Wednesday, 25 August 2010

100 posts and not out (yet): the verdict

How many of us have started something, only to give it up after a few weeks, after realising that actually, it was a bad mistake and that it didn’t fit into our lifestyle? I’ve done that occasionally with diets. So in this, my 100th posting of this year, I’m going to reflect on the point of blogging and on what it’s done for me.

I took the plunge into the blogosphere last November. I had just given up one craving, and wondered what I should replace it with. I subsequently wondered whether my jottings were going to be of any interest to anyone – before realising that I wasn’t that worried about entertaining anyone else anyway. I was really doing this just for me. “Is this simply an exercise in vanity publishing, or a serious attempt at creative writing?” I was asked by some close friends just after they had noticed that I had started to blog. It didn’t take me too long to realise that I wasn’t going to change the world purely by what I wrote. But, as I have explained, that really wasn’t the intention. Nor was it the intention to leak any state secrets, or place (too much) embarrassing information into the public domain. That’s a role for Wikileaks to play.

What it actually did was to give me a platform away from the office, and a way of forcing myself to both quickly form and express my own opinions on a range of issues – and then remain accountable for those opinions after having been brave (or foolish) enough to post them in an area where anyone could access them. And it’s given me an opportunity to develop a literary style that I could never use in my professional life. It’s taken some time, but I feel that I’ve found my voice on the internet.

It’s given me a vehicle to express views on subjects about which I am passionate. And I hope they are issues which at least interest a few others too. I’ve greatly appreciated the feedback I’ve received. Most of the time, people have written directly to me. On one occasion, comments were sent to my employer – although as this is a blog that is done in my own time, using my own equipment and on my own terms, it’s really not appropriate to associate anything I may blog about with any views that may be held by my employer. So, in future, don’t bother writing to my employer about me. Get hold of me if I publish anything that you find improper or inaccurate or otherwise offends – not anyone else. I’ve set up email account for this blog, which can be found in the “About Me” column on the left of the screen. Use that.

This is not about me and my work for my employer. This is personal!

I also hope that I’ve kept true to 12 rules I set myself last November, shortly after I started to blog. The rules were set out in a posting entitled “Behavioural Blogging: My 12 simple rules of internet etiquette,” The verdict, I submit, when benchmarking the last 100 posts against these standards, is that I have adhered to my rules pretty closely. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

So, I’m not giving up just yet. I’ll carry on writing because I enjoy it. People are perfectly entitled to ignore me. If you don’t want to know what I’m writing about, then just avoid squinting at this part of the internet. But before I start to celebrate my centenary, I thought I had better remind myself (and the casual reader) just what rules I have been following. And, again, please feel free to let me know when I overstep them:

1 Tell the truth.

2 Write short blogs.

3 Publish them regularly.

4 Focus on a single issue for each blog.

5 Respect everything supplied in confidence.

6 Stick to what I know (or what I think I know).

7 Use plain language, not technical gobbledegook.

8 Make serious, as well as trivial, points in each blog.

9 Develop my own ideas, in my own time, using my own equipment.

10 Change the text when I write something that causes unnecessary offence or embarrassment.

11 Credit everyone I plagiarise.

12 Try to look on the brighter side of life. (I think I sense a song coming on ...)