More thoughts about Blogging
I’ve been brooding some more about George Packer’s piece about blogging. Some further thoughts:
1. I realised that I’ve been keeping an online diary for a long time — since 1997, it turns out. (I went back through my archive to find out.) Reading those early entries (which were — and remain — on a private website) has made me realise why I started doing it. I was overwhelmed by what was coming at me from the Web and realised that I had to invent a method of keeping track of things that was better than a list of bookmarks. So I began keeping an online diary as a kind of lab notebook. It was good for a while but then it too threatened to overwhelm me. But I put a search engine on the site and then it was transformed into the most incredibly useful resource. At that point I realised that I had finally found a solution to the conundrum of how to combine insatiable and wide-ranging curiosity with a hopeless memory. From then on, I knew that if I’d written about something in my diary, I could always find it — and the links associated with it. (This was all pre-Google, of course).
2. We are building Blogging into all the courses on the Open University Relevant Knowledge programme that I run. What we’re finding is that many students find it difficult to get started. Why? It’s not because it’s technically difficult, but because they are thrown by the idea of publishing their thoughts to the world. For most people, that smacks of terrible arrogance — it involves assuming that other people would be interested in reading what they have to say. I’ve never had any difficulty in that respect, possibly because I have the requisite arrogance, but probably also because I’ve been a newspaper columnist for as long as I can remember. (I’ve written a weekly column continuously since 1982).