On a recent job interview (yes I did get the job, thanks for asking) I was asked ‘do you have a blog?’. The answer was no, and I didn’t really have any need for one. Had I not been on best behaviour, I might have said that blogs are exclusively for the inexcusably opinionated or those prone to navel-gazing in public. But now I think of it, I have had two blogs over the years, and they were both fun and neither was completely without merit. The first was an adolescent Joycian stream-of-consciousness, inspired by reading Portraitof the Artist as a Young Man, attempting to read Finnegan’s Wake and having a good stab at Ulysses. I got an anonymous reader, who made occasional comments. The second was a week-by-week broadcast of what I was getting up to in Uganda on my gap year. Both were for the joy of writing and were very different. The moment passed, as did the blogs.
When I was at University one of my professors started a blog. In an uncannily accurate commentary on modern times and our attitude to socialtechnology, his opening post read, if memory serves:
Blog? Blog. Blog! Everybody got blog!
The blog, the remainder of which contained uncompressed pictures of flowers and transliterated Chinese poetry, perished. The photographs were intended to allow the flowers to assume the immortality of the internet and transcend their ephemeral nature. The tables turned, and instead the blog took on the flowers’ mortality. I have tried to find itsince, with no luck. Which is a shame, as it was a good laugh.
Many blogs suffer much the same fate. The web is scattered with one-page-wonders. So why am I doing this, and how will I avoid this blogfollowing its brothers and sisters down the plug’ole?
As I see it, blogs fail for two reasons.
First is that they start without an aim or a plan. The author knows that they want a blog, and that a blog starts with a first post. They set about creating the blog, and writing the first post. ‘Blog?’ quoth the professor.
Second is that blogs are far too easy to get. Livejournal and Blogger make it trivially easy. ‘Everyone,’ as the good Professor sagelyopined, ‘got blog’.
This one will survive the flowers (trust me, there will be no flowers, I shall be keeping a close eye on that) and here’s why.
First, I have at least three things to write. I hereby disqualify this blog from the pit of one-post-wonders. Easy.
Second, this was not far too easy to get. In my stubbornness not to install PHP and MySQL onto my server (I have made vows and sealedthem with blood), I decided to find a blog engine which ran on Django. Not unreasonable.
[REDACTED: I have now given up and switched to WordPress!]
Oh yeah, what’s it about? Living on a boat (which I do), working withcomputers (which I do), and everything else (I have been known to). Or something.