Monday, 26 November 2007

How I Blog

The technicalities are usually set out by the communications device:

1. Windows Live Writer from computer. A great free program. Even allows me to download, amend and repost articles. Eg adding better photographs than the ones sent from the mobile phone.

2. Blogger editor online if computer I'm using doesn't have WLW. I find this clunky, as I like opening linked articles in a new window, and Blogger's editor doesn't allow me to do this, unless I go through adding target="_blank" code.

3. Mobile phone - blogging when walking or travelling. I use the email facility, rather than the built-in blog software. If the blog post doesn't connect, I can't send another post, but a failed email will just sit in the outbox.

Topic - generally this comes first. What have I to say? George Orwell wrote about the four great motives for writing, and I think every post can easily fit into at least one of those categories:

(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc.

(ii) Aesthetic enthusiasm. Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. Desire to share an experience which one feels is valuable and ought not to be missed.

(iii) Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.

(iv) Political purpose. Using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after.

For me, I don't tend to bother about (i) or (iii). I like the idea of doing something first, showing photographs of areas that others may not have seen, pushing the new media of blogs a bit further than they were before - I think that is a category (iv). And most of the rest are (ii) - aesthetic.

In less prosaic terms, the types of blog articles that I post are either:

1. Input - reposting information that has come in from elsewhere, e.g. news items, articles from forums, weather, what was first communicated in a non-Web medium e.g. tv/radio/podcast/book/magazine, site statistics.

2. Processing - taking information and forming new ideas from it.

3. Output - sharing an event or thought that I have experienced.

4. Feedback - I rarely revisit old posts, old journeys.

Once I have the general idea for the post, I start writing. Well, sometimes it takes me a while if it is a "processing" article. The recent article on Convergence 2.0 took me a couple of days to formulate in my brain - aided by some cold walks, when my brain needs to think to keep working. It often gives me time to come up with a snappy title.

I used to use random titles, taken from the music track that I had been listening too. Nowadays, I find it difficult to locate articles written back then.

I also used to post a day's-worth of articles in one post. Again, I find it difficult to locate articles written back then.

My posts tend to be reasonably well cross-referenced. This gets round one problem with communications, where people from different cultures don't have the same terms of reference.  So, talking about "Dad's Army" may get UK readers thinking of the old BBC comedy, but others around the world may not have a clue. Using Wikipedia or YouTube helps greatly.

Most "processing" posts then to have a beginning, middle and end. They are formed articles. Sometimes the "output" posts fall into this system too, but often they are linear, telling the reader about what happened at the start, middle and end of a journey.

Most "input" articles are brief and to the point. Sometimes very short indeed. Much depends on my mood and the amount of time I have available.

In conclusion

I blog using the best hardware/software available to me at that moment. I tend to write about different things. I often go back and change posts, adding in more links, better photographs or fixing mistakes.

If you are not blogging about what you are experiencing, or sharing information or adding your visions to the human consciousness - then what the heck are you doing in the 'Sphere, dude?


WD said...

great article, hope you put this up on the blogger forum.

AktoMan said...

Just x-reffed it.

Lay said...

Interesting reflection and insight - thanks for taking the time to put this up.

AktoMan said...

I promised I'd do it for one of the students at work, as some have difficulty composing their thoughts. I take ages writing some posts, as I'm formulating arguments and discussions on the fly. I'm the same with emails at work - switching to "numpty mode", to make sure that no-one can mis-interpret my meaning.

English is such a complex language. Take photo and write a few words. Much easier.