What’s your blog’s orientation?

I’m currently studying Adult Learning Theory at the University of Denver, as part of my masters program. This week we read an excerpt from Cyril Houle’s The Inquiring Mind that discussed learning orientation.

No, not that kind of orientation, silly. Gay or straight, Houle’s principles apply all the same. He claims there are three types of learners:
Breast-feeding bonobo

  • Goal-oriented: learning something for its direct benefit, e.g. learning how to fix a toilet because your bathroom is flooded.
  • Activity-oriented: learning for the sake of indirect benefits, e.g. taking salsa dancing lessons to find a boyfriend.
  • Learning-oriented: learning for the sake of knowledge, e.g. learning about the matriarchal habits of bonobos because bonobos are cool.

Interestingly enough, these orientations toward learning also apply to blogging:

  • Goal-oriented: Blogging for direct benefit, e.g. blogging for pay on behalf of another publication or organization, affiliate advertising income, book and product sales.
  • Activity-oriented: Blogging for indirect benefit, e.g. blogging to establish credibility in a topic area, thereby increasing print writing assignments, blogging to meet other like-minded people.
  • Learning-oriented: Blogging for its own sake, e.g. blogging to sate a compulsive memoirist inside you, blogging about bonobos because bonobos are cool.

Going even further, these orientation principles can apply to your readers, too. They may have specific goals in mind when they show up at your blog, they may be seeking to connect with others through a community you’ve created, and they may just be looking for some fun trivia to share with friends at happy hour. What you write (and how you write) can change dramatically when you know this about your audience!

So, my fellow blogarinos, why do you blog?  What do you hope to gain from your efforts? Are you getting what you want out of your blog, or is its orientation out of whack? And what do you think your readers seek when they click on your URL?