A friend recently posted this question on her Facebook page:
"Do bloggers really want honest feedback or are they just looking for affirmation? Blogs used to be filled with interesting ideas and cutting edge information, but now in a time when everyone and their monkey has a blog, I am beginning to wonder what the purpose is..."
After a little back and forth banter, I responded:
"I've actually thought about this a bit from a professional point of view - as an archivist. People now have an opportunity to have their words and lives saved in a way they thought they never could before. Perhaps posting online is a way to validate yourself, make a statement, and know that the words will be there 'forever.' I often spend time convincing my audiences at programs that historical societies are interested in their family papers. While people seem to intuitively 'get' that the Internet is waiting for their words and that in a digital environment people care what they say, they don't translate it to papers at an institution, but it's the same thing. It's sort of as if the Internet has given them permission to have their ideas saved for posterity."
In an age where we explore our identity online -- from "Lifestreaming" to personal timelines to "curating our world to show our own unique point of view to spitting out what is on our mind at any particular moment -- what is the purpose of the blog? And how does this all fit together from a documentation / community / life story perspective. Do people post with an expectation that others will read and converse? Are people just trying to make their own mark on the world?... or maybe a little bit of both? Is blogging a bit like graffiti tagging or is it more permanent like having your collection of personal papers in an archival repository? (And yes, I do want your honest feedback, as always. I don't need personal affirmation here.)