Monday, 6 July 2009

Why blogging is easier than writing an email


There's lots and lots written on the internet about the difficulties and pitfalls of running a blog. But one issue receives (to the Intellectual Hooligan's mind) scant exposure.

It's this:

If you are crap at replying to emails, you ought to think very carefully before starting a blog.

Now, as one who blogs (ye! In more than one place!), I'd like to assure you that writing a blog post occupies a totally different place in my spectrum of activities (and uses a very different kind of energy) from composing a personal email of a reasonable length.

Writing a blog post is a lot more like writing a work email. It's also – crucially – reassuringly noncommittal. That's odd, you're thinking. How can he call it noncommittal when he writes stuff like this? That's pretty sodding committal if you ask me.

But it is. Because when writing a blog, one has a license to exaggerate, a license to provoke. It's like being James Bond, but way, way cooler: trust me. At almost any point at which one might, under normal circumstances, pause and wonder, 'Can I really say that?', when writing a blog post, one may steam right on ahead. Because a blog post isn't meant to be the last word. It's meant to ignite conversation or record a passing impulse. It's devil's advocacy verging on demagoguery.


An email – or a letter – is way harder. It involves actually representing oneself and one's views with pellucidity. For one as chronically indecisive as the Intellectual Hooligan, this is a terrifying prospect.

But I suspect a lot of people don't feel this way. In fact, I suspect a lot of people would think writing an email was a hell of a lot easier than writing a blog post. Audience of one familiar acquaintance = infinitely preferable to large, unknown, multifoliate audience.

(Multifoliate, by the way, is from Dante, via TS Eliot. Awesome word. And I'm prepared to believe that y'all, my audience, are as beautifully multifoliate as they come. You petals, you.)


If, to many, writing a blog post seems a more daunting prospect than that of composing an email to a friend, it's fair to imagine that – each time I publish a new post – a sizeable proportion of the people whom I have failed to email for weeks months will be thinking:

'Another blog post? Fucking hell! This guy is taking the piss. I sent him an email back in April and he still hasn't replied – yet he has time to write some old cack about paninis? Not just once, but four bloody times. Jesus. I guess he must just really hate me or something.'

It's this fearsome prospect, towering above all other factors, that is – for me – the biggest problem with blogging.

(And it has not escaped my notice that – yes – like many problems, this one has its root in me being a bit shit.)


Anonymous said...

Don't you worry, Old Parn. We're all of us a bit shit at something. Turns out I'm a bit shit at email AND blogs. And exceedingly shit at NOT going on twitter.

Rebecca said...

Perhaps then we are all shits. But, I like to think, shits that are sort of shaped like petals.

Related posts