Just as novelists have a nasty habit of writing novels about novels and novelists, so bloggers have a tendency to write blogs about blogging and bloggers. And I don’t mean people mention another blog as a starting point to go on to discuss another subject; I mean the subject is blogging itself. This is not meant as a criticism, just an observation. I’ve done the same myself; in fact I’m doing it right now.
Blogging about blogs has gone into overdrive the past week or so; everywhere you go you can read discussions about Iain Duncan Smith’s article in the Guardian concerning blogging as a political tool, about the Backing Blair campaign by bloggers to affect the result at the forthcoming general election, about the new list of Top 10 British Blogs. Everyone seems to be talking about blogs.
Through all the articles written this week concerning blogging, I think the best was by NoseMonkey at Europhobia; he pretty much hits several nails right on the head in this post. I particularly empathise with him when I read that he thinks, “around 80% (of bloggers) seem to be either single-issue obsessives, vindictive arseholes or nowhere near as educated or clever as they think they are. The remaining 20% is made up of people – like me – who really just want to be columnists on a national newspaper. Why the hell do our opinions matter?”. He believes that relatively few bloggers are like him and just want to “think about the issues a bit and work out where I stand”.
But a particular mention must go to Tim Worstall, and his idea of publishing a weekly roundup of the best posts across a range of blogs. The idea is that everyone nominates one post each week, either from their own or someone else’s blog; you email the details to Tim, and those that he considers to be the best will be listed on his blog each Sunday. This really is a cracking idea, and could act as a great introduction for people new to blogs, and to showcase blogs different from those you would normally read. The first roundup was posted last week, and was terrific. There were some blogs I especially enjoyed reading (Nick Barlow, Liberal England) and I will visit again; others blogs (no names, no pack drill) I won’t; but that is as it should be. Tim’s intention is to select differing, contrary and wide-ranging viewpoints, which is admirable (That said, I won’t be nominating a post entitled “Why all Libertarians are wankers”; but then again I wouldn’t write one).
I will probably pop in a few suggestions and submissions of my own, from other blogs, and from The Obscurer when I think I have written something half decent; but more than being a just a way to publicise my own writing, and the writings of others I admire, I like the the way the weekly roundup could act as an invaluable summary of the best writing from British bloggers.
As I have said before, I feel weak and ill when I see how regularly some bloggers post; every day, or even several times a day. I really don’t know how they find the time; I will never be so prolific (perhaps I just don’t get bothered by so many things, or I don’t have as much to say). But at the same time that I find it difficult to spare the time to write, I find it difficult to spare the time to read half the stuff out there, particularly by the more prodigious writers.
When I first started reading blogs I could lose hours flitting from one to another, following a thread from blog to blog; but since my son has started referring to the dog as “daddy” I have realised I am unable to spend as much time sat at the PC. There are more important things to do, which I enjoy doing; such as talking to my wife, that sort of thing.
So a concise list of highlights each week is a great idea. I hope Tim’s roundup takes off, and given the mild egotism inherent in most bloggers souls I guess submissions aren’t going to be a problem; the biggest threat will be if Tim is swamped with suggestions and is unable to wade through them all. But for the time being the BritBlog Roundup is with us, and I am looking forward to the second instalment.