I was browsing HN when I saw a question: “why blog? why have a public website that people can read?”
I have a blog since 2007 in one form or another. I went from having a blog in Italian about web dev, to abandoning and closing the blog, then I restarted a blog mid 2010s in English but with no serious intentions and then I picked up blogging in full swing in 2018.
For the past 5 years I’ve been blogging quite consistently, except periods I put blogging on hold to 100% focus on other projects. But blogging is in my heart.
I can’t tell people “why you should blog” but I can tell you why I have a blog.
A blog is my little place on the Internet.
It’s the only public place I fully control.
I don’t control my YouTube channel. Sure I decide which videos to record, but YouTube puts limitations and ultimately has the final control - for example your account could be banned if your Google account violates any of the rules they have. Or a video might be taken down for whatever reason.
I don’t control my Twitter. I decide what to post, but ultimately it’s Twitter’s property. If Twitter dies, my Twitter account dies as well.
The blog is mine. I own the domain name. I own the content. I decide what to show on the blog, and what not.
I am not subject to algorithms.
On Twitter you might tweet in the void for years, it’s basically as if you didn’t tweet at all. On YouTube you should post consistently otherwise the channel will not gain much views. On the blog I can do whatever I want.
Sure, on the blog I’m still subject to Google SEO good practices if I want to play that game, but that’s just one way of being “seen” on the Internet.
And talking about being seen, it’s not actually about being seen.
It’s about being helpful.
When I write a blog post sometimes is because I don’t want that knowledge to get lost.
I want to write it down.
Or perhaps I’m learning a new framework or programming language and since the way I learn is by trying to teach others, I do that in writing.
It helps me, it also helps others.
It’s like my personal notebook.
And it’s nice to be helpful. If people find my work helpful, it’s gratifying.
Of course if no one reads your blog, it can be a little lonely, or appear pointless.
At some point I think you need some viewers.
I think that’s part of human nature.
A painting can be a masterpiece, but does it really matter it’s a masterpiece if no one knows about it?
A book could be life-changing for a lot of people but if no one ever finds out about it?
You might have the most beautiful voice but what if no one ever hears you sing?
It is still all great, but it’s a bit of a shame if it does not create something for someone. Be it inspiration, being useful, bring a positive change, or simply help solving a problem.
The same goes for a blog. You should care if people come and read what you wrote.
It’s more fun.
It gives you that dopamine boost to push you to write more.
This is interesting in both ways, because many times writing helps you more than the person reading.
It helps you clarify your thoughts.
I didn’t anticipate writing the line above this. I just started with the first line and went with the flow.
Sometimes writing is what forces you to really think about something. I started with a question and I’m now thinking hard about this, with my coffee in hand.
On the Internet, we’re a big community even though we don’t know each other.
I’ve gained incredible value from reading other people’s blogs. About anything.
So writing on your own blog is like giving back to the Internet and its citizens. Having fun. Finding your voice.
Enjoying the process.