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.


  1. Your posting certainly wasn't as pointless or as self-indulgent as this reply is.

  2. Of all the "well-known" people I follow on Twitter, your posts seem the most satisfying. Maybe it's my age, but you're better value than all of the so-called comedians and public figures. Enjoy this blog, too.

  3. Having been in bands that nearly broke through and certainly began to make money, and then carried on playing music for fun, I can probably point at the similarities between writing for a wage and blogging.

    Both playing for fun and writing for fun do give you a certain amount of freedom. You can do and say what you like really. You can change the rules as you please. The minute you start writing in both fields to order you're buggered.

  4. I know the feeling I related my one and only anecdote about someone turning up to one of our parties with a parrot. Which then got retweeted by someone with loads of followers. An hour later I've 20 new followers all standing there virtual tapping their feet and looking at their watches waiting for presumably more macaw based japes.

  5. I have no idea who you are nor expect anything from you but I did enjoy reading your post.

  6. This is the blogging equivalent of a band’s transition from “we just do what we do, and if anybody else likes it, that’s a bonus” in their first NME interview, to their self-indulgent second album that’s all about the vicissitudes of fame.

    Do bands still say that in their first NME interviews? I bet they bloody do.

  7. And blow me, hundred million bottles washed up on the shore!

    Well, 8 anyway....

  8. It would take an awesome super computer to second guess the mood swings of something as dynamic as the internet.

    Sometimes it's the thing that you dash-off in a heartbeat and then post barely-edited that gets the most love.

    By tomorrow the online world will moved on. There's so much 'stuff' competing for our attention; whatever you did will have been buried beneath zetabytes of amusing jpegs featuring adorable kittens peering out over the tops of Wellington boots.

    It's probably a good idea not to take it too seriously.

  9. My blog is entirely self indulgent, but that's why I started it.

    Having said that, I'm now at the stage where I'm starting to get enquiries from marketing companies about placing adverts and doing paid reviews. I'm extremely reluctant to do so because I don't want to be beholden to anyone when it comes to what I post.

    For me it's like an online scrapbook: just a way to narrow down the impossibly huge web and concentrate my thoughts.

  10. I like your blog precisely because you say what you think, rather than what you think I want to read. If I want to feel pandered to, I'll read The Guardian. Or better still, The Sun.