read mine.  I get new ideas from you, and I hope you have learned a thing or two from me.  It's for you that I occasionally write about a technology issue that might be helpful, or something to be careful of.  Years down the road when my descendants might read this, the technology will have long since passed beyond what I discuss here.  But you can use it now.

So I started writing, and with the time on my hands, I managed to keep up with daily posts for almost three months straight.  Not bad for a novice blogger!  But then I got a part time job, and suddenly didn't have as much time.  And a second part time job, and even less time.  And then a third.  By now, I'm trying to keep up with a few posts a week, usually induced by prompts such as Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun or the 52 Weeks series.  I'm resolved to keep up with the 52 Weeks at all costs just to prove to myself I can keep it going.  And I enjoy the SNGF challenges when I can do them.  And I do enjoy writing the odd post every now and again, when I have energy and time to do it, and all of the things that need to go into a post, like scanning photos or funeral cards, or transcribing obituaries, or whatever.

Life is changing yet again, as I am preparing to start a new full time job back in IT Support, doing what I do best.  Hopefully the stability will leave me with more energy and time to keep posting! 

This an all other articles on this blog are © copyright 2011 by Daniel G. Dillman