Why read blogs?

I’d really like to know. I’m still mostly a print guy–I subscribe to a dozen magazines and read more of them on-line (as well as Google News daily), especially through the excellent Arts and Letters Daily digest.

My university-age sons enjoy blogs, however, as do many of my students. So that’s what I’d like to know from anyone who happens upon this blog: Why do you read them? Why do you respond to them? And what would you like to see in a blog like this?

Here’s what I’m afraid of: that I’ll spend time blogging that could better be spent reading and thinking, and then writing less, but of better quality and to a bigger audience.

Am I just technologically behind the times? I’d really like to know.

0 Responses to “Why read blogs?”

  1. Chris Manuel

    Hey John,

    Why read blogs? I think you’ve identified who reads blogs: teens and twenty-somethings. I make my living developing applications for distance education over the internet yet I believe your’s is the first blog I’ve visited. I do participate in user forums where there is two-way communication on a peer-to-peer basis. All of the discussion there is very specific: how do you do this, how do you do that?

    When looking for someone’s writing I tend to want an editor in the middle. But that’s just me: a middle-aged guy.

    Good luck with the blog either way.

  2. Ralph Winter

    I am as tech savvy as the next, but usually these things have nothing to say that i am interested in. i am usually more of an observer than a contributor, especially when it comes to movies and reviews.

    But so far this looks fun. And this seems to be at a much higher level than what i usually might find.

    let’s see if i can keep up.

  3. Kate Power

    The ultimate in C21st solipsism – or, at best, the uninformed writing to the ill-informed – has been my take on blogs until recently.

    I’m willing to give this one a go, given its producer; but, with an 18month old to care for and a PhD dissertation to write, it had better be good!

  4. Terry Tiessen


    I read people’s blogs because I am interested in the take of particular bloggers on matters of interest to me. I enjoy social commentary, heads-up on events, conferences etc. that might be of interest to me, links to items the blogger deems helpful or important on other people’s blogs or web sites, and book reviews.

    Scot McKnight has some observations about his own reasons for getting into blogging as well as advice for bloggers at Jesuscreed.org in a recent post. You’d find his thoughts interesting.

    I think you have what it takes to be a worthwhile blogger. Blessings on your venture.

  5. Donna-Jean Brown

    Why bother writing a blog? You and Chris Manuel give one important answer. Teens and young adults don’t read magazines or newspapers anywhere near as much as they surf blogs and websites. I’d bet that most of them don’t listen to CBC radio, either.
    Unless we older ones want to be stuck in a discussion that is limited to people of our own age and stage, we have to keep up.

    Why would I read this blog? Those of us who aren’t in a university/seminary community are hard pressed to find anyone who wants to discuss theology/faith at all, never mind how that connects with the culture at large. As for your blog in particular, John, I’ve read a couple of your books, but I haven’t had the chance to discuss them with you. Seems like a good idea to me.

  6. John Stackhouse

    So far I’m obviously not a “proper” blogger, in that blogs I have surveyed (and I’m so not an expert) trade mostly in pieces much shorter and more personal than what’s here.

    What I’m offering instead is what I think more people would actually care about, and written as briefly as I can put it–which means a string of columns rather than short blog entries!

    There are lots of other places to go for quick hits. Let’s see if there is sustained interest in something like this instead.

  7. Matt Jones

    Here’s what I’m afraid of: that I’ll spend time blogging that could better be spent reading and thinking, and then writing less, but of better quality and to a bigger audience.

    Be very afraid of that. But don’t let it deter you either. I read blogs because they offer a much wider perspective on things than standard media outlets can. They also allow me, in my own small way, to participate in the dialogue; either by commenting or writing on it myself.

    So far I’m obviously not a “proper” blogger […]

    I wouldn’t go that far. Your type of blog is the type that many look for an read. Yes, there are a large multitude that are more of a “daily life”/”personal” nature (mine often included in that), but blogs that offer content similar to yours are often searched out I think. I suppose that is part of the joy of blogs: there is a huge range available that will allow for different types of interactions.

    Nice to see you in the blogosphere, I miss Regent!


  8. DanieL

    Why read blogs?

    Personally, I read blogs because they are interesting. People have something to say and they are willing to let me in on the discussion – great. One thing I really like in a blog is when people talk about things that really matter: God, theology, how to live out this life, etc. They also provide a way for people like me (the 20 somethings) to interact with people like you (the more than 20 somethings).

    So I would say keep it up. Your blog is interesting and I would like to hear what you have to say about a variety of things. I feel your posts will be a nice change from the all too common blogosphere “rants.”

  9. don

    John … I just stumbled on this via Jordon Cooper. I think you will have a niche ‘blog. I only read 4-5 ‘blogs consistently, mostly Canadian, and the ‘plus’ for me is getting access to that ‘blogger’s unique spin, or perspective or insights ( on whatever ).

    I think the middle ground you find yourself in is great … not a diary, not full length researched articles/papers/books. You’ll continue to do that of course, but the ‘blog lets us in on some of the things you find yourself thinking about in your role. In fact, some of your postings may well inform your necessarily bigger/better role, kind of like a work in progress? I’d bet this time next year, if you looked back at 2007’s posts, you will see several threads or themes that developed on-line with your readership.

  10. John Stackhouse

    Thanks to everyone so far who has helped me get up to speed (or at least not lag quite so far behind) on blog matters.

    I’ll be glad for any questions or suggestions regarding issues you’d like us to address–either by comments or by e-mail at jgs88@shaw.ca.

  11. Andy Rowell

    You are perfect for the blog thing as are most winsome professors. You answer questions for a living and give thoughtful responses. You just share them with a broader audience this way. I am seeing your name on the blogroll (favorites) list of many important bloggers so you will get lots of hits. The most well-known professor bloggers are Scot McKnight and Ben Witherington but there are more every day. You are good though at trying to work in a disciplined and effective manner as I recall – going home and eating dinner with you family, etc. Those restrictions are very good. I heard someone say that “a blog is an unforgiving mistress.” It is an addiction that always needs attention and doesn’t give much back. I would say even a couple of entries a month are fine as a minimum and most people can manage that and not have their other “real work” suffer.


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