I'm fairly sure I may have covered this at one point or another on this blog before. Several weeks back, a comment thread on another blog caught my attention (thanks @VladGorenshteyn) and decided to write an entire post about not only why I blog but why others may care to take the time. Also, since I haven't actually written a new post in a while, thought this would be a good topic to get some of the writing flowing again.
Showcase Expertise or Passion
Whenever I've spoken with @ChadATL to college classes around the area, we've always told rising graduates the importance of having a personal blog for professional reasons. In marketing, your home website is your main "hub" of information. The same applies to personal branding. If someone is taking time to blog about their career path, trending stories in their field and their opinions and/or experiences in their field, the odds of garnering future employment increases. From commenting on others' blogs and having my own stream of content, I have had several professional opportunities come to me simply because I thought to leave a contact form on my website. A blog is a good sneak peek into what kind of worker, employee or general thinker you may be beyond your resume.
You have to put yourself out there in order to get noticed.
A Learning Tool
So how could you learn if you're the one doing the writing? For me, taking the time to write about marketing trends and my opinions around my line of work help learning in two ways. First, it forces me to actually read what other people are saying. I can't blog about a trending topic if I don't do some reading around it first. To develop some form of an educated opinion, I have to do enough research to at least sound like I know what I'm talking about.
After the writing is done, comments are the next way to learn. If you put your opinions out there, expect to be challenged. Not everyone is going to agree with your POV - but that's okay! It's an opportunity to either dig your heels in the sand and defend your thoughts or take down your guard to learn from someone else who has a different (and potentially more accurate) perception. I've been challenged on several occasions here but have always learned more as a result.
An Act of Self Discipline
I feel somewhat hypocritical naming this since I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks. However, we get busy and it's sometimes near impossible to put out content worth reading every day. Small habits or routines help set a tone of having a more disciplined lifestyle. For some people, just taking a couple of minutes to make up the bed sets the tone for the day and improves focus for work. For some, blogging could be that same thing. Having one habit that you rely on could help you be more disciplined and focused in other areas of your day or week.
Journaling or "Lifecasting" Purposes
Though there are a variety of professional reasons to take time out to blog, I would venture to guess that the majority of your everyday bloggers are going to talk about lifestyle matters more than anything. The first few blog posts that I had ever written in my life back in 2008 were nothing more than to keep friends, family and supporters caught up on what was going on while I worked on a Summer Project with CRU in Gatlinburg for a couple of months. Following graduation, I started writing again to keep family members up to date on what I was up to in my first year of post-college living in Chicago.
Whether it's sharing your personal stories, thoughts or just getting things off your chest in some form, I think blogging has a lot of power there. It's not limited to long form publishing like this. Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and even Path could serve the same purposes that blogging does for others. It's just up to you to decide what works best for you.
So, why do you blog?
If you don't blog, what would make you start?