Friday, 7 May 2004

My Year in Blogging

There was a post I wanted to write on my blog’s birthday that just never quite got written. But I feel like the queen with an official and actual birthday and since the blog birthday and my birthday are actually quite close together it feels ok to have delayed slightly.

It’s a definitely/maybe kind of situation. Its definitely come out as a blog about London from my perspective more than a blog about me with a backdrop of London, well maybe.

Its anecdotal rather than opinion based. I like it to be shorter rather than longer – I’m a terrible on-screen reader and blip over things the same way I do in newspapers and magazines (short paragraphs are good where you can see the end before you start – it’s a personality flaw, or perhaps it’s a generational thing, TV-generation used to flipping at a merest moment of boredom). I think of blogs more like magazines than books – more disposable perhaps, more upbeat, direct ideas, easy to get.

It surprises me that some readers (specifically those who have to review) find it ‘insidery’ and therefore feel alienated. It was never my intention. The use of initials is only to preserve the anonymity of those I write about, not to cloud the understanding of a situation for the reader. Personally I prefer to use initials because if I had to choose false names for all my friends I’d have to keep a book to reference who was being who, and it could be very difficult to find a name to replace the one they have - names are steeped in connotations and preconceptions. A difficult task indeed.

Not many of my real-world friends read it, so it is written for whatever unknown audience exists. This audience has gradually become better known to me through their own blogs, comments, webpages and emails. One of the most exciting things about all this are the virtual links all over the world.

I associate myself (loosely) with a particular group of bloggers, none of whom I have met but who I visit regularly. There is a britishness / UKishness? [is this possible or is it even accurate?] that I feel comfortable with. I comment on them sometimes but have been a late developer and am shy (yes, really – I’ve always been laughed-in-the-face at when I’ve said this in real life but its true!) I’m overly concerned about what I’m going to say, whether it will be OTT or perceived in a tone I didn’t intend. Its very hard to convey tone appropriately in writing (this is one of the original complaints about email – comes across chatty but is preserved in black and white forever). I don’t want to annoy, irritate or upset people. I want to be liked. I’ve been wary of commenting in some places because of the chatroomy feel – never did enjoy chatrooms, they feel uncomfortable, unreal (well they are), frequently sexually aggressive and sophomoric (in my very limited experience). I read the comments in these places and laugh with the jibes and jokes and am impressed by the quick wit and never quite find the way to leap in. I don’t see myself as part of the in-crowd, unless I’m an IN-CROWD OUTSIDER (any one of these types of outsiders will do nicely).

When I started feeling my way around the blogosphere it seemed to be on a high. Recently it feels like its slipping away amidst tales of intrigue, trolling (being perpetually vicious and nasty for the hell of it in someone’s comments), subblogging (using someone’s comments as your own blog), stalking. We are riding what seems to be a wave of anguish, where people self-censor and shut up shop through hounding. And those who were here first do that thing where they say its over because so many people are now doing it and not doing it in the spirit it was originally done in (too much personal stuff and not enough hard information). We have lost a great many bloggers who I liked over the year, some have come back, some still comment around and about, others are just not there anymore. And perhaps that’s just the nature of blogging – transient, shifting.

So, I have this noteblog. I try things out, theres been good times and bad times, some good posts, some I’d rather forget (and hey I can, if I choose, delete them, although I’ve resisted the temptation so far – important to learn through mistakes after all). I think I have weened myself off my addiction to stats counting and stopped feeling like I have to put something (anything) up everyday or so. It really does have to be fun or at least have purpose to warrant carrying on. And into the second year of doing this I think its amazing how much improvement there has been in my drawing!

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