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I don’t get paid for it, you know

June 25, 2009

Today has been a strangely (though not unusually) introspective day.

Conscious that I haven’t blogged as much as I have done in recent months, the prospect of writing a blog posting felt a little like occupying a room in a house I haven’t been in for a long time. It must have been a long time. The password had expired in my browser and I couldn’t remember the password to log on to the damn blog.

Part of the problem, I’m happy to confess, is the dependency I’ve acquired for things like Twitter and Facebook. In both those social networks I satisfy my genuine if at times unrealistic desire for human contact. I can pass comment on stuff which matters to me, seek opinion from others, engage in banter and from time to time (more rather than less) obtain reassurance on personal matters. The communication network is there. Why not use it?

But the pay of is that, if you can communicate what you’re thinking in 140 characters or a punchy Facebook status, then why bother committing 700 words (or often more) to a blog post? Where’s the time? And, assuming you’ve found the time, who really cares? Who’s reading it? Who gives a damn?

That’s the same argument that a blokey in the Technology Guardian newspaper wotnot was saying in his piece today about the “tail of the blog dying”.

It’s not the first time the point has been made. In fact I seem to recall reacting quite badly when BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones said the same. It seemed so unfair. Quit announcing to the world you considered the blog was dead. Some of us (admittedly, some of us who perhaps don’t write as regularly as you do – although come on, you’re paid to do it) quite like blogging. It would be nice if you didn’t say such things. It’s really annoying.

So now the point is being made again. Not only is it now backed up by personal experience gained as a result of over-dependence on the upstart alternative that is Twitter, but it’s also rammed home by someone who has a significant interest in the definition of the term “blog” at work.

What’s the rule? Don’t mix business with pleasure? Of course it is. Both my parents emphasised that piece of advice extensively when I was younger. This had absolutely no effect in the brief but largely effecient meeting I had with the said colleague earlier on today.

If there’s one thing I’ll probably (inaccurately) take from the meeting was the line “blogging will be for specialists and experts” when the question was asked how the pastime will develop alongside Twitter.

I saw an opportunity. I saw inspiration for a blog. “Could you just say that again?” I asked, “would you mind?”

He’d said just what I thought he’d said. “Well I’m a blogger. What am I specialist or an expert in?”

“You seem to know a lot about the Eurovision.” he replied.

It wasn’t necessarily the reassurance I was hoping for. Was that all I was considered expert in to blog about? A subject which by own admission I don’t consider I’m an expert in let alone a specialist? There are plenty of others who are specialist in the subject. Not me. Where does that leave me? Should I give up? Not bother? Should I leave it to the self-proclaimed experts or specialists?

The answer’s no. It’s an emphatic no. Of course it’s a no.

Once again, I’m trotting out the same line. Blogging is a pleasure. It’s an opportunity to create. It’s the chance to search for inspiration. To tap into something deep down and construct a sentence or two which reflects how I’m feeling in response to events around at a particular moment in time.

That’s what true blogging is about. Anything else isn’t blogging. Not in my book, anyway.

I didn’t say that, obviously. I merely thought it. But there must have been something pretty obvious written all over my face when I communicated what I’ve now forgotten because it was the question which followed which really stuck in my head.

“So how does your day job feel about you doing stuff for the Proms?”

“It’s extra-curricular stuff, after-school club stuff,” I retorted grabbing my pen and paper, sitting up straight and pinning back my shoulders. “I don’t get paid for it you know.”

“That’s OK then,” he replied.

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3 Comments
  1. Blogging is a creative art in writing form. You don’t have to be an expert or specialist in anything.

    Twitter and facebook have their place. As does blogging.

    Antony x

  2. For many of us, blogging is simply a small harmless exercise in narcissism, introspection or simple waffling.

    It doesn’t matter that we are not specialists. Sometimes, it’s nice to ramble on about life in general, and nothing specific.

    In my blog, I ramble on about my experiences as a transplanted Brit in Greece, little word portraits of the characters I come across in Athens, my love of words & language in general – and occasionally I have a little rant about things that make me mad.

    It doesn’t matter that only a handful read it and the comments can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Occasionally, someone reads my blog and sends a comment – and then it’s like a little ray of sunshine in my day, knowing that I have made a connection to someone out there, someone who I most likely will never have the pleasure of meeting in person.

    For me, one of the greatest things about the Internet is its ability to connect people across borders – be they physical, geographical, cultural, or whatever. And if blogging is the way we make that connection, who are the so-called experts to tell us to cut it off?

  3. By the way, if anyone is interested, my blog can be found at http://shemeanswellbut.blogspot.com

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