Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Online Journal or Blog? Let me tell you a secret….

Even though I use the word “Blog” synonymously with “Online Journal,” I also recognize that there’s a big difference in the “blogosphere” between the two, and I’d like to take a moment to explore the differences before revealing what is not such a big secret.

Blog
When you see ads for “paid blogging,” they mean one or two things. In the best case, they mean write a 200-500 word article a day on a topic related to the themed blog. The topic is only of your choosing insofar as it must match the theme of the blog in question. Worst case: write 30 100-word posts a day in which 30 of the words will be keywords linked back to the paying entity’s website (in other words, google bombing or spam blogs).

If they’re not paid-by-someone-else blogs, then “for profit” blogging typically means to post about topics that will generate Google Ads that are interesting enough for your audience to click.

I know, I’m really jaded.

But what if you’re not a paid blogger, if you blog for the sheer joy of it, what makes your blog a blog, versus an online journal? Basically, you deliver content that’s somehow useful and usable and informative to other people, even if that information is limited to a series of links from somewhere else on the Internet. A blog is a subject-oriented resource of online articles, links, observations, and commentary.

In any case, you are writing your blog to someone else’s expectation, either the content-concerned blog sponsor, or the keyword-greedy splogger, or the curious reader. For my money, I like to give the curious reader something worthwhile to read and link to things I believe in when I’m blogging, which is probably why my posts about fixing my Mac problems get the most hits of any other content I choose to post.

Online Journal
The most common pronoun in an online journal is “I.” I did this, I did that. Or “we” if the “I” is married or otherwise attached to a family. Online journal writers do what Suite101.com refers to as “navel-gazing,” reflections on their own lives, or on things they observed or experienced. Typically, nobody is interested in paying for this kind of content. After all, unless you are already famous, who wants to read your scribblings and ramblings?

An online journal might still be written “for an audience” the way mine is written for an audience. Until 2002, I did not keep a journal of any kind. I had tried, many many times, but I had utterly failed to keep a written journal for more than a few weeks at a time. Periodically, I would be required to keep a journal in a creative writing class, but I usually fell short, and had to write thirty or so entries the day before the journal was due.

However, in March of 2002, I started an account at LiveJournal. Six months later, I was still journalling. Five years later, I’ve moved to a WordPress blogging platform, but my Personal and Musings categories continue to be the categories where I post the most new content. As I go through phases in my life, I post more in one category or another, but overall, this “blog” is a record of my thoughts, my experiences, my observations. Probably if I were a less self-centered individual, I wouldn’t post so much about me. On the other hand, if I weren’t on a constant quest for love and fame, I probably would have been perfectly happy writing in a paper journal and would never have needed an online format to get me journalling consistently.

So, my big not-so secret is that I’m not really a blogger. I’m an online journaller who sometimes writes blog posts. I know that confession will make my Feedburner subscription plummet, but I’m kind of okay with that. Especially since I know there’s a large group of folks who still love me over on LiveJournal. Unless LJ suddenly blocks my cross-posts, you all can feel confident that I’ll continue to cross-post over there, so you can continue to be warm and happy with my blog online journal.

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