Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Future of Blogging: A means to an end

I went to a London Bloggers Meetup last night. It was at the Fishburn Hedges offices on Kingsway, and was to have speeches about "The Future of Blogging".

It was the first meetup I've been to since August last year. It was a lively and busy affair, a fair few familiar faces but great crowds of new people I guess. It was good to catch up with Aref-Adib and Anthony Fresh Plastic.

I had an interesting conversation with a chap from The Narrow Leaf olive oil. It made in a village in northern Greece, the unique microclimate give the oil a distinctive taste, and depending on when in the season the olives are harvested you get a grassy or fruity taste, it a cool thing to know.

The various presentations on the Future of Blogging were interesting, but I think I was the wrong target for them. There was one phrase that I heard which kind of struck a jarring chord "Blogs are a means to an end".

Months ago I decided to reduce my immorality by getting a load of morals wholesale from classic philosophers, I've been reading up on Stoicism from Epictetus, Seneca, and Kant's Metaphysic of Morals. Whilst Kant's Categorical Imperitive is a fine way of life, I was intrigued by his account that men are ends to themselves rather than a means to an end. To get my head round this I guess a man's profession can be a means to an end, but the man himself is an end.

So back on blogging, I disagree that blogs are a means to an end, wordpress and blogger are a means, but a blog is an end unto itself. That's not a universal thing, marketing blogs or corporate blogs or travel blogs can be means, but for me and to a fair proportion of bloggers, blogs are ends unto themselves.

I don't blog because I'm trying to sell a product, or promote something, I blog because of an insatiable need to write and chart and graph and share interesting things.

Its what I find difficult when people ask me what I blog about. I used to have a few specific blogs that each dealt with a specific niche, live music, politicking, pigeons, sketches of nekkit wimmin, but now I just have one blog where the last two posts were about Glasgow City Council, and then before that were a load of posts about BT phone boxes which had been turn into libraries, and before that there were infographics about phone hacking and London rioters. Yeah, that's exactly what I blog about.*

My attention wandered from the presentations, so I engaged with bloggers, each with their own angles and interesting things to talk about.

So I'm wondering would it be awesome to have a London Bloggers Meetup where the format is more like an Ignite event where bloggers talk about their own thing for five minutes with presentation slides going on behind them changing every 20 seconds. It wouldn't necessarily sell anything, but it would be fun, interesting and engaging.

My attention was brought bacng back to the speakers when a lady said something along the lines of how she hoped that as more people took up blogging, they would learn how to blog better and the general quality of output would improve. That strikes me as a logic fail, a human nature fail and a gross violation of Sturgeon's Law, "Ninety percent of everything is crud" with more bloggers there would be a lot more good stuff, but even more crud out there to wade through. Speaking as a crudmonger myself, I know this to be true.

Anyhoo, as usual here's a chart showing how much engagement I had with people at the London Blogger's Meetup this time.

About the same as usual, I guess its my comfort zone.

*Actually, now I think about it, I've got a handful of blogs on the go right now, on blogger, posterous and wordpress. I might copy and paste all the posts into one new blog and backdate them to when I first posted them. That might cock up google's page ranking thing, but on reflection, if google can't keep up with me, that's google's weakness, what do I care? The blog is an end not a means.

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