“Why do you blog?”
It’s not merely a question; it has been turned into a meme. Even though I’m usually against memes, who would I be if I didn’t question my own dogmas?
So, as suggested by Strawberry Singh, and inspired by Inara Pey who took Strawberry’s challenge, here are my own answers. Be sure to get back to Strawberry’s post to check on the comments on her original post to read plenty of other people’s answers
Unlike Strawberry or Inara, I don’t blog only on/about Second Life®, and this is not my only blog. So my answers were often a bit harder to give!
- How long have you been blogging? About Second Life, since July 2004. About other things, well, half a decade before the word “blog” was coined.
- Why did you start blogging? There was just a handful of blogs about Second Life back then. I thought it would be a nice idea to organise a blog with tutorials and tips for newcomers — everything looked so incredibly hard for me on the few days in Second Life, that once I figured out something, I thought it would be a great idea to share it with others! To this day, people still visit my old “Beginner’s Guide to Second Life”, written in 2004, and utterly outdated, but apparently some people still find it useful. On the other hand, the explosion of the SLogosphere meant that far better people started to write about the same things, so I focused on my pseudo-intellectual essays instead
- How many times a week do you post an entry? I wish it were “many times a week”. These days, it’s about “a few times a month” 😛 On the good old days when nobody was constantly pestering me to, well, work (yuck!), I used to post 3-4 times a week.
- How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis? I actually read very, very, very few on a regular basis. To be honest (sorry, guys!), I just read Inara Pey regularly. If she links to someone else, I know it’s worth reading, so I will read it too. When Inara doesn’t post anything (which is rare) I might feel tempted to read the New World Notes, Tateru Nino’s Dwell on It, or Prokofy Neva’s Second Thoughts. And that’s it, really.
- Do you comment on other people’s blogs? Oh yes! These days, I do comment more than write new blog posts. Why? I have no idea!
- Do you keep track of how many visitors you have? Yes, mostly via Google Analytics and WordPress Stats (even though SiteMeter and others also keep track of my visitors — different systems give different results). My readership is like Second Life’s landmass: always shrinking
- Did you ever regret a post that you wrote? Sure, many times. Except for one (which was blatantly incorrect), I still keep them around, to remember me to smile about my stupidity
- Do you think your readers have a true sense of who you are based on your blog? A difficult question. I don’t have a true sense of who I am! All that my readers are able to get is a perception of who they think I am, but that perception is clouded by their own ideas and thoughts, just like my own perception of myself. Confused? You should read my series on the self (you’ll become even more confused, don’t worry!)
- Do you blog under your real name? I only blog about Second Life (and OpenSimulator) under my Second Life name, which is also a registered pseudonym and a trademark 😉 Actually, that’s not true, I think I wrote two articles about SL under my real name… that was a long time ago, to be honest.
- Are there topics that you would never blog about? A good question. I would certainly never write anything inciting illegal activities, violence, hate speech, terrorism, illicit or immoral practices, and so forth. And I tend to write about things in a positive way; even when being strongly against something, I refrain from crossing the line and actually be rude. Of course, I’m fond of sarcasm and irony, which sometimes can hurt even more… On the other hand, I sometimes write on opinions contrary to my own, or allow people on my blog to present opinions which I do not share. Extropia DaSilva, for instance, before she had her own blog, used to publish her essays here. This made many people think that I actually supported transhumanism or the extropian views; I don’t (I’m a Buddhist, we don’t need artificial technology to transcend our selves 😉 ), I just happen to like Extropia, who is a good friend, but that doesn’t mean I agree with her views. Nevertheless, I have no problems in publishing any ideas that are contrary to mine (so long as they remain ethical…). To be honest, I contradict myself often, and I have no absolutely fixed opinions — over time, I’m fond of defending the opposite of what I said in the past
- What is the theme/topic of your blog? While this particular blog started mostly as an assortment of tutorials and guides to Second Life, over time it evolved into a collection of socio-economic essays about this virtual world. While I’m not a sociologist, nor a psychologist, and much less an anthropologist, I find that all these areas are immensely fascinating in the context of what a virtual world means, and they’re little explored (that doesn’t mean they’re not explored — see Tom Boellstorff’s Coming of Age in Second Life). I just wish I had a good background to do the same kind of writing about fashion and art, two subjects that also fascinate me in SL…
- Do you have more than one blog? If so, why? Yes, I have more than one blog. The “why” requires a bit of an explanation. Fernando Pessoa, the most prolific and renown 20th-century Portuguese poet, used to publish under several heteronyms — distinct persona, with their own biographies and writing styles (even languages — Pessoa was fluent in English and French as well). Why did he write under different personas? A good question, but the best explanation seems to me that he just liked the idea to explore things from completely different viewpoints — so different, in fact, that writing under just “one person” wasn’t good enough for him. Well, of course I’m not so arrogant as to claim the same, but I feel there is a good reason for keeping completely different styles, topics, and themes under different pseudonyms. My real self is the one who writes least (but has written for a longer time!) As Gwyn, I also used to keep a (much neglected) business blog about Second Life, and sometimes I contribute, in Portuguese, to a collaborative blog with a tiny reader base.
- What have you found to be the benefits of blogging? To be honest, none whatsoever At the beginning, I had this illusion of being helpful to others, and that certainly encouraged me to continue. These days I’m not so arrogant With millions of excellent writers out there, I’m just a boring pseudo-intellectual with high-brow opinions (specially about myself). Perhaps the only good thing about blogging was to learn a lot about myself: for instance, about how high I held myself in my own regard, but that was just a paper tiger.
- So, why do you continue to blog? I’m a rebel The more work I have to do, and the more people pester me to focus on my work, the more likely I’m going to waste some precious time in blogging, just because I can Then I know I will have to handle all the complaining that I’m not focusing, not setting my priorities right, and so forth. Dealing with that is my way of saying: “You still don’t control me fully.” Sadly, as the rate of new blog articles has declined over years, I’m losing the battle, but I haven’t given up the fight yet…