Blogging the limelight: A personal account of the benefits of excessive blogging

A few weeks ago, I got an email from one of my regular readers asking how I managed to write so many blogs and whether I might be “addicted” to writing them. I wrote back to her and noted that I had already written a blog on whether blogging could be addictive (although the blog itself was a more humorous take on the activity) and that I definitely wasn’t addicted to writing them (either by my own addiction criteria or anyone else’s – and no I’m not in denial). She wrote back and asked me if I got any benefit to writing them. Well, as a matter a fact there are lots of benefits, and I thought I would share you the benefits of blogging (at least from my own perspective).

I take my blog writing very seriously. (Some say too seriously). Not only do I have my own personal blog, but I also have a blog (called In Excess) on Psychology Today, and am a guest blogger on many other sites including the British newspaper The Independent, the gaming site GamaSutra, and debate sites such as The Conversation. Earlier this year I was delighted to see my personal blog pass one million visitors and at the moment is getting around 3000 visitors a day (which I’m really pleased with).

On average I publish three new personal blogs a week (having published five a week for the first six months). I’m thinking about cutting down to two a week (and I realize I sound like a cigarette smoker in saying that) and I have to admit I do sometimes get the urge to write and publish a blog. However, there are many benefits. Here are some of the main ones:

  • Raised national and international profile: My blog helps in the dissemination and promotion of my research, the Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University, and the discipline of psychology more widely. My opportunities to write on other blog sites almost all came from the success of my personal blog.
  • Increased media opportunities: My blog has attracted the attention of various national and international radio and television programmes and has led to over 20 media appearances based purely on my blog entries (such as an American syndicated radio interview about my blog on ‘punning mania’ or appearing in a Voice of Russia radio debate talking about ‘DVD box set bingeing’ after I had written about it in my blog). I would also argue that the 12-episode series that I filmed for the Discovery Channel (called Forbidden and on which I was the resident psychologist each week) was directly helped by my blog (in fact the whole series is a televisual version of my blog).
  • Additional resources for university teaching: I’ve been using lots of my blogs to supplement my teaching resources. Students on my ‘Addictive Behaviours’ module have been particularly appreciative of my blogs on gambling and sexual paraphilias (based on my module feedback for the past couple of years).
  • Additional resources for ‘A’ Level Psychology teaching: I have also discovered that various ‘A’ Level psychology tutors are recommending my blog to their classes in relation to the psychology syllabi on both gambling and addiction. The feedback I have received is that students like the populist way I write by blogs that aid student understanding.
  • Blogs as forerunners for papers and articles: About 15 of my blogs have been lengthened and adapted for articles and papers. For instance, a paper I wrote for the Journal of Behavioral Addictions on sexual paraphilias was based almost totally on material in my blogs.
  • Blogs reprinted in other magazines and publications: A number of editors have contacted me and asked if they could reprint my blogs in their publications. For instance, my blogs have been re-published in the gambling trade press (e.g., World Online Gambling Law Report, i-Gaming Business Affiliate), addiction magazines (Addiction Today), and newspapers (e.g., the Nottingham Post have published three of my blogs in their ‘First Person’ column). One of my blogs on the Government’s Stoptober campaign was reprinted in the Nottingham Post, led to 11 radio interviews (including BBC Radio 5 Live), and was also published in outlets such as the Evening Standard newspaper and the ITV news website.
  • Dissemination of preliminary results and new ideas: Blogs can be a very quick way of disseminating preliminary results and ideas. I only ever do this if I think it will have a wider reaching effect than waiting for formal publication (e.g. some kind of political effect). Writing blogs is also a great way of raising issues and ideas without having to write a full-blown article. The also provide an excellent forum for the establishing initial thoughts, novel observations or naming new phenomena. It also provides a chronology of ideas that I can then cite in more formal academic papers.
  • Participant recruitment for research: Although there are ethical questions to consider, blogs can help in the (solicited and unsolicited) recruitment of research participants. I’ve been amazed at the number of different paraphiliacs that have contacted me following the publication of my blogs. The most high profile example is the case study that I published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior on eproctophilia (sexual arousal from flatulence). The case study I wrote up and published contacted me after reading my first blog article on the topic. When the case study was published, the story appeared in hundreds of stories around the world.

I hope that this small insight will persuade you that blog writing on issues related to addiction, obsession, and behavioural excess has been good for my academic career and that there are numerous benefits. The activity certainly gives me a rush sometimes, and is one of the most important things in my academic life. Some may argue that my blog writing is excessive. True – but it is not an addiction. It’s just something I genuinely love doing.

Dr. Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Dunn, A. (2012). Blogging, the tipping point, and free will. Psy-PAG Quarterly, 85, 31-32.

Greenhill, R. & Griffiths, M.D. (2014). The use of online asynchronous interviews in the study of paraphilias. SAGE Research Methods Cases. Located at:

Griffiths, M.D. (2012). The use of online methodologies in studying paraphilia: A review. Journal of Behavioral Addictions, 1, 143-150.

Griffiths, M.D. (2013). How writing blogs can help your academic career. Psy-PAG Quarterly, 87, 39-40.

Griffiths, M.D. (2014). Top tips on…Writing blogs. Psy-PAG Quarterly, 90, 13-14.

Griffiths, M.D., Lewis, A., Ortiz de Gortari, A.B. & Kuss, D.J. (2014). Online forums and blogs: A new and innovative methodology for data collection. Studia Psychologica, in press.

About drmarkgriffiths

Professor MARK GRIFFITHS, BSc, PhD, CPsychol, PGDipHE, FBPsS, FRSA, AcSS. Dr. Mark Griffiths is a Chartered Psychologist and Professor of Behavioural Addiction at the Nottingham Trent University, and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit. He is internationally known for his work into gambling and gaming addictions and has won many awards including the American 1994 John Rosecrance Research Prize for “outstanding scholarly contributions to the field of gambling research”, the 1998 European CELEJ Prize for best paper on gambling, the 2003 Canadian International Excellence Award for “outstanding contributions to the prevention of problem gambling and the practice of responsible gambling” and a North American 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award For Contributions To The Field Of Youth Gambling “in recognition of his dedication, leadership, and pioneering contributions to the field of youth gambling”. His most recent award is the 2013 Lifetime Research Award from the US National Council on Problem Gambling. He has published over 600 research papers, four books, over 130 book chapters, and over 1000 other articles. He has served on numerous national and international committees (e.g. BPS Council, BPS Social Psychology Section, Society for the Study of Gambling, Gamblers Anonymous General Services Board, National Council on Gambling etc.) and is a former National Chair of Gamcare. He also does a lot of freelance journalism and has appeared on over 2000 radio and television programmes since 1988. In 2004 he was awarded the Joseph Lister Prize for Social Sciences by the British Association for the Advancement of Science for being one of the UK’s “outstanding scientific communicators”. His awards also include the 2006 Excellence in the Teaching of Psychology Award by the British Psychological Society and the British Psychological Society Fellowship Award for “exceptional contributions to psychology”.

Posted on May 8, 2014, in Addiction, Case Studies, Compulsion, I.T., Obsession, Popular Culture, Social Networking, Work, Workaholism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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