Monday, 4 August 2014

Blogged down

Why do we do it?

Things recently got a bit out of hand and I stopped reading all the blogs I regularly follow. I opened up Bloglovin' one day to find 120 unread posts and an ominous dread that I would need to wade through all of these and need to be complimentary about each and every one. I'm currently at the Edinburgh Fringe and am struck with the same dread that a whole new mound will be there to greet me upon my return.

In truth, in these situations culling dull posts is quite easy when you know there are 5 more by the same author further down the line. The same goes for unfollowing the blogs you regularly skip over.

There are millions of people around the world making things for millions of different reasons. there are probably just a many millions of reasons to put a picture of it on the web and shout to the world "Look! I made a thing!".

That being said, blogging is largely about baring a tiny piece of our souls to the world. It's a risky business when your skill, taste, intelligence, integrity and body are all on show for some strangers to oggle and scrutinise. So it seems natural that when a particular community starts questioning the regular unwavering praise offered by readers, it would be a direct and personal affront to everything an individual within that community would stand for.

Grayson Perry regularly argues that we're all anxious to show off our cultual/social/intellectual capital to justify ourselves in the face of our peers. Perhaps it's  even more acute when you live your life just outside of the cultural norms set our by your society.You feel you need to fight your corner just a little harder.

We are proud of our makes. We don't need a blog to prove that. We're proud of our makes because we choose to wear them everyday, we offer them as gifts (or charge for our services), or give them pride of place in our homes.

Alexandra Schulman said fairly recently that writing about clothes is a lot easier than making them. But writing about clothes we have made? That's tough.

Perhaps in writing we expect to find a level of clarity, wit and precision in the way we communicate. Perhaps we automatically assume it will magically appear as we scrawl small, deliberate pieces on our creations. There's a hope that we can capture the emotional, spiritual and intellectual complexity of producing something with our hands and trying to show the world that this object doesn't exist in a vaccuum, and ultimately does not exist in a world of jargon, exclusivity and technical wizardy.

But we are clumsy and can end up with the reader screaming "stop bloody whining! You made a pretty dress! Be happy! Not everyone else can do that! Just stop being bloody miserable with it!"

I have a theory that what you make is a reflection of your state of mind at the time. Evidently how you write about that particular project will be a reflection of your state of mind too. Perhaps that's why so many bloggers feel they must blog projects in order.

Perhaps it's the tiny, fraught, emotional posts that get published, the ones which are embarassing later in life and appear petty/whinging to the reader, that are the most valuable. Yes they might annoy readers, they may lose you followers, they may spark a panoply of followup posts lambasting or defending you. You can't opt out of conflict. Apprently you can't opt out of accidentally poersonally and grossly offending people on the internet either (what's new?).

Why am I saying this? Because it's hard to discuss the merits/worth of some blogs over others publicly, without making some personally offensive comments about the ones you don't enjoy. But there is a big difference between the blogs you follow loyally and everything else avilable out there.

It inevitably forces you to think about the worth of your own blog too.



  1. Well said, I recently went on holiday, and when I returned had over 300 post to wade through! I had a serious think about those blogs that I actually READ and those that I skip. So much out there, can't possibly read it all!

  2. This is a good reflection, I often wonder that too and so far have not come to any culling of the blog roll. I have fear of missing out!

    1. You must be a very brave lady then ;-)