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Why Write a Blog ?

June 28, 2011

I spent some time recently experimenting with the options in WordPress and adding RSS feeds for RSGB News, RSGB IOTA Activations and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar because I find those sources of information interesting and useful. I also noticed from the WordPress Site Stats that I hadn’t posted anything for a while. This observation turned into a gentle pressure to post something, but … should I post something regularly or just post something if/when I’ve got something to say?

To try to answer that question for myself, I needed to think about why I started writing a blog. I’ve had traditional static web pages [things become traditional quickly these days] but I find that they become old and out of date, either because I haven’t done anything or I’ve been doing a lot and I haven’t had the time to update the web page – a bit of a dichotomy. I hadn’t really paid much attention to the various blogging systems available until I joined the Camb-Hams DXpedition to the Isle of Arran earlier this year. We made extensive use of WordPress during the DXpedition to post news, photos and videos from Arran. I really enjoyed the feedback through the blog comments, email and also directly on the radio. It was fun to post something on the blog while I was drinking my first coffee of the morning, then hear people talking about it on the radio a few hours later. A modern blogging system seems to ease the boundaries of the dichotomy by making it quick and easy to update information while I’m doing something, or soon afterwards, without the effort of formating and publishing new static web pages. In the current age of immediate information and communication through the various types of social media, immediacy has become very important, maybe more important than the quality of what you say or how you say it?

So, back to the question of blogging regularly or substantially. I recently joined the Bury St Edmunds ARS for a Kite Antenna talk by Roger G4ROJ. During his talk, Roger mentioned that his amateur radio mentor showed him how to fly a kite antenna many years ago and also told him that if you do something a bit different, people will want to talk to you about it. This is obviously true if you listen to the number of calls Roger gets when he’s flying his kite antenna and calling CQ on 80m. I think it’s also true, for me anyway, with SOTA, IOTA, special event callsigns and other similar things. The people operating in that different way are doing something interesting, I like to hear about it, so I get engaged and give them a call.

The opposing and balancing thought for me is about keeping things in perspective. It would seem conceited of me to think that anyone would be interested in reading about the things I’ve been doing, especially the mundane. I’ve always thought that if I actually had anything interesting to say and could say it eloquently, I’d probably be paid to write it. This isn’t always true and the reverse is quite often not true with many of the things that people are paid to write not being interesting at all, but hopefully you see the point I’m trying to make. Because it’s free and personal, it doesn’t have to be enjoyable for anyone else but me. However, if my interests happen to overlap in some way with those of someone else, they might want to read it too. That’s if we are both lucky and Google helps them find it easily and quickly.

So, my conclusions are … I’m going to stick to just posting something when I’ve done something or I’ve got something to say. I won’t worry about the regularity and I know it’s going to be sporadic, but I will try to make it timely.

You do have to be careful what you write about though …

The Taiwanese woman, who has only been named as Mrs Liu, enraged the owner of the Sichuan Flavour Beef Noodle Restaurant in the central city of Taichung after posting a negative review on the internet. Mrs Liu, who has a wide-ranging but relatively little-read blog covering food and interior design, visited the restaurant in 2008 … Mrs Liu was sentenced to 30 days in jail, a further two years of probation, and ordered to pay £4,300 in compensation to the restaurant for the damage she had caused. She was also told to apologise and refused the right to appeal.  [The Telegraph, 24 June 2011]

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