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All about the hits?


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 13 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 13 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 13 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

After barely six months, the excellent Cassilis has given up blogging, and he’s posted in some detail about his reasons for doing so.

I started blogging because I loved political writing. I wanted to be able to craft a sentence like Orwell or Hitchens, Chomsky or Hennessy … Looking back over what I’ve written is a depressing experience – there’s a few half decent posts and I know I can pull a half-decent paragraph or two together but by the standards I set myself (however ludicrously high they may have been) I haven’t succeeded.

Much the same can be said of me. There’s an awful lot of crap and bilge on this blog, particularly from the earlier days. Some of it is embarrassingly terrible. But there are nuggets of decent writing in there, too. Hopefully, as time has passed, the nugget to mud ratio has increased, and with any luck will continue to increase. I post a lot less often than I once did, but I’d like to think that each post was better for it. It’s certainly more satisfying.

What’s more the medium itself isn’t what I envisaged it to be – the hype surrounding blogs is all about an alternative media, the democratisation of journalism and the ‘voice’ of the ordinary people. But bloggers aren’t ordinary people – most of them, like me, are political nerds or obsessives who get off on the idea of interacting with like-minded people. Looking back over the six months or so I’ve been doing this the posts that have generated the most comments are those that deal directly with blogging itself (or comments from mainstream pundits on blogging) … So the fact that the topic that generates most interaction is blogging itself tells you something about the medium – most of us read blogs to see if anyone has read our blogs, given us a link or has any interesting widget in their sidebar that we could pinch. Comments are used rarely to advance genuine debate or discussion – simply to say ‘ hey, here’s what I think and I have a blog too’. It’s all about the traffic no matter what anyone tells you.

It’s true to say that I’m probably a political nerd or blogging obsessive, but I disagree that I write to interact with like-minded people. That’s never been the point. And similarly, traffic isn’t hugely important to me.

If I had ever been overly bothered about traffic, I wouldn’t be blogging now. In the first month of sjhoward.co.uk being online, I received 133 visits – many of which were from me. If that had unduly concerned me, then I’d have stopped writing long ago. Instead, I continue to write. I blog primarily because I enjoy writing, and it allows me to rationalise my thinking about current affairs. If I decide to write about something, then I have to think and form a rational opinion on the subject, rather than just mulling it over. It’s good for the brain, and good for the soul. If someone then comes along and reads these things what I write, then that’s a bonus – admittedly a very rewarding bonus, but it certainly isn’t the raison d’etre for the blog.

If I’d lived 50 years ago, I’d probably have written a diary reflecting on issues, which no-one would read. This place is merely a modern-day way of challenging myself to think about what I think, how I think, and why I think about certain issues. Sometimes, I’m not in a reflective mood, and I don’t post. I’m not a career blogger, and I’m not unduly concerned with hits. Though they’re nice.

I’m unusual in the blogging world in that I rarely post about blogging itself. I tend to just get on and do it. I don’t think I tend to enter into the community spirit of blogging. Yes, I have the obligatory blog roll, but I don’t have series of in-jokes between bloggers, I don’t constantly link to my favourites, and I’m not forever obsessed with what others are writing on topics. Occasionally, I’ll reference other blogs as they’ve made me think about issues, but I think I’m largely independent of the ‘community’ at large.

For me, blogging is a means to an end, not an end in itself. And perhaps that’s why I don’t see myself giving up any time soon.

This 1,040th post was filed under: Blogging.

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Comments and responses

Comment from Mort Karman

    00.02, 23/01/2007

Simon, please continue to blog.
Not only is it interesting to those of us who read, but it is also an outlet from yourself to yourself.
I have been a journalist since I was 14, working on a weekly newspaper while in high school.
I have since gone on to major newspapers and magazines and radio and television.
At 63 I have diabetes and several other medical complications and my fingers are so crippled I have trouble typing the stories, yet when my byline appears I still get as much of a thrill as when the first stories and photos appeared.
May you never give up your creative urges.
I am sure you will one day become a fine doctor and earn a lot more money then a struggling journalist.
But don’t ever give up what you love to do.
Writing, or photography, is better then all the anti-depressant or high tension meds people take to control the problems which are a part of normal life.
As an example, I tried to work for All Headline News because I got tired of sitting on my hindquarter and doing nothing.
It was a disaster.
Some group used my name and AHN as a lead in to a porn site.
That is not the type of photography this grandpa does.I had to face family and friends who taunted me about the whole thing.
People would ask me if I worked for “Ass Hole News”. If you saw the horrible, very graphic photos, you would instantly know why they called it that.I got the sites taken off after several weeks (on the other hand two neighbour ladies asked if they could pose for the next set of pix).
To add insult to injury, All Headline News still owes me close to $800 from several months ago.
They have more excuses for not sending a cheque then my first wife had at bedtime
I have not given up though and I still intend to write and photograph the world as I see it.
You do the same.
I tell you this in the same tone as I speak to my grandchildren.
The world is yours and you have to do something with it to make it better.
My generation did. (I know some people would argue that-but we did not, at least yet, have an atomic war and many, many people are really better off then the previous gerneration)
So keep writing Simon. And I will keep reading what you have to say.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    22.36, 25/01/2007

I certainly don’t plan to give up what I love doing, and thanks for saying you’ll always read it.

In fact, thanks for all of your kind comment. They are very much appreciated.

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