Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Greed of Blogging

This post is centred on Christian blogs for I cannot speak of other brands. Within that, this post is largely a self-critique, but all the while wondering if it is not a fairly universal thing.

As with all the things that bounced through the new year, I have pondered this blog. I have pondered its content, its author and how life was and now is for him. I try to reflect on worth and value, point or pointlessness, propriety or otherwise of all that I do.

I noticed something in my own blogging behaviour that niggles me, and that is greed. I have taken the process back to the start:

1. I felt like I ought to write a blog, without any real knowledge why. I hoped that someone somewhere might read it
2. I constructed one and wrote a post.
3. Some people read, and that was nice - so I wanted more.
4. I wrote more and more people read, and that was nice - so I wanted more.
5. I learned tricks to expand readership, and they worked, and that was nice - so I always want more.

I often try to evaluate the theological rationale for this outpouring from the depths of my fleshy inner-bits, and the answer is as yet unclear. I think I have something relevant to say; I think I have a perspective that appears so far to be largely unique (among bloggers); as a means of communicating the Gospel and a Christian perspective, this is an acceptable means; I could just make a difference somewhere. This oscillates from one end to the other of the 'Pointless Waste of Time' Spectrum, but always there is an emerging greed in this. Whatever I want to say, I hope that people will read, and then in greater numbers. I hope that this is underwritten by good intention, but greed is greed and that troubles me a little.

I take some small comfort in knowing that I am not alone. I know several bloggers personally (though not biblically, you understand) who have confessed a similar appetite, and I wonder therefore, if the greed of blogging is not universal. If it is, is it wrong? Is it a symptom of writing something that we hope will be read, or is worth reading? It may be, of course, that I am deluded and the only blogger in the world who wants more readers (or is prepared to say so, out loud). 


  1. I wanted more readers until I got about 70 hits a day. At that point, I found the conversation on the blog became really interesting, and the dialogue was as much as I could cope with, I feared that if I got more people reading it then I wouldn't be able to cope with all the conversations that go on.

    I think it was the same with Twitter... I was very keen to get followers until I got to about 250, and then there were a large enough bunch to chat with that I didn't really want any more.

    Same with Facebook actually - I think it became fun after I had about 100 friends...

    I think the whole thing is about the quality of the dialogue.. and you do need a reasonable size bunch of people to achieve that. But I wouldn't say that was greed...!

  2. Hi David, It's an addiction--because of its immediate gratification in terms of attention and validation. Small instant measurable online successes.
    That is why so many Christian bloggers stop or take a break--when they sense this addiction is threatening their health or sanity or soul, as other addictions do.
    I am new to this (started blogging 8 months ago, and of late, have sensed its addictive nature. I need to withdraw and pace before it becomes a full-fledged addiction!!

  3. Very laudable. Keep going.

    (But the ones I really remember are 'the drunk at the cash machine' and the one about searching for a job.)


  4. If you are going to confuse greed with showing off then you would have to accuse all creative people of being greedy. Personally I have more problems with pride and blogging than feeling guilt about being greedy.

  5. What was that you said a few hours ago about guilt? For heavens sake please don't start feeling guilty about needing/wanting more readers. If what you write has merit it will earn and receive response be sure.
    You are often challenging, sometimes amusing, but invariably interesting. If you check back on comments on your blogs you will see a pattern emerging (note also the blogs which do not elicit a response - ponder, then react) For me as well I suspect as for most others, the purpose of bearing our souls in public (or a carefully edited section of same) is to draw as many responses as possible.
    Long live the noble (sometimes) art of blogging!.

  6. Helpful all - and I see all your points. A friend of Facebook suggested that the appetite for blogging is probably the same for those who penned our scriptures - that need to be read. I guess if it was their greed, it cant be all bad.

    Lesley - thank you, helpful indeed.

  7. I think we Christian bloggers will be okay if we remember why we got into this in the first place

  8. My earlier post this morning did not appear so trying again
    The Bible does not explicitly cover every situation we will face in our lives.How then is it sufficient for the all the ethical dilemmas we face? That is where Christian ethics comes in.

    While G-d's Word may not cover every situation we face throughout our lives,its principles give us the standards by which we must conduct ourselves in those situations where there are no explicit instructions.

    So when we reflect upon the correct citation of Greed we see that it is the love of money,not money itself.So please Fr. David do your blogging as there is no financial rewards to bring
    Jane de Villiers

  9. Sometimes I want more readers, sometimes I want to say something and want people to listen, sometimes I post to work out a frustration and sometimes I write in order to see if what I'm thinking makes sense.

    I'm not sure whether I can easily disentangle these and other motives, but then why should blogging be the one activity I don't have mixed motives?



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