I agree with all those statements, most people can spot someone who’s not being authentic a mile away. Usually their blogs are overfilled with drama and excuses. Quite often they cater to the masses offering no real value. I also agree you should write for yourself and no one else. However, I believe that the only way to do these things, the only way to be genuine and to write for yourself, is to understand why you blog in the first place. What is your primary motivation? Is it to hold yourself accountable? To reflect? To keep a record of your progress? Or is it something different like being part of a support group or to seek fame and fortune (better go get some lottery tickets)?
Below you’ll find a few different types of weight loss blogs. Now to be up front, all blogs are different and will display characteristics from any and all of these categories. This is not meant to be a “pick from the list and blog this way”, but rather, something for you to think about. We are all unique and there is no right or wrong way.
The primary motivation for a lot of bloggers is to have a journal to capture their thoughts. These blogs are usually filled with daily activities, choices made, and a general expression of how the blogger is feeling. Blogging is sort of like a therapy, a place where they can go to escape with their own thoughts for a while.
The dear diary bloggers don’t need a large audience; the act of blogging is their support structure. They do visit other blogs and they do make comments but not as much as some other types do. These bloggers also tend to blog quite regularly; usually every day, again, because it’s a form of therapy.
In my opinion a lot of blogs start out this way and then fail because it’s not the really what they needed to get from their blog. If you find yourself constantly craving for more followers, pageviews, or comments, then you need to ask yourself why (see other possibilities below). If you find yourself making exaggerations to add drama or writing things simply to get a reaction from others, then you are probably doomed to fail. Journals are meant to be full of truth and personal emotion.
It is also quite ironic that these types of blogs can actually end up with quite a following if the blogger actually succeeds at losing a lot of weight. Why? That’s simple, because everyone loves a happy ending and we all want to believe we can do the same. Because these blogs are so full of truth and emotion they are also quite inspiring!
Another primary motivation for weight loss bloggers is the need to be held accountable. If you tell the world your story and you continue to provide updates on your progress, it can be a strong motivation to not want to fail. These blogs usually contain a lot of numbers and facts, before and after pictures, and progress reports.
These bloggers need followers and pageviews. They will comment and follow other blogs but largely to the extent that the want those blogger to follow them. These bloggers are also very quick to point out when they fall. They want you to see how they are doing and they need people to tell them they are doing well.
The one big problem with blogging for accountability is that you can always choose to stop blogging. If you are blogging for accountability, then you need to maintain that commitment to post in both good times and bad.
These bloggers want to be part of a community. Quite often they don’t have a strong support structure in the real world and they want to be part of something that will help them get better. They are willing to share some personal stuff, but mostly they just want to interact with others.
These bloggers spend as much time at other blogs as they do on their own. They don’t care so much about quantity of followers or pageviews; it ‘s the comments they want the most. Community bloggers also post a lot of comments on other people’s websites and get email follow-ups in case someone responds and they can get a thread going.
Community bloggers have a tendency to post more about topics than their own personal journey. Their goal is to get others thinking and engaged in the conversation. The community is their support system. They tend to post less often than the other types because they spend a lot of their time on other blogs instead of writing content for their own.
The big watch-out for community bloggers is that often they get caught up so much in being part of the community that they forget to focus on actually losing weight.
Don’t take my Fruitloops!
There's one more group that I call Wildcards. Wildcards are unique, they don’t really conform to any style. They tend to be very polarizing, some you might enjoy, others you can’t stand. There’s not really any point to discussing a wildcard’s motivation because, after all, they are wildcards! Seriously though, these folks entertain and quite often exposing the lighter side of things in a topic that's often depressing. It doesn't have to be serious all the time!
Why I Blog… Confessions of a FogDog
When I started this blog I was searching for accountability. I didn’t need support because I was very arrogant and already knew everything! I followed other blogs and commented but only to the extent of trying to get followers and pageviews, I didn’t value what others wrote. I did incredibly well losing weight for about 3 months and then I started to falter. I had already built a reasonable following and I was ashamed to admit I was failing. Since I am a truthful person, the simplest solution was to just stop. See ya all later!
I came back almost 2 years later. This time I was going to be a bit of a wildcard. I was going to focus on writing about stuff you don’t see anywhere else. I was still doing it for accountability but just with a little twist. That lasted for about a month and I didn’t even have any good results.
Before I started again I decided that I needed to truly understand why I wanted to blog. I already said that I love to write and I now also know that I blog to be part of a community. I learned through coaching youth sports that I find it very rewarding to share my knowledge with others, but more importantly, I also found out that there's a lot to be learned from those you share with. With this epiphany I learned that my true path to being healthy was never about using the limited knowledge I had, but rather about finding new knowledge and sharing it all with anyone who wants it.
So I don’t blog for self-reflection (I do that enough already). I don’t blog for the shock value and I don’t really blog for the accountability anymore because I’ve learned that doesn’t work for me. I blog to share and to learn!
Followers, Page Views, & Comments… oh MY!
Unless you’re running it as a business, you almost certainly started a weight loss blog for one ultimate reason… to help you lose weight. Now we all want to be liked and we all want to have friends, but I truly believe that in order for your blog to help you, you have to understand your motivations behind it. In order to write it for yourself, you need to know what it is you need to get from it.
Many people that give up blogging about weight loss probably would say they didn’t get out of it what they thought they would. To those I would ask this question “Is that true, or was it simply that what you wanted out of it and what you needed from it were two entirely different things?”
Blogging can be a great tool to help you lose weight, but only if you are doing it for the right reasons.
So… why do you blog about weight loss??
Acknowledgements - Congrats to Sean Anderson on his 6 year anniversary, his post today started my inspiration on this article. I also wanted to call out Jack Sh*t; my favorite fruit loop. Glad you're back as you keep us all sane!
[Photo: Flickr / Mike Licht]