Psychology of Blogging Part 1: Why We Hate and Fear Blogging
Working in marketing, I stress the importance of blogging and ask – actually, beg more or less – colleagues to blog for the greater good of the company. Honestly, getting people to blog is like pulling teeth, so after fighting the good fight time and time again, I took a step back and asked myself, why is that? Why do so many people have strong aversive feelings toward blogging? Personally, I don’t find blogging intimidating or difficult at all, but I have found that my feelings are not the norm. With all these questions in mind, I set out to understand the psychology behind blogging.
After finding a research study on the topic – I know…how awesome, right? Someone actually took the time to figure this out! – I took it one step further and reached out to my colleagues and asked them what their thoughts and feelings were on the subject. My goal in reaching out to them was to test the research–to see if their feelings reflected that of the research.
After talking with multiple colleagues—some who like to blog and blog frequently, some who have never blogged and don’t even want to give it a chance, and some who do blog but don’t necessarily love it—I found that most everyone’s feelings are the same. I have put together a collection of common fears and frustrations I heard from my colleagues on the subject of blogging.
- “I’m too busy.” This is probably the most common response the marketing department receives when reaching out to people to blog. Let’s face it, everyone is “too busy,” and nobody really has time for all of their tasks and duties, but we somehow find the time. The same should go for blogging; actually, blogging can be quite rewarding and often leaves one with a sense of accomplishment.
- “I don’t have anything important to say.” You don’t have to have a grand topic in mind when you set out to write a blog. There are plenty of topics to write about: Your career and the type of work you do, a book you recently read, a common customer frustration, and a million other things. Check out Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator or 101+ Blog Post Ideas to help get you started. Keep in mind when you’re looking for a topic, if you can talk about it with someone, and you find it interesting, you can blog about it.
- “What if I write something that’s wrong?” It’s okay; we are all human. So what if you write something that’s wrong? Now you have an opportunity to learn something new and grow as a person. One of my colleagues who engages in blogging frequently had the best attitude on the subject and said, “Writing about ways to do things puts me out there as an expert, and so the worst case is that I suggest some stuff [code] that doesn’t work (or could be done better), and hopefully those get caught in comments, and I can correct them.” This is the attitude we should all strive to have, but I’ll admit I’m not that positive when it comes to criticism.
- “I feel vulnerable.” Blogging can put you in a vulnerable position, and publishing something with your name attached to it can be scary. When writing something that is going to be published for the entire world to see (like this blog), there is always the fear of criticism in the back of the minds of most bloggers. Not only are you opening up your blog to criticism, you are opening yourself up to criticism. This can be very intimidating to people who have not blogged before, and stops some from blogging entirely. I don’t know if I have a clear solution for overcoming this fear, other than just accepting the old adage, “Everyone’s a critic,” and everyone has an opinion, so someone just might criticize you. Remember: It’s one comment on one blog, not the end of your career.
- “I feel exposed.” Writing can be a very intimate and personal activity. Through writing we expose aspects of our character, voice, personality, and personal experiences. Many people expressed negative feelings toward sharing private information or engaging in an activity (writing) that seems very private, and have it become very public. If you don’t know what I mean by this, check out my last blog where I expose how I completely messed up at work…yikes. I was asked by a colleague how I got the courage to expose my screw up. My response to her was, “Everyone messes up once in a while; I’m just not afraid to admit it.” This is my advice to all bloggers. If you mess up, expose it to keep someone else from making the same mistake in the future.
This leads me to my next point, the psychology of blogging. Note that there is not much research on the topic, but I have found that the common fears of bloggers and non-bloggers are consistent with the research that is available. Interestingly enough, the common fears of blogging were exact matches to what the research had to say. The research says that “…blogging also promotes a high level of self-exposure to the audience often large and largely unknown to the author” and are “at the same time private and public.” As I already discussed, these were two of the largest concerns I heard from my colleagues.
Nevertheless, even with all these concerns and fears, many, many people still blog…and why is that? In my next blog, I will address the question of why people love to blog and the positive aspect behind the psychology of blogging.
What are your thoughts and feelings toward blogging? Do you agree these are the most common fears and reasons people don’t blog? Leave a comment and share your opinions on blogging to start a discussion.
Thanks for reading, and tune in next week for Psychology of Blogging Part 2: Why We Love It and How to Start. To read my other blogs, click here.