Why do people blog? Is it to make their most personal thoughts public to the world? Is it to just rant and rave? Is it to simply be cool?
Well, for some those might be the reasons why they blog, but for many of the most popular blogs on the web, blogging is done for completely different reasons. Below I’ve explained a few of the things that drive the web’s biggest bloggers, most specifically those in ministry. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but represents many of the popular answers to the question, “Why blog?”
First, some people blog today to share wisdom they’ve acquired or lessons they’ve learned. This is true for those in many different professions, but especially those in ministry. The benefit of being able to read the thoughts of a church planter in the middle of planting or of a pastor who has taken a church to the level you want to see your church is invaluable. And not only is it invaluable information, it’s free! Those who have blogs for this reason are often very kingdom minded and simply desire to share thoughts that will benefit others in similar situations. Examples of this type of blog are Lifechurch.tv’s blog, Swerve, Steven Furtick’s blog or in marketing circles, Seth Godin.
Secondly, some people blog to create buzz for a new book or to continue dialogue following a book. This can be valuable for a number of reasons. You can often see thoughts unpackaged more in a blog. It also allows for two-way interaction with an author and his readers as apposed to the one-way communication of a book. An example of this would be Alan Hirsch. His blog is actually named for his book The Forgotten Ways.
A third reason some blog is to communicate information specific to their church. This includes upcoming events or focuses, sharing real experiences from their life, as well as sharing follow-up thoughts to a message or teaching. This allows people within the church to not only get specific information regarding upcoming events, but also allows people to get to know their pastor in a more personal way and see his/her humanity in midst of ministry. Regarding sharing follow-up thoughts, one pastor has actually said his blog used to compliment his weekend messages but now he wonders if his weekend messages actually compliment his blog! Very few who blog for this reason, blog simply for this reason, but some good examples are Pastor Jeff’s blog and Perry Noble’s blog.
A final popular reason for blogging is allow a forum for discussion. This type of blog often has multiple authors and will, at times, have better information in the comments section than the actual post. The purpose of this blog is to bring people together around a topic or upcoming event for the purpose of discussing issues pertaining to that topic or event. These types of blogs usually have a peak in readership, but rarely maintain a steady following. An example of this type of blog is the FutureAG blog. It was created to foster discussion for the Assemblies of God General Council this past August.
These are some of the more popular reasons for blogging, but as I said earlier, this is by no means exhaustive. Blogging is a creative practice and therefore is done for many creative reasons. Although I’ve listed many different reasons individuals blog, rarely will a person blog for just one of these reasons. More often than not, their blogging will have multiple purposes.
In the days ahead, I will continue this series discussing, “Where can I blog?” and “Who blogs?”. If there’s something you’ve always wondered about blogs or blogging, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it.