The Bloggers’ Hierarchy of Needs

Lately there has been a lot of chatter amongst bloggers about different people’s motivations for blogging, and a lack of interaction on social media.

Whatever your motivation for blogging – whether it is a hobby, a profession, or whether you write to prove to yourself your brain still functions, to record family life, share recipes, craft ideas, host competitions and giveaways, review stuff, whether you class yourself as a funny, commentary or any other genre blogger (stick your hand up if I’ve forgotten anything while I pause for breath) – I thought I’d look at how, for all our differences we share many similarities with each other.

Confused? Fear not, all will become clear!

You might have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s a theory by psychologist Abraham Maslow, in which he detailed humans’ motivations – and what we need to function, succeed, and fulfil our own potential.

I hope Mr Maslow does not turn in his grave on seeing my interpretation (below), but I thought it is a handy way of showing what motivates we bloggers:

TheBloggersHierarchyofNeeds.jpg

Typically, descriptions of the hierarchy of needs starts at the bottom, with the important stuff, the things we really cannot live without:

The basics (physiological needs)

We need food and water in order to exist. We bloggers like to talk about food – a lot! Whether it is yummy recipes, cake, going out for dinner or whatever, we like to talk about it and write about it. We need water (or fluid in general), and a nice cup of tea or glass of wine (or whatever your favourite tipple is) is even better!

Sleep is also a basic function for all of us, but something that most of us don’t get enough of, especially if we have small children. We wonder whether to spend time blogging, or talking to folk on social media, or catching up on sleep (many wisely choose the latter. Choosing otherwise too often is a likely course to madness).

Oh, and wifi. Yep, we need food, water, and (more) sleep. We need them to function, and we like writing about them. But without wifi? It’s now up there as a necessity for most people, and especially bloggers – no posts or social media chats are going to happen without it! (*shudders a the thought of returning to dial-up internet*).

Safety is next on the order of needs. We need to feel safe – personal security, job security and financial security are all vital. Blogging is professional bloggers’ source of financial and job security. Bloggers might write about domestic and sexual violence, conflict zones, and health issues – helping themselves by using writing as a therapy, as well as others through raising awareness. Bloggers have a crucial contribution to make where these issues are concerned!

Belonging and Support – my personal experience of the blogging community is that everyone is kind and supportive. Whether it’s through blog comments or social media interaction, we send virtual hugs when we are having a bad day, celebrate good times, or offer a bit of help when it is needed. It is a community that I love belonging to.

However, you only get that sense of belonging by joining in, and contributing as much as you take. I won’t parrot what other people have been writing recently about link dumping on Twitter and how folk don’t talk enough any more, but my tuppence worth is that it is called social media for a reason. We all have days where we’re too tired, too busy, or just can’t be bothered to chat on Twitter. That’s ok. But in general go on, get involved: read, talk, comment!

Self-esteem and self-respect. Ah, self-esteem – that concept that often proves elusive for too many of us. Our self-esteem can be buoyed up by blogging: gaining recognition and praise from fellow bloggers, and knowing our blog has value to others is important to most of us (and I think those who say these things aren’t important to them are fibbing a teeny bit).

On the other hand, our self-esteem can also be damaged through blogging. Feeling that you aren’t getting the recognition your writing deserves can be a real downer.

Worse, being trolled is devastating.

Linked to that, we will sometimes read something by another blogger that we don’t agree with. Constructive criticism is welcomed by most – a healthy discussion is good – but don’t be mean. Remember what we were told when we were little (and that you probably tell your children now): if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all! Be kind. Always.

Achieving your potential – this has a different meaning for everyone. Blogging might mean achieving your potential as a creative person, improving your writing (and even writing professionally because of the opportunities that come from it); using your blog to express your desire to be the best *insert ambition here* you can be; inventing the best cake recipe, or creating the most beautiful craft.

It is whatever is relevant to YOU.

YOU are best at being YOU. Don’t try to be anyone else!

 

So, there you have it. Whatever your motivation for blogging, and whatever benefits you get from it, we can all find something to relate to in the hierarchy of needs.

Group hug!

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72 thoughts on “The Bloggers’ Hierarchy of Needs

  1. hannah mum's days says:

    Wow, what an awesome post and I hope you take great Self-esteem and respect points from the amount of love this post has received! Love how you’ve linked it back to an old philosophy (I need to look that up!). You touch on some great points and I know I’m guilt of some of them but I guess I get my blinkers on sometimes as I’m heading straight for the tip of the triangle! You’ve made me remember I need the sides and the middle too…!

    thanks so much for linking up to #TheList xx

    Like

  2. Victoria Welton says:

    What a great post. You have exactly the same ethics as me at the end there! I am always me in my blog posts – I can’t pretend, people would see right through me!! Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo 🙂 x

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Blimey, that does sound like a cult! I see the point of Maslow is that for all our differences, we have the same needs, it doesn’t mean we are the same people – so much better to set the needs yourself! Thanks for commenting, I’m pleased you liked the post xxx

      Like

  3. joyandpops says:

    This is a great interpretation. It is so important to remember to be true to ourselves.
    The blogging community has been a real eye opener for me. I always felt quite isolated as a mum, I had children at different times to my friends and very different experiences. Blogging is a great way to pull mums together.
    Great post!
    Xx

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      The blogging community is very supportive, I am so glad to be a part of it. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it – and it’s so good to remember to be true to ourselves. Thanks for commenting xxx

      Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thanks so much Sian. It’s so easy to get caught up in other stuff we can lose sight of what we’re doing and when. But yes, you are your best you! Thanks so much for reading and commenting xxx

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  4. Brandyn Blaze says:

    I love this! It’s so, so true! I have a background in Psychology, and this take on the Hierarchy Of Needs is wonderful. I’ve always felt you could apply that to anything. Us bloggers are a unique bunch, indeed! It’s amazing how many similarities we all have, despite the many differences. It’s definitely a lifestyle and a mindset as well as a hobby and/or career.
    #Sharewithme

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I think people having their own voices and way of doing things in blogging makes it interesting, but if think it’s important to reflect on our similarities so we make sure we all pull together as a community. I agree it’s a lifestyle and mindset, so easy to get passionate about it. Thanks for commenting! xxx

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  5. Jenna says:

    Ahh, Leigh – this is so clever. I remember learning about the hierarchy of needs when I was I was studying for my Youth Work degree. This is such a brilliant take on it. It’s so refreshing to hear somebody say that we should all blog about what we and do it for whatever reasons we want too. I totally agree, there’s room for all of our voices on the internet – that’s what is so good about it. xx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thanks, Jenna! I think so many of us bloggers put pressure on ourselves, but we should always remember why we’re blogging and make sure it doesn’t make us unhappy. As you say, there is more than enough room for all our voices on the internet – it’s so important to stay true to yourself xxx

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  6. thereadingresidence says:

    Oh, I love this, Leigh. And I do like that you’ve added in wi-fi as a basic need – surely Maslow would have done that, too, if it had been around back then?! You had me nodding with every point you make, and your final line is spot on x

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you! Oh yes, wifi is something that so many of us take for granted! I’m so pleased you like it – I thought it important to show that we’re all the same for all our differences. Thanks for commenting xxx

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  7. Katie / Pouting In Heels says:

    Such a brilliant post Leigh and one I think us bloggers can all definitely relate to! Funny how blogging becomes as much a part of who you are, as it is a part of your life. It’s hard work but the benefits – from forming wonderful friendships to working with brands to earning money – are incredible.

    I think it’s important to remember that there are no real ‘rules’ when it comes to blogging. We’re all trying to find our way in the blogasphere and as it’s such a relatively new medium still, things will continue to change and evolve. What is amazing is that we’re all a part of it and that we do it because we love it!

    Also, I just wanted to say that what is also brilliant about blogging is the ability to raise awareness – as you are doing so brilliantly – and making others feel less alone and isolated. We’re all in this together and nothing proves this more than the amazing blogging community!

    Phew, essay over! 😉 XXX

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you, Katie – I think your point about the lack of rules in blogging is spot on. Blogging is about doing what is relevant and meaningful to your life and your interests, and anything goes – as long as you are happy and you are not hurting anyone else in any way, of course!

      Blogging really is an amazing medium, giving people fab opportunities, the chance to make lovely new friends, and to raise awareness. It’s an incredible thing to be part of. Thanks so much for your kind comment! xxx

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  8. HonestMum (@HonestMummy) says:

    Brilliant post Leigh and I’m familiar with it as I have used it in screenwriting when plotting-good for setting up adversities the protagonist needs to overcome, first staying alive of course then focusing on romance/love etc.

    … I plug my posts a lot on twitter and elsewhere as well as make conversation but time is an issue, there is never enough for everything and I say do what feels right for you.

    There are no rules in blogging and we are our own editors. If people don’t like or enjoy what we do and write they don’t have to read or follow.
    I love the friends and colleagues I’ve made from blogging including your lovely self and this really is a medium that can empower and create greater equality in the workforce, particularly for parents, offering high income and flexible hours for those who choose and want to pursue it as such, but everyone has different needs as you’ve said… First and foremost my blog is my joy and passion and I feel lucky that is also my job, fab post x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thanks, Vicki! Using the hierarchy for character development is fabulous – sounds like a brilliant way of figuring out their motivations. We all plug our posts on Twitter – it’s the way to get them out there, and get our work noticed – and absolutely, in terms of conversation there is no right or wrong way, whatever you have time for.

      It really is the community that makes blogging a pleasure – I am honoured to have made such supportive, lovely friends including you because of it.

      I really love the potential of blogging to as you’ve said empower and offer greater equality and options for people – in general, but to follow their dreams, too. Thank you for your lovely comment xxx

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  9. Mrs H says:

    This is brilliant. You are completely right. Blogging and social media is about getting out what you put in. Everyone I speak to is supportive and lovely. And that encourages me to blog more. Group hug, Mrs H xxxx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you Mrs H! It’s like anything in life really – you do get out what you put in. I agree, the support encourages people to blog more, and hopefully to be themselves and think about the unique contribution we can all make xxx

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  10. Louise says:

    Love this post Leigh – what a brilliant way of summarising the reasons why we blog and our needs as bloggers. I love being part of such a wonderful community and agree with you about the importance of being kind when commenting – better not to comment at all than to be unkind and it is possible to disagree and debate without being mean.

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you, Louise – the community is a big perk of blogging. Absolutely, it is possible to debate without meanness – and anyone who is unable to do that should refrain from commenting – or at least count to 10 before they type, and read their words back to themselves before pressing ‘submit’! xxx

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  11. mytravelmonkey says:

    Amazing post and you’re absolutely right. Sometimes it’s just not possible to be completely on it all the time. I was feeling a little jaded over the weekend about blogging but you’ve pulled me right out of my slumber! It’s hard not to compare yourself to others but we’re all doing different things. So I’ll try to remember that! x

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thanks for your comments – and sorry again for the comment gremlins! Thanks so much, I’m so pleased you like the post. It’s wonderful to hear the post has helped you get out of a blogging funk. When you care about something so much I think we will all have our ‘moments’ with blogging, but it’s important to remember why you blog, and not try to emulate anyone else. You are the best you, and are wonderful at being you! xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea) says:

    Great post Leigh! I’m blessed to have had so many fantastic opportunities through blogging – including raising issues that are important to me like fertility awareness and sharing our infertility story – and I have a real compulsion to write but at the end of the day it’s the connections and friendships I’ve made with so many lovely bloggers that makes it so special. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to comment as much as I’d like to!

    Oh and a huge YES to wifi *shudders at memories of dial-up* and I think Maslow would be proud 🙂

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thanks Michelle! I also love writing for its own sake, and raising awareness about issues that are important to me – but it is the friendships and support I get from you lovely people that really does make it so important to me. I’m glad you share the same sentiments.

      Dial up internet is a scary thought isn’t it…and I’m pleased Maslow would be proud! Thanks for commenting xxx

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  13. Tim says:

    Ha! I’ve been meaning to do a post around Maslow for ages and now you’ve saved me the bother. I completely agree with what you’ve written – and it’s funny how we have come to regard wi-fi as a basic human need so quickly!

    It’s funny, in some (but not all) ways I think I’m now somewhere around the top two levels. I’m busy contemplating ways to do less rather than more, and just focus back in on the things I want to do rather than the things I felt I needed to do. It’s really rather lovely – like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Aw, I’d be interested to see your take on it! It really is incredible how dependent we have become on wifi within a few short years.

      Concentrating on the things you want to do sounds pretty sensible. It’s easy to get ourselves in a spin by feeling obliged to do lots of writing or participate in every linky – but realistically, it’s just not possible. I’m not surprised it feels like a weight being lifted from your shoulders. Thanks for commenting! x

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  14. Kiran Chug says:

    This is a fab interpretation Leigh and a great way of looking at things. I believe the most important thing is that we are blogging for our own reasons, and we stay true to them – so not blogging because we feel we must or out of a sense of obligation. Great read x

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thanks Kiran. I think you’re right about making sure we stay true to our own reasons for blogging, and not try to emulate anyone else. Bloggers care about their work and everyone is bound to have the odd ‘moment’, but that’s the way to keep enjoying it I think. Thanks for commenting xxx

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  15. Hannah says:

    Brilliant post Wifi is a definite must have for me! I don’t use blogging in other way than as a hobby so job and money wise don’t really fit into my triangle the rest very much so! ESP how blogging can both lift you up and dump you right back down again!x

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thanks Hannah! I think many of us are lost without wifi these days. Blogging can lift you up and dump you down again – I guess it’s the effect of caring about something, but we have to make sure the down parts don’t get us too down and that we still enjoy blogging. Thanks for commenting! xxx

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  16. cafebeb1 says:

    Wonderful post Leigh. Blogging is so many things to so many people but hopefully it is always a place of happiness and security as well. Everyone is trying so hard to be noticed these days…I just hope those people are loving what they are doing.

    Well said my dear.
    Karin xx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you, Karin. I too hope it’s a place of happiness and security for people, and doesn’t cause bloggers additional stress and strife – we all have enough of that in our lives already! Thanks for commenting xxx

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  17. maddy@writingbubble says:

    Excellent post! I love this interpretation of the hierarchy of needs and think you’ve covered all the reasons why blogging is important to bloggers. My favourite part of blogging is the community aspect but I have to admit my focus is on blogs rather than twitter. So I always reply to comments on my blog and always respond to a comment with a visit to the commenters blog and a reciprocal comment. If this develops into repeat blog interactions than all the better! That, to me, is more important than getting into twitter interactions.

    That said, I always respond to @ messages on twitter – it would be rude not to! – and I do enjoy having twitter chats, but honestly, twitter overwhelms me a bit! It’s scope is just too big for me to handle. This, of course, means I will never have masses of twitter followers or a hugely successful (in the sense of high rankings) blog but so be it. It’s the only way I can juggle blogging with family and my ‘real life’ friendships and social life!

    Oh, and I have a tendency to leave epic comments like this! Perhaps another reason why I don’t really like twitter – I want to say more! Love the message at the end of this post! xxx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you, Maddy – I love it when people leave a comment of any length, but such a detailed one especially – it shows it has hit a mark and resonates with readers, which is a lovely feeling!

      The community aspect is my favourite part of blogging, too. I probably do 50/50 blog comments and social media but I’m certainly not scientific about it – some days I’ll tweet more than others, it can depend what is going on. I always make sure I reply to comments and @s – (sorry to anyone I may have missed!).

      I think the underlying message is do what is right for you, what makes you comfortable, whatever fits in with your goals, and the time you have to dedicate to blogging. It’s an important part of many of our lives, but we do also need to hold it in perspective and not let it take over to the detriment of family life and the non-blogging friendships (as precious as my blogging friendships are to me).

      Thanks again! xxx

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