I have been mulling the fascination with blogging, and have come to the conclusion that I blog (maybe many of us blog) because it is instant publication gratification. (Parenthetically, I would say that posting photos is also instant gratification--sharing photos that I am proud of having taken.) Blogging is certainly a discipline for me--when I first began blogging, my daughter read the early posts and then warned me that I had better keep posting or she wouldn't bother to read my efforts.
Talk about pressure. No mother wants purposefully to disappoint her daughter.
What I found is that the more I blog, the more I think about things to blog. I find my thoughts organizing themselves into sentences that would sound appropriate in a blog. And the discipline of writing blogs, not necessarily daily, but with enough frequency, helps to sharpen my writing skills.
My writing style is no different in blogging than it would be in most anything I might write. Oh, I might be more formal were I writing a piece for publication in a professional magazine. Certainly I would be less personal. But as far as the reach of vocabulary goes, I would try no less hard to phrase my thoughts just so in a blog than in any other piece that carries my ideas out into the world.
In addition to the instant gratification that blogging brings, reading blogs appeals to the voyeuristic tendencies that many of us have. Over twenty years ago, I read a fascinating work called Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages by Phyllis Rose. Rose's thesis in part is that we are all fascinated by the intimate details of famous people. She held up for public scrutiny the marriages of Jane Welsh and Thomas Carlyle (not a good one), Effie Gray and John Ruskin (even stranger), Harriet Taylor and John Stuart Mill, Catherine Hogarth and Charles Dickens (controversial even today), and George Eliot and George Henry Lewes (the only normal marriage in the lot). Rose argued that we all want to know what goes on in people's private lives.
I am not sure that I go quite that far on why we read blogs, but since I am reading blogs of people unknown to me, I have pondered what the fascination is. Of course, I am struck by convergences between my interests and the interests of the blog writers I am reading. Perhaps I am drawn to the blogs I choose to read because they are writing about things I would inherently find fascinating. In a way, I consider these bloggers to be my friends--living at a distance from me, and people I will never meet, but nevertheless people about whom I care, enough to check out their writings on a daily basis making sure, yes, they are still there, still thinking, still caring, still blogging.