August 10, 2008, was my first “public” post here at WordPress. Previously, I had been blogging at my local newspaper’s website but decided to leave it for WordPress for a number of reasons.
First, the newspaper site had way too many trolls. Even though the administrators booted the trolls when made aware of them, the trolls just came back under a new screen name. But their identity was easily revealed by their writing style. At WordPress, I’ve encountered few trolls and WordPress provides me a way of dealing with them.
Second, the newspaper’s blog options could be described as “WordPress extra lite.” Before choosing WordPress, I checked out other blogging sites and WordPress impressed me the most. I was especially impressed with the number of themes.
Third, WordPress offered the prospect of a wider and larger audience than the newspaper. And thanks to Clustrmaps, I see that I’ve had visitors from every continent.
While at the newspaper site, I had developed online friendships with four other bloggers. I encouraged them to leave the newspaper site and join me at WordPress. Three of them did follow me here and the fourth one eventually did. Two of them are no longer blogging, one blogs irregularly and one is a regular contributor.
When I moved to WordPress, I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to post regularly. I decided that I could avoid burnout by posting just once a week and decided to name the blog to reflect that. But I still wondered whether I could post even once a week for month after month, year after year. How could I keep coming up with topics?
But three years later I’m still blogging! I often have a number of posts “in the queue.” Some I’m holding for “the right time”; others are only partially written. Some may never be published because after reading them later I decided they are not as interesting as I had thought when I wrote them.
On the other hand, what I think will be well received has not always been the case. Conversely, posts I thought would be “nothing special” generated a lot of comments. One (What Is the American Dream?) took on a political turn I never intended because I normally avoid “political” posts. It does seem to me that most readers are not interested in political posts. (Plus, those posts seem to really bring out the trolls.)
So why do I blog? I’m not sure myself.
Perhaps it’s because writing is a creative endeavor and blogging is a way to address that urge. Some folks address the creative urge by cooking. But with cooking, once you’re eaten the meal, it’s gone. By blogging, my posts may very well be around long after I am not.
I enjoy writing. In college, I joined the campus newspaper and ended up as editor during my senior year. One day during my senior year, my faculty mentor asked if I had learned the results of a test I had taken as a freshman about careers I would be compatible with. My previous mentor had not shared the results with me. Turned out that I was very compatible with journalism.
Also, government. That explained why I was very active in student government, serving first as a dorm representative and then an executive officer. In my senior year, I had to choose between becoming editor of the newspaper and student government president. I decided the newspaper would give me more opportunity to influence folks.
After college, I turned back to government and spent over 30 years in local and state government. I will retire from that in two years.
Some three years ago, I returned to the written word through blogging. I do not plan on retiring from this any time soon!