Blog Archives

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/978144627305013508526

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.

Blog eat blog: Can blogging be addictive?

Unless you are one of my followers on Twitter, you probably have no idea that yesterday’s blog was the hundredth one I had published since I began my blog at the end of November 2011. I try to post a blog on every week day and the only time that I have not done this is when I don’t have internet access while on my travels or when I am on holiday. I’ve had a few emails asking how I manage to blog so frequently and/or whether I am “addicted to blogging”!! In honour of my century of blogs, I thought I would use today’s blog as an excuse to take a (not so-serious) look at blogging addiction.

As a psychologist there seems to be a predictable set of questions that I am asked by people when they first meet me. Things like “Oh God, you’re not analyzing me are you?”, “It’s all common sense isn’t it?” and “What’s my body language saying then?” spring to mind. However, for those that know me, my passion for publication, and my love of appearing in the media, I now seem to receive a set of predictable questions that other psychologists tend to ask me at conferences. These consist of variations on a theme: “Would you describe yourself as a ’writaholic’?”, “Are you a publicity junkie?”, “Have you written more papers than you’ve read?” and “Are you addicted to writing/appearing in the media?”. I’m sure you get the general picture.

I ought to say that I really don’t think I am addicted to writing and/or appearing in the media but can I really be sure? If you are a regular reader of my blog you will only be too aware that my specialist research interest is behavioural addiction. I talk about addiction all the time (to my students, to my colleagues, to my friends, to the media, and on this blog). I like to write or appear in the media as much as I can. I keep a detailed diary and I seem to be at my word processor or on the telephone to journalists a disproportionate amount of time. I write about writing. I write articles on productive writing. The fact that I’m writing this blog on this topic tells you something. Therefore what follows is a little bit of light-hearted self-analysis.

To begin with, I have asked myself the following questions. When did I first get into print? When did I first appear in the media? What is it about these activities that could be addictive? What are the rewards? Why don’t other people seem to get sucked in the way that I do? Well there’s no doubt that seeing your name in print can give you a little buzz. The first time I can remember seeing my name in print was when I was nine years old and I had a poem published in a poetry magazine called Cornucopia (a very alliterative poem entitled “Kung-Fu Karate Kim”. I kid you not!). I also remember seeing my name and photograph in the local newspaper which (at the young age of eight years old) also gave me a big buzz (although I don’t think I had ever heard of the word “buzz” at that tender age). My first proper radio appearance was at the age of 10 years old on a BBC Radio Leicester programme called Conkers (I was there to talk about a county Road Safety competition I had won). As early adolescence kicked in, I didn’t care about smoking, drinking, playing slot machines or the opposite sex. I wanted to do things that would get me into print.

So there you have the roots of my possible addictive tendencies towards seeing my name in print. I suppose it also partially explains why I like doing so much media work whether it be TV, radio or the press. I love writing. I write a diary. I write poetry. I write songs. I write academic papers. I write fiction. I write letters. I write, write, write. There is no doubt that I now require something special to give me a big buzz like getting a book published or seeing an article I’ve written in a top quality journal or a wide circulation publication. I find it quite amazing that someone like Sigmund Freud never had a thing published until he was 39 years old. There’s hope for me yet.

It may come as a surprise but some people (including a small percentage of academics) may be addicted to writing. Those who have an “ink problem” undertake ritualistic behaviour engaging in the activity and experience intense “highs” on the acceptance of an article or seeing the article finally in print. Tolerance occurs quickly with writers having to write longer and longer articles or books to get intense “highs” (a stage at which the writing is well and truly “booked”). Irritability and withdrawal effects are experienced when they (a) get an article rejected, (b) go more than a few weeks without getting anything published, (c) run out of ideas to write about (many writers fear developing a “think problem” and some may even resort to “clue sniffing” for inspiration) or (d) are on holiday without access to a word processor. This last problem can sometimes be avoided by carrying a writing implement. Anecdotal evidence suggests such addicts show cross-tolerance to pencils and biros but not to crayons.

So here I am writing the ending to another a blog that I know will be published. Admittedly not the best blog I’ve ever written but one that will help me feel as though I’ve been at least a little bit productive today. Some might say it’s been therapeutic. I’m certainly not the only blogger to consider the issue of ‘blogging addiction’. Check out the links below if you don’t believe me!

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

Further reading

Flodner (2012). Guest blogging addiction. February 27. Located at: http://flodner.com/guest-blogging-addiction/

Mitchell, J. (2008). Blogging: Addiction or conviction? Blogcritics Culture, October 2. Located ar: http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/blogging-addiction-or-conviction/

Online quiz: How addicted to blogging are you? Located at: http://www.oneplusyou.com/bb/blog_addiction

Salkin, L. (2011). Why blogging is addictive. Blazing Minds, February 28. Located at: http://blazingminds.co.uk/blogging-addictive/

Vahni (2010). Are you addicted to blogging? Independent Fashion Bloggers, November 19. Located at: http://heartifb.com/2010/11/19/are-you-addicted-to-blogging/