Why We Blog – Part 2

If you missed Part 1 of this post last week, go check it out first (I’ll wait for you here).

Last week’s post focused on criticisms of the Canadian Capitalist and the Canadian personal finance blogger community’s support of him.  I didn’t think either of these criticisms were fair.  Beyond, hopefully, demonstrating that bloggers are far from blindly loyal to one another, I tried to articulate some of the reasons why we choose to blog beyond what seemed to be considered in the Canadian Capitalist’s case.

In addition to “An Independant Voice”, “Money”, “Opportunities”, and “For Attention”, we blog:

To Inform Others

Some people just like to selflessly share what they know with others.  I think people claim this is their motivation more often than it genuinely is.  It takes a rare person to love a subject so much that they devote themselves to learning about it and helping other people learn about it.

I suspect that Dividend Growth Investor is an example of this, that guy LOVES dividends (and his passion is reflected in his blog).

To Inform Ourselves

Paul Graham has written that he feels students are done a disservice when they’re taught essay writing in order to analyse literature.  His feeling is that the proper perspective on writing an essay is that it’s an attempt to figure something out.  This is very much my perspective on blog posts.  I’ll make an assertion in a post, wonder if someone might challenge me on it, and go searching for something to back it up (which I can then link to).  Sometimes, I’ll find my original assertion was incorrect and I’ll have learned something (and update the post).  Other times I’ll find that the topic is more nuanced than I realized, and I’ll learn about these other considerations.  Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a post and will have to go off and research it in order to know enough to write a post about it.  I’ve had an idea about a 4 part series discussing the evolution of currency, and I’d be comfortable writing about barter, bills of credit and the gold standard, but haven’t wrapped my head around currency as debt after the US moved off the gold standard (anyone want to do a guest post? 🙂 ).

Beyond learning from writing, comments are often an amazing source of very valuable feedback.  I’ve had major blind spots identified and we’re particularly fortunate at Four Pillars that we’ve got some wicked smart readers who often are able to teach us a thing or two in the comments.

In last week’s post, the Canadian Capitalist identified this as the primary reason he blogs (and I certainly don’t see any conflict between it and his MoneySense deal).  Thicken My Wallet also seemed to identify this as his primary reason too.

To Meet Famous People

Blogging has brought me in touch with economists, journalists, members of parliament, authors, TV personalities and the lovely Kerry K. Taylor.  Twice I’ve been contacted by the Globe and Mail wanting to use me as a source for an article (unfortunately their editorial policy wouldn’t allow me to stay anonymous).  It’s cool meeting famous, accomplished people, but it REALLY rocks when they seek YOU out!

To Take Revenge on Those Who Have Wronged You

One of my favourite phrases goes something along the lines of:  “Never argue with a priest or a newspaper editor.  The priest will invoke God that he’s correct while an editor always gets to have the last word.”  It certainly isn’t the noblest part of blogging, but having a platform to denounce those who have mistreated you is certainly a perk.

For Weird Personal Reasons

Some people will set up blogs for bizarre, individualistic reasons.  This pretentious douche thinks of his blog as his gift to his children.  Sorry dude, I bet they’d rather have a Wii.

In Conclusion

I think everyone with a blog has their own mixture of these reasons why they blog.  Probably they’re all in there to SOME degree for most of us, whether we admit it or not.  Just because a reader *THINKS* they know why someone is blogging, we’re real people behind the words and our motivation may be more complex then it appears at first.

Apparently Simon Pegg has gotten a hard time from some fans that he’s gone “too mainstream”.  He responded to this that he understands the feelings of fans, it’s the same reaction when some indie band you like makes it big, you feel like you’ve lost something that was privately yours.  At the same time, he doesn’t feel like he should have to apologize for success (and neither should the Canadian Capitalist).

If you’re a blogger, why do you blog?

14 replies on “Why We Blog – Part 2”

This post was worth reading just for the opportunity to click a link labelled “pretentious douche”!

I think every personal finance blogger is happy to hear constructive criticism and engage in debate. But what bugged me about the criticism of CC and others was that the tone smacked of entitlement. “Give me everything I want, when and how I want it, give it to me for free, and I’ll let you know when I want more.”

I’d like to turn the “Why We Blog” question around to the readers: “Why Do You Read Blogs?” Do you just gather up as much free content as you can and then complain because you don’t like the font someone uses? Or do you take the time participate in the discussions by discussing your own experiences, or maybe doing a bit of your own research and sharing it? If you read a post you found particularly helpful, do you post a comment or send a note to the blogger to say thanks? Most of us ? bloggers and readers ? value the sense of community in the PF blogosphere, and that’s a two-way street.

Interesting question, CCP.

I read blogs to remind myself of what’s important and to keep me on track. Because of that, I enjoy blogs that update on a regular schedule, whether that be one poster blogging 5 times a week or several posters sharing the time. I enjoy hearing the blogger’s honest, personal opinion and thoughtful remarks. I don’t enjoy blogs that are too repetitive or posts that are too vague to be helpful. I used to find spelling and grammar mistakes off-putting, but I’ve learned to get past that. It’s the trade-off for getting raw, unabashed information.

CanCap got a lot of supportive comments too, folks – many more than the negative ones. We mightn’t bring the income the random googlers do, but blog readers aren’t all bad guys.

I blog because I’m lonely.

Seriously, I do it because I’m a geek and also I’ve repeated myself to so many of my friends that I figured I might as well put my advice online to save myself time. So I guess it’s a more of streamlining my life. 😉

And of course I do it to help.

I probably don’t need to explain to a group of financial types that our system is inherently flawed, and most citizens are financially uneducated or worse, get taken advantage of. If I can help someone make a better financial decision, or empower them, that’s really awesome to me.

/thank god the pretentious douche link wasn’t to my site

I originally started blogging to see what it was all about and as a means to communicate with clients (when I was a practicing financial advisor). It quickly became addictive getting mainstream press mentions, and links and comments from other bloggers. I started monetizing the blog shortly after I launched it to see what ‘that’ was all about. I definitely spent much more time focusing on content as opposed to SEO and income generated but the income is nice – definitely keeps me going as an incentive.

Sometimes, I find myself using the blog to figure out new web technologies (I just submitted an app for the blog to iTunes), and I just find it fun. I’ve learned how to screencast, create online quizzes, etc. These are all good, transferable skills.

I feel obligated to write the blog these days, but I take that obligation happily as it is a two way relationship with the readers. It takes a LOT of my free time, and the income helps to offset that. For example, this is the first year I’ve hired landscapers to cut the lawn. There’s only so much time you have in a week and with the time commitment to the blog, I’m happy to pay someone to do something I know very well I could do myself. As with everything, there are tradeoffs.

Why do I continue to blog? There’s so much to share with people and I learn a lot in return from my readers too. The blog makes me a better person, and makes me a better participant in the financial services industry as I think I’m much more in touch with what people really want, as opposed to what the industry is selling to them (and trying to convince them that they want.)

I blog as a cathartic rant about my own mediocre abilities to build wealth. Sometimes I comment about others, but mostly it’s my own inability to “do the right thing”. I started blogging mostly to see what it was all about, but found it a way to view my ideas in print and then force myself to think about my own beliefs (and then wonder what the hell I am thinking).

I make a little money, but not much, I hope to make a little more one day, but it can’t be the only reason I do this (if it is, it reinforces my mediocrity in building wealth).

I comment on other folks’ blogs because I have met a few of them face to face, and enjoy ribbing them, but for others I am not exactly sure why I comment, mostly as a legacy for my kids :). (if my kids read HALF of what I wrote they would disown me, or put me in a home).

I actually finished a blog post today that is related to this one. I didn’t intend for my post and this one to be related, but I remembered the content here and I believe it’s appropriate to share.

It was what Mr. Cheap said: “I think people claim this is their motivation more often than it genuinely is.”

Are Financial Bloggers as Corrupt as Real Estate Agents? (I hate the title I choose but I digress)

It’s essentially about an experience I had on another financial blog. And no it is not this one or any of the more reputable Canadian blogs we financial geeks love.

In my post, I believe I state a good warning that most should be aware of. Thanks for the platform Mr. Cheap.

I started reading blogs (f/t) last year when I entered into a new business opportunity. I figured I needed to learn more about finances, retirement, investments, ways to earn passive income, income tax… basically I want to learn everything that I don’t know (that can benefit me).

The reason I read blogs is to learn more information on given topics. I have an ever-growing list of daily reads. I visit them a few times a week to read new posts and hopefully learn something or get a better understanding of it. If I am looking to learn something specific, all you bloggers have easy to navigate archives which I LOVE!

Only until recently, have I actually began to have comments in which I feel contribute to the blog. I do love to help people with finances with my friends and family, and its nice to be able to share and discuss the ways in which I do so.

Keep it up everyone.

Ps. On a partially-related topic. Is there a reason I can’t post comments on TFB’s blog? I’m guessing I have to subscribe? I only ask because I hate having something good to say but not getting the chance to share it, and no other blog gives me a problem.

I definitely fall into the “To Inform Ourselves” category. Even though I have been blogging for almost three years, I actually did not make enough money to cover my hosting fees until the 2nd year. I like to learn about health and wellness, so my blog is an outlet for the ideas I am learning. It is also a bonus that my blog generates enough money now to help pay for a few books on the topic each month.

Why do I blog? Bloodly good question. In my case it’s a few things:

1) I’m obessive about money and need people to talk to about it (otherwise I get crazy explaining what an TFSA or REIT every few minutes to people I work with/family/friends)

2) I’m writer by nature. Writing is how I think things out or solve problems or just tell a good story.

So 1+2 = blog. Perhaps my only downfall right now is I just don’t have the time to do it five days a week anymore. Which since I farmed out 1 day a week to Dave and stopped writing on Monday’s has worked out well.


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