About a month ago, I was invited in to speak with the team at BBC Radio 4’s programme, The Digital Human.
This episode’s topic was ‘The Unnoticed’ discussing all the content online that is never, or very rarely, seen.
Unfortunately, my clip never made it to air in the episode – so why am I writing about it, I hear you ask?! – because I’m still proud of being invited for the opportunity. And it got me thinking again about why people blog and create content online.
Just over a year ago, on old my student blog, I wrote a post entitled ‘writing a blog that nobody reads‘…
I’m part of a few different groups and pages on Facebook for bloggers and it’s not uncommon to see downbeat posts from people who are struggling to get views, who haven’t ever had a comment on their blog and who are questioning if blogging is still worthwhile. And some days I feel all ‘what is the point’ too. But let me tell you, it is worth continuing.
It was this post that prompted the team to get in touch. The Unnoticed was highlighting the reasoning and motivations behind why people create blog posts or YouTube videos, even if they don’t get any or get fewer views than they’d hoped.
I believe blogging is a creative process. Researching, writing, designing graphics and uploading posts, before promoting them and engaging with any responses is a hobby I enjoy. Obviously, it’s great to get lots of views and have some feedback – ideally positive or constructive – but for me, it’s not the be all and end all. I started to blog for me, and any feedback I get from it is an added bonus.
I can’t paint or draw. But there are lots of people who can. And I’m sure that not all their artwork is on display for people to enjoy – arguably the sole purpose of creating that piece. But does that take away from the creative process, the enjoyment that the artist gets or the skills and lessons they learnt? I don’t think so. And I think it’s the same for blogging. The enjoyment I get from researching topics I’m interested in, creating the posts and uploading something I’m proud of is the primary reason I blog. The views, the comments, the responses are all important, but secondary.
The discussions I had with the programme producer raised some interesting points, particularly on self-efficacy.
Perceived self-efficacy is defined as people’s beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves and behave. Such beliefs produce these diverse effects through four major processes. They include cognitive, motivational, affective and selection processes. A strong sense of efficacy enhances human accomplishment and personal well-being in many ways. People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided. Self-efficacy, Albert Bandura.
The theory looks at how positive experiences influence your ability to do well on the same task in future. So, positive feedback to your blog post or lots of views on your YouTube video means you may have a self-perception that you will do better at this task in the future.
Therefore, if you aren’t getting hits on your content, does this have a negative effect? For some, I believe it can. But it depends why you created the content in the first place. I obviously do feel proud and feel I’ve done well if a post gets lots of views and comments. But if I don’t I’ve likely learnt something during the process, improved my writing and discussed a topic that piques my interest – win-win really.
I understand it is different for different bloggers. Those who rely on it for income, for example, have more at stake. But for those who blog as a hobby, my advice would be to stick to a topic you love and you’ll never tire of it.
There’s so much more I could write on this topic, but that will have to wait for another day. In the meantime…
Catch the episode of The Digital Human here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b5stvq#play