Everyone enjoys a good blog.
The problem these days isn’t so much whether you can find interesting stuff to read, but rather where to look for it, and what to read. It should come as no surprise that blogging now constitutes one of the most popular online activities of all time (already ranking as the 4th most popular activity back in 2009) , and with so many of us now at it, researchers have naturally started asking the question ‘why?’.
What kind of blogger are you?
Whatever the reason, there are some old favourites that always seem to crop up: ‘it’s cathartic’, ‘I want to connect with people’, ‘it boosts my reputation’… etc. And whilst many researchers have been able to document the social and emotional benefits that blogging may bring, what’s really interesting is that they’ve now found a way to classify our blogging styles into one of four categories .
If you’re a Therapeutic Blogger, it’s likely that your writing style is open and expressive, and that your blog is driven by the desire to change your emotional state.
People who score highly in this category tend to be less satisfied with their friendships, and also score higher for anxiety, stress and depression.
But it’s not all doom and gloom – Therapeutic Bloggers are well-versed in using coping mechanisms to deal with stress, such as positive reframing techniques, venting, acceptance, and the ability to seek out emotional and instrumental support.
If your blog is highly interactive and attracts lots of comments, subscribers and readers, chances are that you’re a Connected Blogger.
People who score highly for this type tend to be more satisfied with their friendships and less stressed and depressed than the other blogging types.
In fact, since they use their blogs to connect and communicate with others rather than to solve emotional issues, it is this group that (ironically for the Therapeutic Bloggers) tends to enhance and grow networks of friendships more easliy.
This is an interesting type. If you use your blog primarily to communicate with others but your focus is on presenting yourself in a positive light (as opposed to communicating in a more open way as you would among friends), you’re probably a Self-Censoring Blogger.
This group of bloggers often restrict their emotional expression, and are cautious about sharing their personal information online. In general they write fewer blog posts and are less likely to seek emotional support from others. They’re not the kind to vent their feelings online or use their blogs to self-blame, plan or positively reframe their experiences like the Therapeutic Blogger would.
All in all this is a pretty common style of blogging, which makes sense when you consider why many of us started writing blogs in the first place – to connect with others and develop our knowledge and readership in a particular area of expertise, making ourselves look good in the process.
If your main focus is on using your blog to interact with others, you might well be a Substitution Blogger.
Unlike the Connected Blogger, this type uses their blog as a substitute for real, face-to-face relationships, often due to social anxiety or as a way of overcoming loneliness in the ‘real world’.
What’s interesting is that whilst they are often dissatisfied with the number and closeness of their offline relationships, the Substitution Blogger tends to have a higher number of readers and subscribers than the other types, suggesting that their focus on their readers’ feedback and interaction pays off. The success of this kind of blogging highlights the very positive aspect of the web as a medium for bringing people together.
Do you fit the type?
Whilst these 4 blogging styles are certainly very interesting, I’m curious to know if there are any types that the researchers might have missed out. If you don’t fit into any of the categories above, let me know what kind of style you think you are.
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The Psychology of Online Persuasion
 Nieslen (2009). Social Networks & Blogs Now 4th Most Popular Online Activity, Ahead of Personal Email. http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/press-room/2009/social_networks__.html
 J. R. Baker, M. Psych, and S. M. Moore (2011). Creation and Validation of the Personal Blogging Style Scale. Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking, 14(6), pp. 379 – 385