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Friday, September 10, 2010

At what point does tooling about on the web turn into a media project?

I started this blog in January 2007. Why? Because I was curious about blogging as a means of communication which offered such immediacy. That and the fact that I've got a restless nature. And the additional fact that in most mainstream media work you have to devote so much effort into persuading other people to let you do something that by the time you get permission you're exhausted.

Starting a blog is an odd thing. There's a curious early period when there clearly isn't anyone reading it and you feel as if you're miming a pop song in front of the bedroom mirror and you're terrified your mother will burst in. Then a few people drop in, presumably drawn there by the fact that they know you. Either that or the desultory nature of the contents.

Because I spend my working life doing things which have to fit into certain slots, it's the very amateurishness (in its literal sense) of blogging that appeals to me. In the real world nobody is going to ask me to write about sport or the way people behave on public transport so in the blog it goes. Like I say at the top the blog is for "stuff that won't go anywhere else".

But then you start to notice that some things are more popular than others. They attract more traffic and more comments. Then the temptation is to do more of those posts and less of the other kind, to try to anticipate what people might like. You get the same thing with Twitter. Somebody with a lot of followers re-tweets something you've written and the next thing you know you've woken up to fifty new followers. This is nice but then you wonder, what are these new people expecting? I've got a terrible feeling that I'm not going to provide whatever it is that they want.

It's at this point you have to say you don't care what people want – not that they know what they want anyway - and write a completely self-indulgent post like this one. Feels better somehow.