Psychological mindset
Prior to becoming a blogger I had an impression that blogs are nothing but an online version of a personal diary, and since I was never good at keeping diaries, I was not at all interested in blogging. But when last summer I came across several interesting blogs that were far from being someone’s personal diary I got hooked. Throughout my blogging days I’ve often heard and read remarks that people who blog are hungry for attention, recognition, fame, almost to the point of an egotism. I remember last year there was a meme going around blogiverse, tagging people on their reasons to blog, I too gave my five reasons why I blog, but I often wonder if there’s something else in my subconscious that propels me to blog that I’m unaware of or perhaps choose not to think about.

So I decided to ask my friend Isabella from ChangeTherapy to dig deep and create a psychological portrait of a blogger. Isabella is one of the most prolific blogging psychotherapists in Canada, and I’m very fortunate to know her in the offline world. In fact I’ve known her long before I got into blogging myself – we’ve met at one of the local social networking groups.

Now it’s time for me to present you what Isabella has to say about us, bloggers. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this topic as well.


The psychological profile of a blogger:
Ambitious, self-reflective, and forever learning

by Isabella

Blogger, who art thou?

Vivien asked that question. I don’t know that anyone has done a study of this. Even John Suler, one of the most well known psychologists studying the psychology of cyberspace, has nothing on his blog about it. So let me just throw out some ideas here.

A few weeks ago, I collected some of the goals some bloggers had stated they had for 2008. I looked at those goals and extrapolated to certain qualities. These were the ones that showed up the most, in order of frequency of occurrence:

  • ambitious, achievement-oriented
  • interested in community
  • reader-oriented
  • visual
  • self-reflective

They also appeared to be interested in learning, a bit obsessed, playful, conscious of time management, value-oriented, and to have a desire to be effective and focused.

Do you recognize yourself in some of these qualities? I certainly can see Vivien in most of this – she’s the queen of visual, after all! – although I haven’t noticed her being obsessed yet. I also know her offline, so I think I have some authority here :)

As I was reflecting on this, I also wondered about characteristics not found there. Greedy, for example. Most of the bloggers I know are above-average generous.

In addition, it occurs to me that the research I did on online learners a while ago might shed some light on this. My masters thesis was on transformative learning and distance education; on learning that made a lasting and important difference in people’s lives. Although I have no hard evidence, my hunch is that many bloggers might be similar to these learners. The reason is that in my observation, the most outstanding quality in both bloggers and the distance learning students I studied is the desire and interest to keep on learning on our own, no matter what. I have yet to meet a consistent blogger who is not interested in continuous learning.

While my research did not focus specifically on distant learners’ psychological profiles, I nevertheless had enough material from over 200 people interviewed that allowed me to reasonably speculate on their general attitudes.

What I noticed was that these people seemed to have a tendency to be enthusiastic, interested in personal growth, lively, perhaps even intense, open to new experiences, independent, ambitious (again), self reflective (again), introverted, expressive and early adaptors.

Come to think of it, there is a strong connection between being ambitious and achievement oriented on the one hand and the desire to keep on learning on the other. It’s all about being motivated to move forward, about being unwilling to live with the status quo.

Now let me be really clear here: First, these are my observations, which, although I believe them to be well informed, is not research. And secondly, at last count, Technorati was tracking over 70 million blogs. Since Technorati is not tracking all blogs and this number was collected a few months ago, I think we can be safe to assume there are 100 million blogs out there.

Obviously, if there are 100 million blogs, written by almost as many bloggers, we have just about any shade of personality represented. For example, included in these 100 million blogs are the myriads of blogs dedicated to link farming and scraping, something usually motivated by the greed that I hadn’t seen earlier.

Thanks, Vivien, for inviting me to write about this. As one of those forever-curious, forever-learning people, my curiosity is piqued now, and I think I’ll dig a little deeper into this question.

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13 Insightful Bits in response to “The Psychological Profile Of A Blogger”

  1. If I’d have been blogging through my university studies, there’s no doubt I’d have been more successful with my qualifications. No doubt.

    One of the main reasons I blog is to learn, and it’s amazing what my readers teach me on a constant basis.

    I enjoyed this insight from Isabella.

  2. Thanks Vivien and Isabella for this great read!

    I agree that most people who blog or who read blogs on a daily basis are very focused on learning. It may seem like an odd place to learn (or at least it did a few years ago), but there’s just so much information that can be found from other people.

    I learn from both the blogs that I read and the classes that I attend, and I think that they are both equally important in helping me get where I want to be.

  3. Ina

    Ladies, thank you for putting this together!

    Personally, don’t know other bloggers “in person”, “off-line” or how ever you call it (or think I don’t!).
    So, can just talk about myself.

    I can totally see many (might be a bit presumptuous to use the word All) of the above mentioned character traits in me. And as far as greed goes, true as well, I consider myself to be anything but greedy (except for knowledge!).

    Thanks again and bestest wishes!

  4. david, jacob and ina – thanks for your comments!

    interesting how all three of you latched on the learning aspect!

    ina, do you twitter? for me, that’s the next best thing to knowing people face to face. yup, twitter not facebook. to me, twitter is like meeting in – okay, let’s say a comfortable college lounge; facebook is like going to the mall.

    (also, there’s meetup, have you ever tried that?)

    ah! that’s something i’ve totally missed in the profile:

    opinionated and a bit smart-alecky!

    :)

    (that certainly describes me)

  5. haha, Isabella, you certainly know how to made others laugh ;-)
    Thanks so much for your guest article. Since it was received with such a great feedback, I hope that this will not be your only post on Inspiration Bit.

    I’ve just created an account on Twitter, but haven’t done anything with it yet. I’ll be posting all my social networking credentials soon, so can get some interaction going ;-)

    David, Jacob and Ina, really glad to see that you all enjoyed the article. Looks like Isabella was right on spot by highlighting the huge appetite for learning that describes the majority of bloggers so well.

  6. This was really facinating! (just in that first sentence you can see enthusiastic, lively, expressive and the desire to learn. Ha!)

    Vivien, thanks for inviting Isabella to write this and Isabella thanks for accepting the invitation. I never thought about looking into the psychological profile of bloggers, but most of the things mentioned here describe me for sure. I’m very interested in personal growth and challenging the status quo (at least the one within myself), which includes a lust for learning. Online is also a less intimidating way for the introverts in us to step out and meet new people.

    And I too have noticed the extreme lack of greed in all of the serious bloggers I chat with (i.e. not the scrappers, but the people here for the long haul). I think every blog I read the authors could be paid to write books on their subjects and yet here they are online giving so much away for free! It’s pretty incredible, really. And they are all so willing to help, offer advice and do something nice just because. It’s a really great community, this blogosphere :)

  7. You’re certainly very welcome, Lauren. Me too, I’m sometimes so pleasantly surprised by the generosity of some bloggers, and not only with their share of knowledge on blogs, but also in comments. There are some bloggers, yourself included, who write comments that are longer than other bloggers’ posts, and with much more insight.

  8. there are so many future blog posts in this conversation already! learning, generosity … and you know, it’s interesting: earlier on we were talking about ego. i guess ego would be ONE motivation to write on and on as we do as bloggers. but generosity is another one, isn’t it? we have some ideas, some experience, and we don’t just want to keep it to ourselves, we want to share it.

  9. I agree, we blog because we want to express ourselves and also because we are in a continual state of learning, which we then express, and on goes the feedback loop. Feeds, feedback and feedburner – somehow there is a message here for us, and we blog and connect and intercommunicate until we get it and express it again and again. I love the group mind of the blogosphere and the individual expressions I discover reading the blogs of others. I also love to post about my passions or nifty stuff or the work of friends, especially artists. Isabella, you are spot on about the “type” of blogger, but as the blog becomes a more ubiquitous medium, we’ll see all kinds. Next year who knows what the profile of the average blogger will be. We can only hope that the “morphogenetic field” that has been set up over the past few years will have staying power, creating an unwritten framework for bloggers in years to come. Much to think about here – I just realized I started ranting on – thanks for the inspiration!

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on