2/25/2005

Are There Benefits From Blogging?

According to an article titled, "Blogging's Cure for the Expat Blues," there are. Blogging has been around for about 8 years, and according to the Pew Research Center there are current estimates that the U.S. now has 8 million bloggers, or 7% of the 120 million Internet users. Worldwide, that number is higher still, although other countries aren't seen as being as blog-happy as the U.S. Many of these bloggers are people who have just moved to a new place or country and have no connection to home except by blogging. They find solemnity in blogging. It is their way to cope with the new culture, and by blogging they are also able to make new friends around the world who find themselves in the same situation.
Blogging costs are relatively low (more to start your own blog site). You just need a computer and an internet connection, and the benefits are proving to be great for many. However, the article does mention that although blogging has great benefits for some, they shouldn't let it replace real life. The opportunity costs given up to blog might be greater than they know if they don't get out and experience the new culture.

2 comments:

Drake said...

It seems strange to me that people who feel disconnected with life away from home would spend a good deal of their time blogging. I find that blogging for me is somewhat rewarding, but it is just that somewhat. I have learned new subject and feel more aware of current issues going on around me, but I don't feel the same strong draw that I think a lot the U.S. is feeling

Dr. Tufte said...

There is some economics in this topic, and Lana's post touches on this, but she should have been braver!

The two questions are: 1) why is blogging more popular than before, and 2) why does it appeal particularly to expatriates?

The marginal costs of writing are the same as they always were, but blogging services have reduced the monetary costs.

The marginal benefits of blogging (as opposed to writing a journal or diary) are that you can more easily expose it to people who might be interested.

I can see both of these being explanations for the rise of blogging. I'm not sure how far they go towards explaining why expatriates are blogging so much though. Perhaps this has to do with having more privacy over the internet (someone can't rifle through your mail as easily).

BTW: Slate had a piece about a week ago comparing blogging to rapping, in that both are based on sampling and riffing on the work of others.