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Me, Rory Cellan-Jones & Blogging

October 24, 2008

Some people outside the BBC may be surprised to learn that even though I work at the BBC I don’t have access to the BBC newsroom.

There is a good reason for this. If I did have access I suspect there would be an outcry. I’d be creating havoc wherever I went. I’d inadvertently antagonise busy journalists. “Get him out of here!” they’d cry. Who knows, they might even stage a walkout.
As of 7.15am this morning however (when I read Rory Cellan-Jones’ blog posing the question ‘Is blogging dead?‘) I suspect there could be another reason I can’t get into the newsroom. If I did and I saw Rory Cellan-Jones I think we’d have to have a bit of a fight.

Obviously, Mr Cellan-Jones can’t be thinking blogging is dead otherwise he wouldn’t be writing about it. But still posing the question leaves me seething.

It’s true the blogosphere is now overrun with voices. Someone in the media was saying that to me two years ago. I took it badly then. It can only be a whole lot worse now.

Blogging works for news and it works for opinion. It also works for those of us who like to write (even if we’re pretty certain only a handful of people actually read it).

But as someone who feels as though he’s come to the party relatively late, I can’t help feeling a little irritated by how the amateur, small-time bloggers have been eclipsed by “the big boys” hijacking attention.

But even though my irritation with “the big boys” masks nothing but deep-seated jealousy when I look at my own blog statistics, I have to admit that I do rather rely on blogs. They feed inspiration as well as provide an outlet.

It’s a delicate ecosystem. If blogging is about conversation then bloggers need other bloggers. Bloggers also need other bloggers in relatively high places whose words can provide inspiration for their own relentless waffle. We all need sources of information and targets. Writing is about tension. Without tension there’d be precious little to write about.

We all need each other, you see. Which is why reading the seeing the question being posed “Is Blogging Dead?” would make any first meeting I might stumble on with Mr Cellan-Jones quite a fraught affair.

If we were to fight, I suspect Mr Cellan-Jones would have the upper-hand. After all, he has considerable more journalistic experience, does considerably more research than I do and, quite justifiably, has considerably more fans than I do. This combined with the fact that I bite my nails would mean that us scratching each other’s eyes out could result in me being the miserable loser.

On the other hand, I would use strength of personality and what ever quick-witted retorts I could find from a Google search before I delivered my final, much-hyped death blow:

“Rory – dahling, sweety – I know you have to ask difficult questions, that’s what journalists do. That’s what they should be encouraged to do. This is the BBC after all.

But Rory – dahling, sweety – please don’t ask questions like “is blogging dead?”
You know what will happen. People will just read the title, skim read your perfectly crafted words, pour over the responses and then jump to the inevitable conclusions and us struggling creatives will be completely and utterly doomed.

The one thing I don’t want to see happening is for people to be put off from consuming blogs, especially mine.”

At some point during this self-indulgent diatribe I anticipate that Mr Cellan-Jones will either have walked off and called security, or he’ll have started editing me or pointing where I might use basic grammar to help reduce verbosity. In short, I don’t think I’d win the fight.

But the point still stands. You might think the blog is dead, but it isn’t. And if you are someone who does think it’s dead, would you be good enough to keep that thought to yourself until such time as I’ve found a different creative outlet?

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