My blogging command and control center
Since Delwyn's and my recent posts about the pleasures, perils and responsibilities of blogging, I have been thinking about why I/we do it. I like applying different "templates" or theories to different phenomena to see if they "fit", and realized that Will Schutz's theory of group development could explain some of the satisfactions that keep us blogging.
Schutz's theory was that all humans come to groups with three basic needs. These needs drive behaviors in groups - but for the most part are unconscious and unacknowledged. The needs are:
3. openness or affection
1. We all have different inclusion needs. Some of us need to include ourselves or feel included in everything. Some of us have less of a need to feel included, and may, in fact, have strategies to exclude ourselves. Some of us have a strong drive to include others, whereas others of us may unconsciously derive pleasure from excluding others. Inclusion needs in a group could be said to be about whether, or to what degree, we are "in" or "out".
2. We all have different control needs. Some of us really need to feel in control of everything. Others of us are happy to follow, and do not want the responsibilities that control or leadership bring. Some of us derive pleasure from controlling others, whereas others of us may not seize control but derive pleasure in subverting someone else's control. Most of us just like to be in control of our own fate in any situation (which unfortunately is not always possible). Control needs in a group could be said to be about whether, or to what degree, we are "up" or "down".
3. We all have different needs with regard to openness and affection. Some of us feel a need to divulge everything. Others of us keep information about ourselves very close to the vest. Some of us need to feel a sense of strong connection. While others like to connect, withdraw, connect, withdraw. Some of us are touchy/feely, while others are not. Openness needs in a group could be said to be about whether we are "open" or "closed". Or you could think of it as being about how much you are willing to disclose, reveal, or risk.
While thinking about blogging, it occurred to me that we all come to blogging with these 3 same needs for 1) inclusion, 2) control, and 3) openness. The powerful pull that blogging has, in my opinion, is that we alone decide to what degree we include ourselves; we have almost total control about the content, scheduling, investment we make in our blog; and, we decide how open we will be in terms of including private details about our life in our blog.
We get to satisfy these needs, with a small degree of risk, and a large measure of control.
Group dynamics are not literally involved, because most of this is a solitary task. And yet, it is social networking from a distance and it is this distance that allows us to get our needs for inclusion, control and openness met - without having to see anyone's 'in the moment' reaction to what we do. No one calls us to task (usually), preferring instead to not comment (not be open) about something they take offense to, and to perhaps not visit (not include) that blog again. We alone can determine how much we reveal (how open we are) - and do not have a group member across a table asking us questions we prefer not to answer. If someone asks something we don't want to answer on our blog - we just don't answer (control).
So we have huge control needs that are met by blogging. The price we pay for getting our control needs met - is that we are engaged in a virtual world that could crash and burn in many different ways at any time. And, of course, Schutz's theory does not cover every need or want that drives us to participate in this activity of blogging - but I think it does address some factors we might not think of off the bat. A lot of the bloggers that I visit clearly engage in blogging as an outlet for their creativity, be it humour, writing skills, jewellery making, artwork, photography, etc. And there is always the old voyeurism motivation. However, I wanted to highlight 3 driving forces that we might not normally consider.
I would be interested to hear what you think about this application of Will Schutz's Theory of Group Development to the blogging phenomonen. Does blogging meet some of your needs for inclusion, control, and openness or affection? What other needs are being met for you by blogging that are not covered under the umbrella of this particular theory? Are there other satisfactions about blogging you would like to share here? Are there issues about blogging that you have yet to resolve (or even understand) for yourself?