Iâ€™ve been hit by the introspective “Why Do you Blog?” meme by Greg Laden, a most estimable and eponymous science blogger. The meme poses a simple question that begs a complex, potentially melodramatic response: Why do I blog anyway?
The story of how I came to start 10,000 Birds back in August 2003 can be perused at the Bird Watcherâ€™s Digest site. Admittedly, that article doesnâ€™t answer the question directly, but its very existence does offer insight into why I think, to paraphrase Roberto Clemente, blogging has been very good to me. In a nutshell, I blog for myself, others, and myself, in that order.
I blog for myself
In the beginning, 10,000 Birds seemed like an ideal way for me to further develop two important interests. The first of these, birding, was a new hobby for me, but a logical extension of my lifelong interest in natural history. My theory was that a commitment to daily observations on avifauna would not only accelerate my education, but drive it in directions I might not otherwise pursue as a more casual birder. In practice, this theory proved even more effective than anticipated. Less than four years later, I know way more about birds, and nature in general, than I ever imagined, yet my education seems to be just getting started!
The other interest, or more specifically â€œskill,â€ I thought a blog might develop was writing. Though I write for a living, blogging calls for a different skill set, one more applicable to other forms of media. I donâ€™t recall whether I enjoyed the Danny DeVito/Billy Crystal buddy movie, â€œThrow Momma from the Train,â€ but Iâ€™ll never forget the line repeated over and over: â€œWriters write, always.â€ That goes double for bloggers!
I blog for others
As an educator, I realized that a blog was an excellent way to drag others along on my adventures in avifauna. Many of my earliest posts were written to answer my own questions. Since that time, Iâ€™ve tried to include lots of â€œevergreenâ€ information about birds, locations, products, and terminology so that 10,000 Birds might serve as a resource for enthusiasts of every level. I firmly believe that every life is enriched through contact with the natural world. Whether you can access nature through birds, beetles, butterflies, or charismatic megacarnivores, youâ€™ll be happier for it. With hope, this blog helps others move forward on that journey.
I blog for myself
At the end of the day, in my most honest and reflective moments, I have to admit it: I love site traffic. I love when other sites link to this one. I love the recognition of my peers and adulation of the masses. Well, I donâ€™t get very much of that last bit, but then again, not many bloggers do! My point is that I get great satisfaction from the fact that others enjoy my work and contributions. Even more that that, Iâ€™m thrilled about the friends, online and off, Iâ€™ve made through 10,000 Birds. Nothing about this experience has been cooler than going birding with many of my online colleagues. To think that just tapping away daily on whatever topic interests me at the moment has somehow connected me with a network of like-minded souls is mind-blowing.
So thatâ€™s why I blog, Greg. I bet you never imagined my response would be so long-winded, but thatâ€™s how I roll.
Now, I canâ€™t in good faith tag anyone with this blog because just this past July, I exhorted the entire I and the Bird community to explain why they blog. The responses produced a legendary (at least to me) first-anniversary edition of IATB. If youâ€™re wondering why so many superior nature bloggers do what they do, thatâ€™s a great place to start.
However, a lot of bloggers declined to discuss their impetus that first time and plenty more blogs have come to the party since. In the interest of inviting more explication on this topic, I invite anyone who wishes to answer the question, â€œWhy do I blog?â€ to write about it and leave a link in my Comments.