The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses. Vladimir Lenin
This site started in 2009 a more or less private site – the aim was to collect my scattered thoughts about online social interactions with specific views to gaming. I neglected it for over 2 years and only recently began writing a little for a genuine audience. The first round was fiction, not because it was easy but because it was hard(1). Honestly, I had never done it, had time over Christmas and was egged on by the great stories of my corp mate. It was hard work to knock the first three chapters out – 90% in the review and editing, 10% actually writing. Maybe in the future I do the Neal Stephenson thing and write longhand 😉
But then I moved into blogging for real topics, some of my posts were read quite a bit and discussed. No idea why. The blogosphere (great word, wished I had invented it) has many outstanding writers with far deeper in-game knowledge than I ever will have. It made me wonder why people do this in the first place. Blogging for a game does not make money, it can be quite a negative experience if nobody reads or those who read it hate what the blogger writes. But whilst some falter and give up, most march on and pump out post after post about their favorite games.
There seem to be three elements that motivate bloggers – in different proportion.
1. Self promotion (me = 20%)
Some people simply want to promote themselves. Any medium goes and if you have a blog site and you get hits, you feel important. A very large number of bloggers fall into this class. I don’t judge here. Playing with the medium is always good and writing well is a very hard skill. If in the quest to promote myself for a game that I likely won’t play next year, I become a better writer for life – all is well. And why not promote ourselves online? We do it with flashy cars, smart comments in meetings, a new suit, a bigger house. A blog increases our standing within our online community like a new Audi (or old Honda in my case) in my housing block. Nottin’ wrong with that.
2. Quest for education (me = 10%)
An astounding number of bloggers in EVE Online seem to be driven by the quest to report, educate and communicate. Jester is well known for the quantity and quality of his output. To what end? Sure some say he wants to run for CSM but the current CSM has some really lazy communicators, Jester’s way would likely be the hardest route to stardom. No, I believe that he (and Ender for example) genuinely care about the community and want to help others with their knowledge. Tigerears is another great site for educating WH dwellers for example. There are people out there who get a kick out of teaching.
3. Self-reflection (me = 70%)
There are a few blogs out there that don’t seem to be written for the public but more as personal reflections. My thinking works differently when writing for an audience as opposed to just notes. As they say, you never learn a subject matter as well as if you are teaching it. Writing a good blog requires clarity of thought, solid background research and at least some willingness to change one’s opinion half-way through. Thinking aloud about the metagame of MMORPGs taught me a lot more about people and their interaction than if I had just played the game. I am now reading a book about NLP, because of this blog because I want to think about how that translates into the online world. More on that – likely – later.
Bringing it home
Spending hours online shooting rocks or pixels representing another player is weird enough. Writing about it is even weirder. The reasons for doing so are likely to be as complicated as the players engaging in this activity but follow a few discrete patterns.
(1) Sorry JFK. I could not resist to quote from your speech.