Why Do I Blog? SL Blogging Community Meme Asks The Big Questions
Iris Ophelia's ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style
There's a new meme working its way around the blogging community right now that has writers answering the big questions about why they do what they do. Strawberry Singh brought it to the SL community last week after spotting it on a RL blog, and since then there has been an explosion of responses. Several so far stand out, including Anya Ohmai (easily one of my top 3 favorite SL bloggers), and Opal Lei (writer and photographer behind adorable snapshot blog "Where's Dim Sum?").
It's tempting to make this a post listing my favorite responses to this meme, but that would ignore the question altogether...
My very first post on New World Notes is from August 28th 2006 but before that I had my own SL blog, even though I had only joined earlier that same year. Before SL, I had a few different RL blogs going back to when I was in 9th grade, around '00-'01. So... maybe a bit too long.
Why did you start blogging?
I originally earned money in SL by writing for The Metaverse Messenger, a virtual newspaper. I wrote about events and cool locations, but not long after I joined they decided to add a fashion section and I put my name forward, since everything I earned from my writing was just going right towards my wardrobe anyway. It was a natural fit, and more recently I've drifted towards games writing for similar reasons.
How many times a week do you post an entry?
It depends on what's needed, which is sort of the beauty of working on someone else's blog. When Hamlet's schedule is busy I pick up one to two posts per day, five days a week like I've been doing lately so he doesn't have to overwork himself, but in slower periods just once or twice a week does the trick.
How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis?
Depends on how my insomnia's doing. I'd say I average about a dozen, between RL and SL blogs, but I tend to cherry pick posts depending on my interests more than following certain blogs exclusively.
Do you comment on other people’s blogs?
Sometimes, but not as often as I should. I really like recieving proper comments and feedback from readers, so I should probably be a lot more generous with my own commenting in return. I try to only comment if I have something tangible to add to what they've said, or if I've had an exceptionally strong reaction to it, but more often than not I'll reply on Plurk or Twitter instead.
Do you keep track of how many visitors you have?
Hamlet does, but I don't. He lets me know if a piece I've written is doing well, as well as where and when most of the traffic is coming from. That's really all I'd want to know because that helps me tailor my content a little better for readers. Anything more than that and I'd probably get too obsessive about the numbers and not enough about the content itself. Another reason it's nice to blog for someone else!
Did you ever regret a post that you wrote?
I don't have the highest opinion of most of what I do to be entirely honest, especially comapred to other peoples' work, and that opinion deteriorates even more over time. I'm probably at least a little embarassed of any post that's more than a few months old. That being said, I can't think of a post I would delete or wipe out of existence if given the chance. Even the worst posts are valuable experience, if nothing else.
Do you think your readers have a true sense of who you are based on your blog?
I don't hide much, so I'd say so. I love Downton Abbey and lace and ribbon and headshots and courtesy and swearing and the color pink... What more is there?
Do you blog under your real name?
I do, for better and for worse.
Hamlet and I have had an ongoing battle for the past few months. He wants me to do a post about a short novel I wrote last fall, and I keep sidestepping and hoping he'll forget the whole thing. I'm not saying never, but...
Oh, there is one thing I will say never about. I will never do another Hot Top 10 contest. Never again.
What is the theme/topic of your blog?
I won't presume to speak for Hamlet, but my side of it all is gaming and virtual style. I suppose at times it's easy to forget that NWN isn't a Second Life blog. It is that among a lot of other things, but Second Life's certainly not the only "new world" out there.
Do you have more than one blog?
I've got a few tumblrs floating around, but nothing nearly as regular as what I do here.
What have you found to be the benefits of blogging?
I like writing, but without a concrete reason to write I have a hard time staying motivated. Writers who don't write are useless. Blogging also exposes you to a lot of feedback, both good and bad. If you're lucky, that feedback will give your ego a little boost as well as help you develop a slightly thicker skin. And of course it's an excellent way to meet likeminded people you may never have come across otherwise.
So, why do you continue to blog?
Skills atrophy like muscles if you don't use them. I always want to be growing, developing, and honing myself and my work, so blogging keeps me moving forward. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's exhausting, sometimes I want to tear my hair out -- but it's all worth it. For me, the feeling of writing something you're truly proud of and getting good responses to it is the best. It makes all the frustration and struggling that lead up to that moment worthwhile.
[And gosh, at this point what would Hamlet do without me? ;)]
Be sure to check out all the posts and answers linked in the comments section of Berry's original post; you'll find a lot of interesting insight into the habits of your favorite photographers, fashionistas, and more.
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.