Low Profile – Another Blog on Blogging

People – the ‘general public’ – have short memories. The collective memory is getting shorter, as is the average / collective attention span. This isn’t necessarily indicative of an increasing level of stupidity, so much as it appears to suggest that we, as a species, have reached our capacity in terms of evolution. We can only absorb so much information, and human brain simply isn’t built to process and retain everything it’s bombarded with in the Internet age, this age of media and information overload – at least not on a conscious or liminal level.

We’re expected to take in and retain more than is physically possible. When presented with so much information from so many sources, it comes down to a simple choice between quality and quantity. The popularity of Twitter, flash fiction, etc., etc., suggests that the latter wins out almost every time.

Small wonder, then, that if you’re not receiving constant updates, tweets, bulletins, and all the rest, people soon forget. Failure to update a blog for a few weeks and it’s dead, the audience moves on, because they want new material and they want it now! Celebrities can make headlines on account of their inane Internet postings, or similarly sink without trace. If you’re not on-line, then really, you don’t exist. And having a media bod or one of your ‘people’ take care of such business isn’t good enough: social networking has created a certain expectation that personal pages and profiles equate to a direct line to the artist. An unreasonable expectation? Perhaps, but keeping the fans happy is what it’s all about. They’re the ones paying the wages of any given artist.

The trouble is, creating and maintaining a web presence requires a degree of effort, and is time-consuming. Indeed, maintaining any kind of profile and remaining in the public eye – without reaching overkill – requires a degree of effort, and is time-consuming. Do you really think it’s possible to do a Salinger nowadays?

I recently read an article on writing a successful blog. Unsurprisingly, it was presented in the form of a list – ten essentials for a successful blog or somesuch. One of the points was that content should be new, original and exclusive. Fair enough. The article – which I refuse to link to and grant it further unwarranted authority – also suggests that a successful blog should be well-written. If only! I’ve seen no shortage of incredibly successful (if one measures success in terms of popularity, which seems to be the general benchmark in blogging terms) blogs that are atrociously written. It would also have been nice if the author had taken her own advice.

Another point was that a successful blog must be updated daily. At least. The author’s contention was that readers demand new content, and if a writer can’t keep up with that demand, why should they expect readers to return to their blog? Now, I’ve long believed in the adage ‘content is king.’ But my interpretation of this is that content should be considered, and have a degree of depth – actual content. After all, there’s no shortage of superficial fluff, and a little bit of real meat can go a long way. This returns us to the quality vs quantity debate.

Obviously, writers write, and many writers of books – fiction or otherwise – through the years have relied on other forms of writing, such as journalism, as a means of establishing a steady income and raising their public profile. It beats working in a fast food joint, after all, and is good exercise. Continual writing keeps one sharp, can improve a writer.

Today, whether it pays or not, everyone is expected to have a blog. And what writer wouldn’t have a blog? The trouble is, meeting the expectations and obligations maintaining a blog brings can take a writer away from their actual job of writing. It’s all very well promoting oneself and one’s writing through blogging, but it’s counterproductive if one reaches the point that there’s nothing to promote and the blog becomes the end in itself.

It’s possible that we’re now reaching the point that blog saturation will bring about a new wave of blog abstainers. So many blogs, so little time! So much writing, and for what? How much more content does the world need? I for one can’t possibly read all the blogs I subscribe to, and find it impossible to work and read blogs concurrently. I’m not necessarily convinced that, as Stewart Home claimed in his final ‘Mister Trippy’ blog that blogging is dead, or even that the days of the blog are numbered. However, I do think that the blogosphere may be subject to change, and (hopefully) shrinkage as we move into the new decade. Ideally, there’ll be fewer blogs, with the crap, crass, poorly written and substance-lacking ones falling by the wayside. I daresay that the reality will be the exact opposite, but I can dream.

As for me, I intend to keep on bloggin’ for the time being. Do the blogs raise my profile? Possibly. Do they help sell books? Maybe, just a few. But as I do have some bigger projects I’m wanting to concentrate on, don’t be too surprised if the blogs are less frequent.

One final word on blogs, though: remember, success is all relative…

 And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk… and hey, there are always the books you can buy.

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