Thursday, 28 February 2008

"Who reads blogs anyway?"

An email earlier today from another (locally well known) resident of the Outer Hebrides. Ignoring the gross insult about my age, it's rather good. Reproduced with her permission, but she wants to stay anonymous, so have invented a pseudonym - Barbie (as in the doll) - for her if you want to use a name.

"I feel like a rant over my elevenses....

Who reads blogs anyway? Seriously - have you done any work on this? I read yours because I know you and you're sometimes fractionally amusing :) and I'm slightly interested in what's happening down there, and Angus Nic's because he's a lunatic but he occasionally gets a scoop that's relevant to my life (I'm happy enough about RET, if anyone cares) but I NEVER read random strangers' thoughts on a regular basis, and have no desire to.... I just don't get it. Your family and friends, of course (well, not mine) and maybe (though I doubt it) someone who shares your obsessions - but I've seen some domestic ramblings from some US wifies who say they're making a living from it, clearly have huge audiences and rapturous acclaim from their readers, and indeed don't write too badly but WHY does anyone care about their daughter's first day at school or which choc chip cookie recipe they prefer or even their trip to Florida.

So what is it - utter friendlessness of the real world, or the actual belief that this person in Ohio is leading a very happy and fulfilled life and you wish it was yours, or just voyeurism? It's so dull! Read a book! At best you could say it's what they call in German lit crit Protokol: unedited realia, the unliterary literature. But it's not very real, and Protokol is not flying off the shelves.

I like your blog, really I do, and I can see its appeal to strangers because it is an unusual life for some and you have nice pictures of a place they think they want to live in. Fair enough. I did dip into your old-format one before I moved here (must have been your first months there) and also David Heggie's, just to get a flavour of life in WI for practical purposes but then I dropped them because, you know, who cares what strangers think or do? I though you were much older, btw - perhaps I just got it in my head that you were retired.

I can see wanting to write one, and several benefits, personal and professional (though I have NO desire to - especially the screeds that some people seem to come up with) but just not who the (regular) audience is.

Yes, I know this is just an unpublished blog entry and I could inflict it on the whole world.

End of rant. Thanks for listening. Blog away."


  1. You could tell her that people from all over the world read odd blogs - my own guess is you look for things that interest you in the blogospere & then follow them.In my case it's Scottish life, Politics and Finance.But there's no reason it shouldn't be eg My Little Pony and Barbie or Japanese Bonsai or anything really.It seems to me that the blogs have taken over from the BBC, which, in Reith's famous line, is supposed to inform, educate and entertain (in that order). Sadly, it does less and less of the first two so the blogosphere for me at any rate fills the gap.

  2. Geoffrey, London.28 February 2008 at 22:55

    What a dull, long-winded, and above all boring "rant". Pointless. It reveals more about the insecurities of the author than anything meaningful about "blogging".

  3. I do agree with the two earlier comments. But the use of a blog? Well for me it gives information on other places then our own and this is specificaly usefull for our stay on the Outer Hebrides. So that should be reason enough.

  4. As someone who has thought about blogging, then dismissed it, then thought about it again for an audience of invited friends, I found Barbie's rant an enjoyable read.What amazes me most about the blogging world is where do people find the time? It takes me long enough to take a few photos, process them, upload and tag them, and maybe add a few to some Flickr groups. I have hundreds of shots that are unprocessed on my HD that are slowly being forgotten about, never to see the light of the web. It would take much time and energy to prepare them for public viewing for ultimately very little, if any, return.I think people share photos and videos online and write blogs because they want recognition of some sort, to be noticed amongst the masses. A "Hey! This is me, this is what I do, this is who I am". Maybe it is just all about trying to make connections with like-minded people around the world because making local real-life connections is too near to home and ultimately too dull.

  5. @bluewave: I hardly have the time at all, which makes it even more surprising that people read my blog at all, let alone use it as a source of information when making a decision on where to live ...

  6. Some more Outer Hebrides bloggers… at Silversprite24 August 2008 at 23:00

    [...] « “Who reads blogs anyway?” The Outer Hebrides, summarised [...]