Helen Palmer (nice_cup_of_tea) wrote,
Helen Palmer

To blog or not to blog? Article celebrating 2 years of blogging!

Well, I'm a few days late (my first ever lj post was on May 16th 2005!), but to celebrate 2 years with Livejournal, here's a recent article I wrote for the Networker, the quarterly publication of the PWG.

To blog or not to blog?

My name is Helen and I am a blogger. Few subjects escape my blogging voice, no topic is too weighty or too trivial! In setting up my stall against Sandra the non-blogger, I will need to argue a good case! I hope that answering the questions: “What is blogging?” and “Why do I blog?” will inspire you to start blogging. See the end of the article for some direction.

According to Wikipedia , a “blog” (from web log) is a website where entries are made and displayed in a reverse chronological order. Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject. Some blogs function as personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs and web pages. Most blogs allow readers to leave comments in an interactive format. To “blog” means to maintain or add content to a blog.

So why do I blog? I blog because I enjoy writing and because I enjoy connecting to an online community. I started blogging when I’d been in Zürich a year. At the time I was studying at home, I was lonely and had yet to find a new identity in Zürich. Writing helped me to sort out what was important to me. I wrote without having an audience in mind. To me it just mattered that somebody might read my blog! When I started my blog, I wasn’t sure why I was writing. My first ever post (May 16th 2005) starts like this:

I'm sure everyone says this, but I'm not sure how this whole livejournal things works yet! I also want to use this space to bring together all my random thoughts.
I wrote about everything: about struggling to write up my research, about discovering new things in Zürich, about my job hunting. Writing regularly in a public space enabled me to be honest about where I was and how I was feeling. And people starting reading and commenting on my posts!

Over time I have created a sense of who I am online and the meaning I give to my blog. I like to compare blogging to patchwork. Each piece is individual, but through its connections to its neighboring pieces it creates a unified whole. Stepping back allows you to view the coherence of the pattern. My patchwork blog contains a multitude of themes: Work, Running, Learning, Relationships. Sometimes I write short and snappy pieces, now and again I write longer, more reflective, essays. Occasionally I even write auf deutsch!

Blogging allows you to create and develop a “virtual” identity. Online I am “nice-cup-of-tea”, a british expat in Zurich who is passionate about learning, and who loves drinking tea and reading. Writing in an open space has helped me to articulate what’s really important to me. Maybe this is a combination of writing a blog and being an “outsider” in Zürich. Who knows? But the end result is that I have a freedom to write and I have developed an authentic voice. And that is good enough for me.

Feel inspired and wanted to start blogging?

1. Start Here

2 . Visit my blog
Read a few posts and leave me a comment! I’m always happy to help

3. A few final points to consider:
- Your blog content will develop and crystallise over time, as will your writing voice
- Become part of your blogging community – start by reading other blogs, commenting on posts and friending other users
- Although it’s quick and easy to blog, take time to edit your writing
- If you write about work, be careful! We are never truly anonymous. If in doubt, don’t!
- Blogging is fun, enjoy it

Tags: pwg, writing

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