Lately there has been a lot of chatter amongst bloggers about different people’s motivations for blogging, and a lack of interaction on social media.
Whatever your motivation for blogging – whether it is a hobby, a profession, or whether you write to prove to yourself your brain still functions, to record family life, share recipes, craft ideas, host competitions and giveaways, review stuff, whether you class yourself as a funny, commentary or any other genre blogger (stick your hand up if I’ve forgotten anything while I pause for breath) – I thought I’d look at how, for all our differences we share many similarities with each other.
Confused? Fear not, all will become clear!
You might have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s a theory by psychologist Abraham Maslow, in which he detailed humans’ motivations – and what we need to function, succeed, and fulfil our own potential.
I hope Mr Maslow does not turn in his grave on seeing my interpretation (below), but I thought it is a handy way of showing what motivates we bloggers:
Typically, descriptions of the hierarchy of needs starts at the bottom, with the important stuff, the things we really cannot live without:
The basics (physiological needs)
We need food and water in order to exist. We bloggers like to talk about food – a lot! Whether it is yummy recipes, cake, going out for dinner or whatever, we like to talk about it and write about it. We need water (or fluid in general), and a nice cup of tea or glass of wine (or whatever your favourite tipple is) is even better!
Sleep is also a basic function for all of us, but something that most of us don’t get enough of, especially if we have small children. We wonder whether to spend time blogging, or talking to folk on social media, or catching up on sleep (many wisely choose the latter. Choosing otherwise too often is a likely course to madness).
Oh, and wifi. Yep, we need food, water, and (more) sleep. We need them to function, and we like writing about them. But without wifi? It’s now up there as a necessity for most people, and especially bloggers – no posts or social media chats are going to happen without it! (*shudders a the thought of returning to dial-up internet*).
Safety is next on the order of needs. We need to feel safe – personal security, job security and financial security are all vital. Blogging is professional bloggers’ source of financial and job security. Bloggers might write about domestic and sexual violence, conflict zones, and health issues – helping themselves by using writing as a therapy, as well as others through raising awareness. Bloggers have a crucial contribution to make where these issues are concerned!
Belonging and Support – my personal experience of the blogging community is that everyone is kind and supportive. Whether it’s through blog comments or social media interaction, we send virtual hugs when we are having a bad day, celebrate good times, or offer a bit of help when it is needed. It is a community that I love belonging to.
However, you only get that sense of belonging by joining in, and contributing as much as you take. I won’t parrot what other people have been writing recently about link dumping on Twitter and how folk don’t talk enough any more, but my tuppence worth is that it is called social media for a reason. We all have days where we’re too tired, too busy, or just can’t be bothered to chat on Twitter. That’s ok. But in general go on, get involved: read, talk, comment!
Self-esteem and self-respect. Ah, self-esteem – that concept that often proves elusive for too many of us. Our self-esteem can be buoyed up by blogging: gaining recognition and praise from fellow bloggers, and knowing our blog has value to others is important to most of us (and I think those who say these things aren’t important to them are fibbing a teeny bit).
On the other hand, our self-esteem can also be damaged through blogging. Feeling that you aren’t getting the recognition your writing deserves can be a real downer.
Worse, being trolled is devastating.
Linked to that, we will sometimes read something by another blogger that we don’t agree with. Constructive criticism is welcomed by most – a healthy discussion is good – but don’t be mean. Remember what we were told when we were little (and that you probably tell your children now): if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all! Be kind. Always.
Achieving your potential – this has a different meaning for everyone. Blogging might mean achieving your potential as a creative person, improving your writing (and even writing professionally because of the opportunities that come from it); using your blog to express your desire to be the best *insert ambition here* you can be; inventing the best cake recipe, or creating the most beautiful craft.
It is whatever is relevant to YOU.
YOU are best at being YOU. Don’t try to be anyone else!
So, there you have it. Whatever your motivation for blogging, and whatever benefits you get from it, we can all find something to relate to in the hierarchy of needs.