Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Top Ten Reasons Why I Blog

     As I've mentioned before, I serve as one of about a dozen volunteer tutors in the Academic Support Center of our local community college. I help students with their papers, essays and tests, and coach them in how to improve their writing skills.

     Last week the coordinator of the writing center called me over to her desk. She thought it was interesting that I write a blog -- a form of writing that's relatively new and different, especially for an academic setting -- and asked me if I could convey the bogging experience in 300 or 400 words, to use in their newsletter. I decided I could, but didn't think I had to take the assignment too seriously . . .

     I introduced myself as a volunteer in the Writing Center, but admitted that in my secret life I write a blog. It’s called Sightings Over Sixty, and it covers baby boomers, retirement, health, finance, grownup children and . . . how time flies. My pen name – my nom de Internet, if you will -- is Tom Sightings. And I’m over 60 years old. Get it?

     A lot of my friends are curious about why I spend my time jotting down thoughts in cyberspace. So, what do I tell them? First of all, I point out that I’m not alone. A lot of people write blogs. (And I wonder -- why do you write a blog?) The web directory technorati counts 363 blogs about baby boomers alone. There are blogs about stamp collecting, knitting, golden retrievers and a thousand other topics.

     But if you really want to know, here are the top ten reasons why I blog.  To . . .

     10. Get something off my chest – I have a few opinions on things like health care and how people drive (in my opinion, unlike Lake Wobegon, most people are worse than average drivers!), and so I can spout off whenever I want.

     9. Make friends – I have over a hundred followers of my blog. Some of them I consider friends. In January, when I vacationed in Florida, I played golf with one of my blogging friends.

     8. Join a community – You don’t just get people to read your blog. They talk back, make comments, and usually, you end up following their blog as well. It’s a party!

     7. Make people laugh – I admit it, in my younger days I was a class clown. My teachers didn't think I was funny, but some of my classmates did. If you don't believe me, check out the Humor section of my blog, and you be the judge. But hey, gimme a break . . . it’s not easy to be funny!

     6. Make money – Yes, you can sign up for advertising programs though Google and Amazon, and earn money from your blog. Why, sometimes I earn as much as $3 in one day!

     5. Practice my writing skills – As you can see . . . I need the practice.

     4. Annoy my spouse – Since I write my blog under a different name, and I don’t identify my spouse by name, I can say anything I want!

     3. Stay out of trouble – I’m retired. Well, to be more accurate, I’m unemployed. But when you get to a certain age, you can call yourself retired instead. Blogging gives me something to do while my long-suffering spouse goes off to work.

     2. Make a name for myself – Wait a second, I write the blog under a different name, so how am I making a name for myself? Er, I guess I’d better rethink that one.

     And the Number 1 reason why I blog? I blog, therefore I am – It’s a little known fact, but all the great philosophers had their own blogs. The first blog? "In the beginning . . . .”

13 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

And to think I thought Tom Sightings was your real name.

gigihawaii said...

Have you thought of writing a memoir? I managed to sell quite a few books to people who visit my blog, so sometimes blogging is a source of income.

Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen said...

Thanks Tom! You always make me laugh...make money blogging??? Am I unemployed or retired??? Life is just one mystery after another, isn't it? Why do we write blogs? Because they aren't there yet! -- Laura Lee

rosaria williams said...

Great reasons!
Because we can!
Because it is the easiest way to get to know how the other half lives.
Because how else will my children know what I spend time on.
Because it all feels benign and cozy to find so many people like yourself.........................................................................
I started with one blog, and kept adding others for some specific sharing, and now I count six or so.

Tom Sightings said...

Stephen and others -- I hope you aren't too disappointed to find out Sightings is not my real name (altho' Tom is my real first name). Why ... does everyone else use their real name? But a) I have mentioned before that Sightings isn't my real name; b) my real last name is too hard to spell; c) I couldn't figure out any kind of punny or cutesy title to go with it; and d) I was a little wary of putting my real name out there since I also write for U.S. News and elsewhere on the Internet, and while I've never seen a nasty comment on my blog I have received a few stinging and sometimes profane comments on other sites -- but somehow the nasty comments don't strike home when they are aimed at Sightings. Anyway, the people I know in real life are aware I write as Tom Sightings, so it's not that big a secret, but for the most part people online don't know (or care about) my real name ... although I had to tell Douglas my real name before he would play golf with me -- he wanted to check out my credit rating to make sure I could make good on any monetary losses incurred by the end of the day!

DJan said...

I did think Sightings is your real name, and I thought how lucky you were to have such a cool name. To me you will always have that name, and since you are my virtual friend, it doesn't matter at all. I'm much more "out there," with pictures of self, friends and family available to the world. If there was ever a problem, I would delete my blog, but I sure hope I never have to do that. I love the community, and most of the reasons you list are mine, too. It's a new era and I'm glad to be part of it, even if I'm retired from the workaday world. :-)

Meryl Baer said...

Good job listing reasons people blog. I started my blog because I wanted writing jobs and needed credentials and writing samples. It worked. Keeps me on top of things. I need stuff to write about!
I assumed Sightings was not your real name...

Dick Klade said...

When I started blogging eight years ago, I thought I intended to say a few things that someone might use to help make the world be a better place. There's no evidence that happened. Now I don't know.

#1Nana said...

Yep, me too! I used Nana as my name, but was not techie enough to realize that Blogger would list my email address...which includes my real name. I like sending words into cyberspace. It's like launching a message in a bottle. You never know who will read it and respond.

Douglas said...

Good reasons, Tom! Though I would add... "It became addictive." And you came out ahead that day, didn't you? I just cut my losses a little.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

Maybe you should start a blog entitled, "if God Blogged." Why do I blog? Had a grad course, history of the corporation. We were instructed to keep a blog for class assignments and comment on each other's blog. I did, it was addictive. End of story. Dianne
Ps I have never been anonymous and no one cares.

Bob Lowry said...

Blogging has lead to my writing two books, making dear friends all over the country, and fulfilling my need to write.

If you are not careful blogging can tend to take over your day. If I read every blog I like and leave comments on each I would be working more than a full time job.

Hauola said...

Enjoying your blogging efforts Tom, and I am learning too which is always welcomed by the "under-employed" (retired) brain. Thanks for every drop of entertaining humor also!