The Psychology of Blogging

Simon Willison is making a change to his weblog format which de-emphasizes the date posted and instead gives the title of the post prominence.

Simon Willison: Small design tweak, big difference:

By removing the day headers entirely, I hope to shift the focus of this blog from religious daily updates to entries with a little more substance. I think the psychology of a blog’s design is easily under-rated; I’ve already noticed that my blog entries have been getting longer since I started adding entry titles. At any rate, with this latest design tweak I certainly won’t be rushing out poor quality entries before midnight any more.

I believe that some staff at our office are hesitant to blog because it appears to require a rather large time committment to post every day, which the format does encourage. So, ultimately, this might limit adoption rather than encourage those who do write to post every day. Something to think about.

Another thought: if you get rid of the date emphasis, is it still blogging? It always seems that the reverse chronological order of posts has been a big element and removing the dates de-emphasizes this quite a bit. Simon is obviously still blogging but it’s interesting to see if the form is beginning to evolve a bit.

I’m sure this is nothing new and was debated ad nauseam back in ’99. 🙂 Feel free to post pointers to previous discussion if you know of it.

2 thoughts on “The Psychology of Blogging

  1. Rebecca Blood’s said, at the PlaNetwork conference, as the blogosphere becomes larger and more reflective of a broader population, we should expect to see different styles of blogging. She mentioned people who do weekly updates instead of daily, people who do a monthly whole site makeover and content refresh – like a magazine. I also see that some passions may run seasonally; baseball fanatics may blog substantially less in the off season. I like the visual deemphasis; when reading, the substance is more important than the time stamp.

  2. I think public blogging seems to stimulate mixed reviews. There are some people who view blogging as a silly, exhibitionist/voyeurist sickness and others who view it as interesting, creative, newsworthy. I personally and professionally experience it as generally a good thing. For one, blogging allows people to become authentic (if they so choose) and to put a voice to things that might otherwise be suppressed. It’s a way of connecting to a larger, impersonal world on a more personal note. Sometimes we become quite isolated in our perceptions of others’ lifestyles and only hang out with like-minds . Blogs allow a window to glimpse into the world of people from multiple backgrounds, geographical localities, enthnicity, political and social viewpoints. Blogging also allows a forum to discuss and interact (you can leave comments on other people’s blogs) and to practice expressing one’s self more creatively. We’ve become a passive society (too many watch tv as a way of learning new things) and blogging allows us to write and read. There are many resources people link to in their blogs, also. In my own blog, I try to incorporate a balanced experience of myself…I talk about my family, my profession, myself, my hobbies, my vacations, and movies and books. It’s not “all about me”…it’s an integration of me in relation to the world. I endorse blogging and reading blogs as a psychologically healthy activity…of course all things can become seedy in one way or another….it’s our choice what we read and write, however. Please read my blog and leave comments. Traveling can be done in the mind, as well.

    Pamela Hurley
    Licensed Psychotherapist

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