On Dan Li’s “Why Do You Blog?”

dan liWhy Do You Blog: A Uses-and-Gratifications Inquiry into Bloggers’ Motivations” is a recent master’s thesis of Dan Li from Marquette University (Milwaukee, WI).

Her study explores the patterns of blogging, blogging motivations, and the roles of motivations as well as demographics as predictors for blogging behavior. Six aspects of blogging behaviors were examined: 1) how bloggers cover topics in writing; 2) how bloggers manage feedbacks from readers; 3) how bloggers use hyperlinks; 4) how bloggers present themselves; 5) how bloggers expect readership; 6) how bloggers use design elements.

Seven motivations for blogging emerge in this research: self-documentation, improving writing, self-expression, medium appeal, information, passing time, and socialization. Except for passing time, all the other six motivations were highly approved by bloggers. Most of those motivations are moderately correlated.

Interestingly, gender differences were located in many aspects of blogging. Men claim higher approval of information motivation while women endorse self-documentation, self-expression, and passing time more.

Other than gender, age also plays a role in motivating people to blog. Motivations as self-documentation, self-expression, and passing time have a negative relationship with age. Educational level was found no connection with specific blogging motivations.

On the whole, this was a pretty lengthy study spanning 170+ pages, but like the PEW Internet Study, provides a lot of research data for analysis and gives comprehensive overview of the motivations for blogging from the uses and gratifications perspective.

You can visit her research blog at whyyoublog.net and grab a complete thesis PDF there.

Dan has since began her doctoral program at the School of Communication in Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). I wish her all the best!