9. Feelings and benefits associated with blogging: Older Bloggers Survey

Our Older Bloggers Survey probed the emotions aroused by the process and the community of blogging, and discovered very high levels of satisfaction and happiness. We also found a majority of participants appreciated certain benefits: contact with the outside world, new topics to think about, and challenges to achieve.

Pulsing heart with feelings: Not alone, 56 per cent, sense of purpose 67 per cent, satisfied 96 per cent, happy 80 per cent, relaxed 45 per cent, confident 58 per cent, "Na!" 3-4 per cent

What feelings do older bloggers get from blogging?

In Question 15, many of the older bloggers in our survey (40%) said that they enjoyed blogging. I wondered what other feelings were evoked by the activity of blogging.

Q. 16 What feelings do you get from the experience of publishing, reading, and commenting on blogs?

The great majority agree or strongly agree that blogging makes them feel satisfied and happy; more than half agree that blogging makes gives them a feeling of confidence, a sense of purpose, and a sense that they are not alone. Nearly half agree or strongly agree that blogging makes them feel relaxed. And a few don’t have any such feelings, often explaining why in their comments.

Let’s look at the results in a little more detail. All percentages are rounded, so they don’t always add up to 100%.

Blogging brings much satisfaction and happiness, and some relaxation

  • Blogging gives me a feeling of satisfaction: agree/strongly agree 96%, neutral 3%, disagree/strongly disagree 1%
  • Blogging makes me feel happy: agree/strongly agree 80%, neutral 17%, disagree or strongly disagree 3%

Satisfaction is an almost universal feeling among our bloggers, and I think that is an appropriate reward for the work we do. Satisfaction in this case is not just the result of a desire fulfilled; it’s a feeling we have earned, and perhaps a modest form of pride.

  • “Yes, a very satisfying occupation, sometimes takes a long time to get the links and photos in there.”
  • “I feel it helps with my writing skills and to satisfyingly communicate with others.”

  • “As a writer, blogging is a valid platform where I can be myself and not feel I am trying to ‘keep up’ with more ambitious, more successful writers. It is a pleasurable way of publishing my writing, without pressure to distribute or promote. Even if there is only one reader, I have achieved my aim of connecting, usually without judgement, review or any other agenda other than having expressed myself in writing, which is my joy.”

Happiness is much studied and pursued in the 21st century, and a hefty 80% of older bloggers agreed or strongly agreed that “blogging makes me feel happy”. That’s quite an extreme statement, compared with a feeling of satisfaction. And while 17% of older bloggers felt neutral about this statement, only a tiny handful of older bloggers actively disagreed.

  • “I love it!”

But does blogging make you feel relaxed? I was surprised to find that 45% of our older bloggers agreed or strongly agreed that for them, “Blogging makes me feel relaxed.” Almost as many (41%) felt neutral about the statement and 14% agreed or disagreed.

  • “I have to beware self-imposed pressure to keep up.”
  • “Aware can get carried away & need to break off.”

  • “Blogging helps to release my pent up emotions and give a relaxed feeling.”
  • “No matter how many times I do it, when I hit publish I feel a little anxious about what I’ve just said and how it’ll be received. I keep publishing despite that feeling.”

Blogging gives most older bloggers a sense of purpose

“Blogging gives me a sense of purpose” is a dramatic statement that drew 67% of our sample of older bloggers to agree or strongly agree with it. A sense of purpose is a powerful thing, credited by some researchers with improving wellness and even longevity. For some, publishing a blog is like a self-selected full time or part time job: they set high standards for themselves. The purpose for some is to promote a cause or topic (such as new economics or minimalist living or vegetarianism or gun control). For others, the purpose is the blog itself, or maintaining a blog community.

Just because a majority associate a blog with a sense of purpose doesn’t mean this feeling is universal. Many did not feel this way, with 29% feeling neutral about it. and 4% disagreeing.

Blogging gives older bloggers a sense of confidence

“Blogging gives me confidence.” With this statement, 58% of older bloggers agreed or disagreed. A large group (37%) felt neutral about it, and 5% disagreed.

This result is not surprising. There are many reasons why blogging would increase one’s confidence, from technical expertise to finding one’s voice.

  • “I feel competent.”
  • “I like how it gives me a voice–how it makes me feel heard in a wider arena and often validates me and my opinions and experiences.”
  • “I feel it helps with my writing skills and to satisfyingly communicate with others.”

Blogging helps many older bloggers to feel that they are not alone

“Blogging helps me feel that I am not alone”: this is another strong statement. It’s not a mild one like, “Blogging brings me new acquaintances.”

“Blogging helps me feel that I am not alone” implies that without blogging, sometimes the person might feel alone. Their isolation might perhaps be emotional, or physical, or political, or intellectual. To agree with this statement implies that blogging is an antidote to isolation or loneliness—at least occasionally.

In our survey of older bloggers, 56% agreed or strongly agreed with this statement, 38% felt neutral about it and only 5% disagreed or strongly disagreed.

This result strengthens the hypothesis that blogging can be a lifeline to the outer world, bringing support, acceptance, advice or just human company.

  • “Part of a world-wide community.”
  • “I feel connected to others outside my normal experience.”
  • “I love connecting with people in other countries. People are interesting and remote friendships are fun.”
  • “Although I wouldn’t ‘feel alone’ if I didn’t blog, I do greatly value the friends I’ve made blogging.”

Not everyone is in love with blogging: the outliers are honest

A healthy 14% actively disagreed with the idea that blogging made them feel relaxed. For all the other positive statements, 1–5% of respondents recorded their disagreement. No, blogging doesn’t make them feel satisfied, happy, purposeful, not alone, or confident. Their comments may explain why, filling out our view of older bloggers:

  • “None of this question applies.”
  • “It doesn’t do much for me—not enough focus or time spent on it.”
  • “I prefer to say it’s an enjoyable pastime.”

Some respondents explained feelings that were outside the range of the multi-choice questions:

  • “Reading interesting posts makes me feel engaged/interested/curious — and sets me exploring further.”
  • “I sound wishy-washy here, but it’s not about the blogging…and I don’t see my blogging as anything other than chatting to a friend on my phone…or having someone over for a cuppa and showing them my latest photos…”

Side benefits of blogging: social contact, mental stimulation, and a challenge to achieve

Just in case our questions had missed something crucial we asked one more question. The answers reinforced the main points that participants had already made.

side-benefits-of-blogging

Older bloggers appreciate certain bonuses of blogging: contact, achievement, and new thoughts.

In their comments, these older bloggers emphasised the mental benefits of blogging:

  • “Gives me a way to organize research, information and opinions.”
  • “One gets knowledge and opinions from fellow bloggers.”
  • “It does improve my analytical skills and my writing.”
  • “Sure gives the memory a workout.”
  • “Blogging helps me to think about things I wouldn’t normally think about at my job.”
  • “Improves my typing skills and photography, keeps my mind active.”
  • “Blogging improves ‘mindfulness’.”
  • “I learn new things and get ideas for future blogs or craft projects.”
  • “It keeps my mind active and I like to keep current with what’s going on in the world.”

Many comments were about the challenge to achieve:

  • “I find that having a blog challenges me to put my ideas on the line. Especially moving from education to sustainability issues later in life. I thought people might think, ‘who does she think she is, a big expert on sustainability now’, however people have not reacted like that so my fear was unfounded.”
  • “Blogging has led me to taking on challenges in the outside world including international travel and attending workshops and events locally.”
  • “Blogging challenges me to learn new things, e.g. technology, other social platforms, CSS, WP, photography.”
  • “Blogging gives me the chance to write out my opinions and thoughts, which helps me analyze and process events/feelings.”

And again, they emphasised the social aspect of blogging:

  • “I have encountered people I will never meet in person but whom I now consider friends — and have also met some bloggers ‘in real life’.”
  • “Keeps me in touch with others, admittedly new folks more than old.”

Summary:

23 thoughts on “9. Feelings and benefits associated with blogging: Older Bloggers Survey

  1. srbottch says:

    I find that I agree will all the positive sentiments. I’m bit surprised at the results.

    1. Me too! Always bear in mind that our sample of 120 consists of volunteers, people who blog and were kind enough to answer 20-odd questions.

  2. hilarymb says:

    Hi Rachel – I’m loving your feedback … it’s so interesting to see the collated views from your survey. And how we all come at blogging from different perspectives, as too with different ideas – I’d no idea what I was getting into – or that it would help me realise mypotential and that my knowledge base was quite good, or that I could write – at school and really through work I was considered mediocre – I’ve reassessed my credentials now. It’s interesting as I’ve learnt so much over the 9+ years I’ve been blogging … and now I will be moving forward with some goals to reach into the future. Congratulations to all who blog – there’s so much to learn and stimulate us … it’s working out what we each need from this area of fun …. cheers Hilary

    1. I too am very happy to read all the comments on these survey results, Hilary. They supplement the information gathered and may help others to recognize where they are in the grand Company Of bloggers.

  3. Rachel: Besides your writings, I enjoy your drawings. Are you using colored pencils, water color? I have taken up mixed media when I don’t want to be so much in my head and am curious. Thanks!

    1. Ah, the drawings… Yay, someone likes them! I have one rule, which I stretch a wee bit: do them very very quickly, don’t fuss, and use the first attempt. I use a drawing pen and then scribble all over them with either coloured pencils or crayons or both.

      1. Thanks, Rachel! I’ll keep “quick” in mind as I see myself as a “drawing-challenged” person and can over-think it.

      2. Go for it! Every drawing is an experiment, not a Work Of Art.

  4. This is a great post. It was really cool to see what older bloggers feel and think. I’m not that old (35), but I feel much the same way all the people you polled here seem to feel. Sometimes I do feel a bit of anxiety about trying to grow my blog or feeling like my voice doesn’t matter all that much, but I think a lot of that is just my ego or sometimes lousy self-esteem talking. Overall, I love sharing my life, feelings, and important ideas with others. I know I have helped a few people over the years too, thanks to a few readers reaching out to me via email.

    1. Thanks for your insights, Maranda. Maybe that edge of doubt is essential to the satisfaction. I easily believe you have helped some of your readers, too!

      1. Aw, thanks so much Rachel 🙂

  5. I’m curious to know what you might do with all of this great information. I think that it would be useful for more than just an interesting data point.

    I’m also a little curious about those who seem to hate blogging… why do it if it’s dissatisfying? I have my ups and downs as I imagine most bloggers do but no one is forcing me to continue if I decide that I’ve had enough.

    1. What next? is a topic coming up soon. I imagine some bloggers continue in the face of frustration and challenges, for reasons perhaps of commitment, duty, or just feeling that the challenges are worthwhile in themselves. For some, it’s a job. And they were honest about their mixed feelings. I’d be suspicious of a survey’s results if there were no outliers: statistically that is improbable!

      1. Oh, I agree. It’s just me being curious. I’d love to ask them follow-up questions to understand more.

  6. Dan Antion says:

    These results are some of the most interesting yet.

    1. Luckily, because the survey was leading up to these questions.

  7. Jonno says:

    Fascinating answers from all of the bloggers. Interesting how blogging means so many different things to different people.

    1. A revelation. We tend to assume everyone thinks like we do, but not so.

      1. Jonno says:

        Exactly. Blogging often feels a bit solitary but it’s good to know that there are so many others out there in the same position feeling the same way.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Sociologists speak of a third place with home and job being first and second. They talk of bars, clubs, churches, etc. I think for many of us a blog is a third place providing connection not otherwise present. Thanks for your research.

    1. That’s a very interesting insight! I’ve heard of the third place, and to picture a blog this way is original and plausible. Thank you, Elizabeth!

      1. Elizabeth says:

        You are welcome.

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