Article about blogging by Rhodri Marsden in the Independent

Second Independent mention since May!  This now means I own the Independent.

Rhodri Marsden has written a fantastic piece about blogging.  I get a mention in it (along with fat-handed cunt James Ward). It’s a fairly long article, which is pleasing in itself. (Though I have to read things in shifts, due to my much damaged concentration span. I miss novels). Most articles I’ve ever read about blogging fall down squarely on one side of the camp-“blogging is narcissistic wank that kills reasoned impartial debate”- or the other -“blogging is the future, we should all get on our knees and lap gratefully at its beautiful teats”.

Blogs as books-  It’s something I’ve never thought quite worked.  It really is an entirely different medium and I don’t think blogs translate that well into books (with the exceptions maybe of Bete de Jour and The Man Who Fell Asleep, who wrote semi-literary, fictional blogs, and possibly some of the medical blogs like Nee Naw and Random Acts of Reality, because they’re episodic).  And they shouldn’t! A blog is not a book, a book should not be a blog. A huge part of writing a blog is interaction. You lose that utterly in a book. And the best part of blogs are the comments! Even though recently I’ve had my fill of the, “Hey, why don’t you…” emails, I still think of them with an odd fondness.  I don’t reckon many bloggers would continue for years if they never received a comment.  Call it narcissism, but you want to know you’re being heard, otherwise you may as well write a diary, or scribble a face on your knuckles and talk to that instead.

He talks of, “microblogging”, too, such as Twitter.  Which is fun and all but I much prefer here, and even Facebook.  More words, not less!


And yet, while “I write” has a certain nobility to it, “I blog” certainly doesn’t. The two, as acts, are essentially indistinguishable, but “blog” is seen as a four-letter word.

The inherent hideousness of the word doesn’t help. If it were more attractive, if it were “flah” or “sool”, it might not be spat out with such contempt by its detractors. It evolved in the late 1990s from the term “web log”, a collection of links to other websites with added commentary that appeared in the now-familiar reverse-chronological order.

I agree that blogging is an ugly word. I’m always a bit ashamed to admit I write one due to the inevitable frantic eye-rolling it elicits. I tend to say, “I write”. Which is followed by, “What do you write?”, at which point I jump out a window in the waiting sidecar of a motorbike and speed off a cliff.  We need a new one, a new word that isn’t some revolting Marketingspeak like, “microblog” or “superfruit” ( a word which makes me convulse in rage, then feel hungry).  Any ideas?

6 Responses

  1. Let’s reclaim verbs.

    Blog is a noun, a contraction of web-blog, which let’s face it was a homepage in a tuxedo, a self-hosted journal.

    So I write, online, for a blog which I happened to create; in short: I write.


  2. I hate the term “blog”.. when i tell people about mine i usually end up saying “oh i have this website where i write about what its like to have bipolar disorder”- yeah, what a mouthful lol. And i agree, comments are awesome, i dont get many but the few i get make me happy as a sandboy.

  3. hi gemma, am very new to blogging, in fact so new yours is the first i have read. I read rhodris excellent piece today and decided to check yours out, i look forward to catching up on your archives and new stuff, will comment when i can , hopefully turning you into a very happy little sandboy lol keep on keeping on

  4. sorry i meant hi seaneen

  5. Thanks for the post, S. Did you grab a hard copy? There was a nice picture of you at the top of the page. Not that this means much, but could conceivably be a nice souvenir. x

  6. I like to think of it as being an essayist, in the classical Montaigne-ian sense. And, of course, essays, when they first took hold as a literary form, were both derided for being too personal and also loved for the same reason.

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