Before I begin on what my post title means, what do you expect from it? Does the title sound like something you expect me to write? Does it sounds like something that belongs more in a legal blog rather than my blog? Do you feel it’s unexpected of me to write such a topic, given the general nature of my blog?
The reason I ask so many questions (which you should probably expect from me by now!) is because I was compelled by this discussion over at BlogCatalog (warning: it’s quite long as many people had commented):
I submit that we have an obligation to our readers to post within the boundaries of our blog’s stated topic. When we vary from this topic we violate their trust and fill their inboxes and feed readers with information that they do not want. If they want to read about other topics, they will be subscribed to other sources that offer that content. We owe it to them to give them what we promised when they subscribed, and not force them to also accept our messages on other points that may, at best, be annoyingly irrelevant to them and at worst, deeply offensive.
What Say You? Is there a social contract between reader and writer at a blog? Do you have certain obligations to your readers? Are there any other obligations you feel you owe your readers?
I think this idea can be applied to blogs which are specific in topic, but I’m not sure if it should be applied to personal blogs like, say, mine. My comment in that thread was against the idea, but now I’m wondering…
While let it be known that the fact you are reading this means a lot to me as a blogger and a person, and I do appreciate your feedback or response or anything between our relationship as blogger/reader/friend, I ultimately blog for myself. That is to say, what I put up here, it is because I want to and because it reflects a part of me at that point in time.
This blog is about me, and the things I like or care about. If you read bloggerdygook for me, then you’re interested in my view, not necessarily my topic. If you read bloggerdygook for the topics that relate to you, then you might understand if one or two posts doesn’t related to you as nothing is ever 100% suited to you unless you created it yourself. But it wouldn’t be unexpected, because I’ve been consistent in sticking to the topics I usually blog about.
So what if tomorrow I wrote about my sex life, in detail? On a regular basis?
Would that be irresponsible of me as a blogger, because I’m not adhering to ‘rules’ of the social conduct I’ve established with my previous blogging? Should I have a responsibility of providing appropriate, expected content to the ready set of readers here, on the basis that you are my target reader? I mean, by talking about something pretty much not expected of me, wouldn’t I be offending (well, in the case of me publishing about my sex life – I wouldn’t think you’d be as offended if I started talking about cows) and thus neglecting whatever readers which might feel that way?
On the other hand, what happened to bloggerdygook being my purely personal space? If it is, shouldn’t the content be decided by me 100%? After all, I started this blog because I wanted to, and for various other reasons which are purely personally beneficial. If I start thinking about my readers and whether if I’m responsible to provide appropriate content for them, wouldn’t it beat the purpose of setting up a personal blog? It’s not personal anymore, is it? It would be a blog that seems personal but is targeted at people who likes to read personal blogs.
But hang on a minute. bloggerdygook is what it is today because of the contribution of its readers too – the vocal ones, that is. The hits it’s gotten, the awards it’s been honoured with, its number of comments, that’s because of you. So shouldn’t you have some sort of say in what goes here? Which is to say, would it be too much of you to ask me to write on topics expected of me? Would it be too much to write as expected of me, based on my previous writings? But by conforming to that idea, wouldn’t I be restricting myself… bah, I’m muddling myself!
I think maybe this is another one of those things where it boils down to striking a balance. Please yourself, but don’t forget your readers. Please your readers, but don’t forget your own pleasure too. So, going along those lines, I think it’s okay to occasionally go off-tangent from the things I usually talk about (maybe just not my sex life), but not too often if I want to spare a thought for my readers. (At the same time, if I really wanted to bring bloggerdygook to a different focus, I should if it makes me happy, though I should be aware of the consequences of doing that.)
What do you think?
ps. I’m still leaning towards no contract – I don’t think I’m obligated content-wise, that is. Truth-wise, now that is a different question…