n+1 nails an important psychological aspect of blogs:
Imagine a grandfather clock that strikes at random intervals. You can’t tell time by it and yet you begin to live in constant anticipation of the next random chime.
Pavlov was there first. He realized that there was something especially alluring about random reinforcements. When the reward was unpredictable, it was extra rewarding. Blogs take advantage of this mental principle. (So do slot machines.) After all, the updating of blogs is inherently idiosyncratic. Bloggers don’t have deadlines.
I’m acutely aware of this whenever I visit The Superficial, a celebrity gossip site that is one of my guilty blogging pleasures. (Sorry, Al Gore. Assaulting reason can be fun.) Because I never know when the site will be updated (What is Lindsey Lohan up to now? What about now?) I’m perpetually checking the website, hoping for some random blogging reinforcement. I feel like a rat pressing a lever, waiting for his morsel of food.