Thursday, December 07, 2006

Post #498, wherein I discuss blogging and look forward to my 500th post

It's so vain, isn't it? But I'm ... well, not exactly proud, no ... more amazed that I'm almost at post #500. Back in March, when it all started, I really didn't know if I'd keep it up for any more than a few days. I only really investigated blogging because a colleague was mocking the whole phenomenon, saying: "Why do these people [bloggers] think anyone is interested in what they have to say?"

What I've found is that reading blogs satisfies a certain need that I've long known existed in me.

I've never felt fully content with any magazine that I can go and buy in a shop. They present me with page after page of shit. For every one article of interest, there will be at least half a dozen that you can't be arsed to read. That's if you're lucky. How many times have I -- or you -- bought a magazine solely for one article? Many times, that's how many.

"Sure," you might say, "that explains why you read blogs, but why do you keep one?" The answer to that is kind of related. I try to fill my blog with the things that interest me. We probably all do. I'm kind of thinking that if this stuff interests me, it might interest someone else. They may never get to read it, of course; that's the nature of the Internet. But it also exercises my creative muscle -- a part of me that has been neglected for a few years while concentrating on work. So I suppose I think I'm creating the kind of "online magazine" that I would enjoy reading.

I saw a great show on TV the other night. It was an episode of Imagine, the Alan Yentob programme on BBC1. Every episode of this series has been really good, but this one was about the Internet, focusing on music, blogging, MySpace, and the like. It was actually quite inspirational, and after it finished I just wanted to run to my machine and partake in all that the Web has to offer. It made me see -- again, because don't we all already know this? -- just how little I actually use the Web to work for me. It is such an incredible tool. And it's free. Not only free to use, but free, to a great extent, from censorship and elitism, too. Anyone can do it. They likened blogging and MySpace to the punk ethos, which had occurred to me previously, just as it must have to many. Blogging is the equivalent of making fanzines; putting music on MySpace the same as forming a band and playing in garages. The chief difference is that there's a potentially enormous audience for both that was never there before.

But we bloggers are all in the long tail of entertainment here. What's interesting, though, is that as more and more content is user generated, the long tail is getting longer. This, in turn, means that the big entertainment machine is becoming a smaller part of what consumers consume. This is a great thing for us, but a bad thing for the entertainment industry. Something's got to give.

Stay strong, bloggers of the world. The future of entertainment is in our hands!


Blogger Will said...

Oops, I just dropped The Future of Entertainment on the floor and it broke. Sorry.

07 December, 2006 12:37  
Blogger Milla said...

"How many times have I -- or you -- bought a magazine solely for one article? Many times, that's how many."

How many times have I bought a magazine just because of a picture, even? Many times.

07 December, 2006 12:48  
Blogger Tanya said...

I agree with you, *. I can find a lot of stuff out here in the internet (like Gothic baby clothes) that I wouldn't find on the high street.

Also, I get to connect with like minded people and some who are not so, but I am touching another culture.

People express themselves differently in written form and certainly, the Internet doesn't require that you even have to be yourself (Hey, I blog for Jesus!)

07 December, 2006 13:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post! I completely agree with you on why we do what we do here.

And thanks for your comments on my site.

07 December, 2006 16:38  
Blogger martinobhoy said...

The main reason I blog is I've found it is a good way to record how I was feeling or what I was thinking about (usually Celtic, Italian film actresses and grappa) say a week, month or year ago.

I'm still amazed when I find out that not only do people read it but some are even interested enough to leave a comment.

07 December, 2006 16:41  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

great post, *!

and such a great point. i seldom consider WHY i love blogging so much... i just DO.

i think part of it, also, is like having a little community of pen pals (without the nerdiness of being actual penpals)


07 December, 2006 18:17  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Will: That was rather clumsy, wasn't it?

Milla: Not so much for the pictures for me, funnily enough, but I can see how that's possible for people.

Tanya: It's all of that and so much more, isn't it? And YouTube the same. I can't wait to see where that goes over the coming years. It could really be a viable alternative to television.

LDB: Thanks, pet. And you're welcome.

Martino: Yeah, and that's kind of, partly, the reason I started. I've never been a good diarist, though, so it was no surprise when I began to "comment" on topical issues or just think, "Oh, I think I'll actually try writing something..." It's amazing that people read and offer feedback, isn't it? So immediate and personal, in a way that most other forms of writing or "publishing" aren't.

Martha: Thank you! I was never a good penpal, although I believe Red was in her youth. But, yes, it's very much like that on several levels.

07 December, 2006 18:36  
Blogger Spangly Princess said...

interesting, *, I agree with most of that, I think especially when you find the blog of an individual who has a refreshing or unusual take on things, or a combination of interests which is new to you, or a particularly good writing style - or of course all of these - it's very pleasing and a bit like having a particular director or journalist you always check out.

I also love the freedom to talk about quite random stuff, from the personal to the political, the serious to the frivolous. Because as individuals we all have a huge range of interests, and it's good to be able to explore them in the same place.

Likewise Martino's point, my blog acts as a personal record, I can look back & find old Roma thoughts or remind myself of where I was emotionally at a certain point in the past.

08 December, 2006 12:24  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Spangly: And randomness is the exact reason that most magazines are uninteresting, I think, because ultimately they need an editorial slant. Of course, with blogging is it also very easy to build up a cyberfriendship with people, too, because of the material of a personal nature that is often included; and this is not something that you get with mags either.

08 December, 2006 14:28  
Blogger mister anchovy said...

I started blogging because it was a handy place to put ideas...not necessarily big ideas, but stuff I was thinking about, or came across, or dreamed up. It never occurred to me at the outset that anybody would read it. Nor did I think I would find a kind of community out there. I read a number of blogs all the time, but I couldn't begin to tell you why I read those ones and not others. Some blogs I read focus on topics that really interest me - but others, well they strike a chord somehow or another. Only a few blogs I read now are the same ones I read when I started doing this. I remain totally mystified at the number of times people stumble across mister anchovy while googling "johnny cash finger" - you go figure.

10 December, 2006 19:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am still upset about my old blog.

I feel so angry that I have been censored by dull-witts.

I am going to keep on blogging tho, its something that comes from a pretty shallow place deep inside, if you know what I mean!

11 December, 2006 09:14  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Mr A: That's interesting. I think lots of people probably start with the idea that they will be read. I wasn't sure whether or not anyone would read my scribblings, nor even how to go about finding readers. I think I hoped people would come and read. The first person ever to comment apart from my wife was a one-off; then RD came by (under a different name back then) one Sunday and read almost everything I'd posted up until that point, I think. Mostly my list of reads has remained constant, albeit it increasing in size. I haven't dropped anyone off my list, that is. It's great seeing how people come to a blog, but it can be hard to keep them, I think.

RD: It is a pisser that you had to close down, but all your regular readers know where you are, so at least they can still come by and read what you've got to say each day. I know what you mean (I think) about the shallow place deep inside. Good description.

11 December, 2006 10:00  

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