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Senior Correspondent

The title of this post should suggest approaching with caution. I’m not sure thinking out loud, except to yourself, is ever a good idea, especially on a blog. But as I’m sitting here this morning, that seems to be where I’m headed, so here it goes.

I’ve been thinking the last few days more about form and less about content. That is, I’ve been thinking about blogging itself rather than what is written on a blog.

This thinking has been prompted in part by conversations I’ve had this week with several interesting and successful bloggers, bloggers who write about very different things for very different reasons in very different ways. I guess one thing that struck me is obvious. We’re not all here for the same reasons.

Some of us blog to make money. Blogging is either our main source of income or it is a source of needed or desired supplemental income, either directly through advertising or indirectly through promoting goods and services. For those, blogging is business.

Some of us blog to build community. Blogging is a forum for reaching out, making friends, creating connection. For those, blogging is relationship.

Some of us blog as a hobby. Blogging is not central to our day or our attention, but is recreational. For those, blogging is fun.

By now you might be thinking, as I am, that the lines are not so clear. I can identify at various times with all these reasons. The importance of clarifying our motives is, I think, that knowing why we and others do what we do in blog world will help us understand ourselves and each other better.

For example, if your primary motivation is business, then commenting is a way to build your “customer” base. You will comment on blogs that will provide some practical benefit to you. I have had bloggers comment on my blog for awhile, and then as they gain momentum, they move up the ladder, so to speak. From a business perspective, that makes sense. If I am in community mode, however, then I’m looking for relationship while they are looking for value. This could result in my feeling hurt or used if I am assuming that their motive is the same as mine. If I can recognize and respect our different motives, however, then I don’t take their decision personally. All is well.

Sometimes I sense some underlying judgment in the blog world. People who blog for business might dismiss those who blog for recreation. People who blog for community might look down on those who blog for profit.

I got to wondering why this might be. After all, we live in a world where we function in different contexts with different motivations. But perhaps in our physical world (as opposed to the blog world), these distinctions are more readily apparent and accepted. My interactions with people at work are different from my interactions with people at church, for example. The lines are more clear. In the blog world, however, we are all in a common space online, but sometimes with different expectations. It’s like taking all the people in your physical world — all the people in your family, at work, in your neighborhood, in your book club, at the store — and putting them in the same room and expecting everyone to relate to each other in the same way.

In the blog world, let’s not forget that besides our different motives, we come from different backgrounds, cultures, countries, ages, faiths and ethnicities.

Here we all are in the “same room” of blog world with a range of diversity unmatched in any one of our individual lives. It’s really astounding, if you think about it.

And I guess that’s what I’m doing today. Thinking about it.

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