Wednesday, 27 January 2010

One year old

Today my blog is one. Hurrah!

Looking back, one thing I've noticed is that over the year I've become less reliant on the printed media for inspiration. In the early days, I'd often write something in response to what I'd read in the paper (in my case The Times from Monday to Friday, The Guardian on Saturdays and the Observer). But now, as far as written media is concerned, I almost invariably post in response to what I read on the web.

I've discovered that there's a lot more expert opinion and stimulating writing on the web than there is to be found in newspapers. Blogs tend to go deeper and more knowledgeably into particular areas but do so in a way that is more immediate, more involving and less hieratic.

The expertise point must be down to blogs being written generally by people who have been intimately close to what they're writing about - having worked in the field, for instance - something that is rarely true for journalists writing full-time for newspapers. And when bloggers write about their life they're generally dealing with what is known in media circles as 'real' life, i.e. it's not conducted whilst existing within a media circle. In the right hands, this is more interesting material.

The style point is surely a function of blogs' intrinsic interactivity. The medium is more soap-box than pulpit. It's open to plenty of direct and immediate questioning. I think this produces a more confiding, tentative and conversational style, one that draws readers in whilst asking for their forbearance in advance and inviting a response. Having written a bit for the print media back in the '90s, I can tell you soap-boxes are far more fun than pulpits - if worse paid. And more fun for readers as much as writers.

I don't think this means newspapers are going to die. But I do think they're going to have to raise their game. Perhaps they should do more of what blogs find it difficult to do? One thing might be to print a greater number of lengthier articles, ones that are more easily read on paper than on screen? More Sudokus and crosswords too? And er...

Anyway, a sincere thank-you to all of you who gather around my patched-up, ramshackle soap-box, whether to encourage, barrack, jump up alongside or just pass the time of day.

21 comments:

Sophie King said...

A quick Happy Birthday To You, Ragbag, before I head upstairs for bed. I do try and visit every day even if I don't always comment. I don't tend to read newspapers much these days, but I still have to keep buying them because otherwise I wouldn't have anything with which to line the bottom of the guinea pigs' cage.

malty said...

Happy onetyeth Gaw, your blog, along with the other three reprobates, britNiBry, are all firmly among life's treasures, Hyde Park Corner for grown ups. Lang may your lum reek.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Congratulations on the 1 year anniversary of your blog, Gaw. Is he walking already?? Ahh, bless! It's been a pleasure for me to drop by here, and, like you, I'm now finding blogs to be an important source of news, especially as I'm too mean to pay for proper newspapers to be sent to me from back home. Cheers.

worm said...

I do like loitering in this most diverting corner of the webosphere, very glad to have stumbled upon your most excellent and intelligent blog! Long may the cogently argued discussions and designer underwear reviews continue!

Brit said...

Congrats - you've already lasted 11 months and two weeks longer than the average blog!

Sean said...

“Our knowledge can only be finite, while our ignorance must necessarily be infinite.” KP

I think you pass with flying colours on that test, have a drink on me.

Gaw said...

Thanks all! And Sean, that Kevin Pietersen's a deep one isn't he?

Peter Burnet said...

Congrats, Gaw. To paraphrase what Christopher Robin once said to Winnie the Pooh, it's a grand thing you have done.

Brit said...

Oh, it's KP as in Pietersen! I assumed that Sean had read that on a packet of peanuts...

Gaw said...

Cheers mate, as Winnie probably didn't say back.

ghostofelberry said...

One of my favourite blogs, and therefore a good and noble thing.

Recusant said...

What a clever chap you are Gaw: to go in the space of a year to one of my must-reads - above any newspaper. Malty is right, you are appended to the BritNiBry.

Oh and Elberry as well: a complete lack of rational self-interest makes for an interesting journey.

malty said...

Forgot about the big e, Reculsant, up there in his northern fastness, battling with the Franconian warriors, remember Ursula, elberry although she was made a saint for her troubles.

Hey Skipper said...

What everyone else said.

Gaw said...

Thanks all you others too!

ghostofelberry said...

i was just pondering my lack of rational self-interest. In my last life it was to do with my upbringing, which could fairly be called elitist. In this life it's just that every time i try to rationally calculate, kiss ass, get on, it goes so horribly wrong that i'm traumatised for years afterwards, and say sternly, "never again!" It's not a moral objection to ass kissing and timeserving, it's just every time i try i fail so badly it seems better to just do ma thang.

Nige said...

Hey happy blog birthday Gaw! And I quite agree about newspapers - ponderous beasts, and such time-wasters. Life's too short...

Gaw said...

Nige: Thanks!

If it wasn't for the web, I'm pretty sure I'd be reading newspapers just as much as I used to. A diverting waste of time.

Kevin Musgrove said...

happy birthday from me, too

one of the joys of the blogosphere is not constantly re-reading the same old same old that you trip over in the papers

Vern said...

Guid blog, Gaw. Congrats.

Gaw said...

Cheers Kev and Vern!