Blogging organizes thoughts. Recently I nodded in agreement when I heard a prolific author explain why he writes. He said the primary purpose for writing his latest book was to organize his thoughts on a certain topic. Writing an entire book is too much for most of us, but consolidating your ideas into a coherent statement is usually sufficient.
Blogging captures and shares thoughts. Once your thoughts are recorded in electronic form, you can refer to them and point others to them. If I am asked for an opinion, I can often point to a previous blog post. If the question is interesting enough, I might write a new post. That satisfies this reason and the previous one.
Blogging facilitates public self-expression. This is a positive aspect of the modern Web, if approached responsibly. Many social networking sites contain information people would not want to preserve for all time, but a carefully nutured blog can establish a positive presence on the Web. If you blog on certain topics that interest me, I am going to recognize you if you contact me.
Blogging establishes communities. The vast majority of the blogs I read are professionally-oriented (i.e., digital security). I follow blogs of people handling the same sorts of problems I do. I often meet other bloggers at conferences and can easily speak with them, because I've followed their thoughts for months or years. Book authors share a similar trait, although books are a much less fluid medium.
Blogging can contribute original knowledge faster than any other medium. Blogging is just about the easiest way to contribute knowledge to the global community that I can imagine. It costs nothing, requires only literacy, is easily searchable, and can encourage feedback when comments are supported.
I'll add some others:
- With 3 kids, ranging from 10 to 9 months, I don't get out much.
- You'd be how fast you can get in the top 5 on google searches for certain obscure (or not so obscure) technical topics if you time it right.
- As historical record and reference to the sorts of technical (and personal) problems you were interested (or disinterested) in over the long run.
- Packet loss. Since my memory has gone to shit over the past 3 years documenting sites, tools, or common tasks here vs. depending on someone else's site to be there.
- Rattling the cages/venting. I should do this less often, but I can't help myself and I know a few readers find it amusing. Whether it is bitching about SCADASEC or GNUCITIZEN I'm always amused folks get so defensive about someone calling their baby ugly.
- I used to consider myself a writer. And it gives me the illusion of writing. I spent most of my undergraduate years (as an English major with a creative writing concentration and I met my wife in a writing workshop) struggling to write short fiction and poetry. I racked up a hundred or so rejection slips and perhaps 2-3 publications in small literary journals. It is a counterbalance to the guilt I feel about selling out for the big bucks and the technology gods.
- To share, damnnit. To get an audience. That might be one of the reasons I became a public school teacher 15 years ago and why I recently went back to doing training for a living (what he's doing training, I thought he was technical?) this year, as a way to remain interest in the security field. It is about making connections. To readers/students.